37th Dies Natalis: Maastricht University welcomes excellence

On Monday 14 January 2013, Maastricht University will celebrate its 37th anniversary, or Dies Natalis.

The theme of the celebration is ‘Inviting excellence’. Creating a network in Limburg, the Netherlands and abroad is a key element of the university’s strategy.

In this context, five extraordinary people will be awarded honorary doctorates. The celebration will be broadcast via a live stream from the Maastricht University homepage.


During the morning, several activities will be organised at the faculties
14.15 Reception with coffee
14.55 Arrival of cortège
15.00 Word of welcome: Rector Magnificus Prof. Dr Luc Soete
Keynote lecture ‘Defining academic excellence’: Prof. Leon de Windt, extraordinary professor Molecular Cardiovascular Biology
Presentation of five honorary doctorates: Honorary supervisors
Education Prize 2012 and Student prizes for the best theses of 2012: Rector Magnificus Prof. Dr Luc Soete
17.00 Closing reception

Honorary doctorates

The five individuals who will be granted an honorary doctorate at the Dies Natalis celebration are:

Paul J. Crutzen | Honorary supervisor Prof. Pim Martens (FHS)
Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry in 1995

Fred H. Gage | Honorary supervisor Prof. Harry Steinbusch (FHML)
Salk Institute, Laboratory of Genetics

Mohammad Hashem Pesaran | Honorary supervisor Prof. Franz Palm (SBE)
University of Cambridge and University of Southern California, Economics

Trevor J. Pinch | Honorary supervisor Prof. Wiebe Bijker (FASoS)
Cornell University, Science and Technology Studies

Feike Sijbesma | Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr Martin Paul (Executive Board)
CEO and Chairman of Managing Board of DSM

Wynand Wijnen Education Prize

True to tradition, the Education Prize and Student Prizes will be awarded during the Dies celebration. The Education Prize is awarded to someone who has made a special contribution to education at UM. From this year onwards, the award will be named after the recently deceased Wynand Wijnen, emeritus professor of Educational Theory and one of the founders of Maastricht University and its Problem-Based Learning model.

Cees van der Vleuten, chair of the Department of Educational Development and Research, said: ‘Wynand Wijnen was a very creative thinker, a source of inspiration and an educational innovator at heart. He laid the foundation for a unique educational method that made the university what it is today. As professor of development and research in higher education, he had a big influence on education in the Netherlands. To honour his name, UM has named its annual Education Prize after him.’

On behalf of the ‘Stichting Wetenschapsbeoefening’, the Student Prizes will be awarded to seven graduates who wrote the best theses of 2012.


The ceremony will be in English and will be accompanied by music and brief films on the honorary doctorate recipients.

Join the conversation: #dies2013


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