The 650th academic year at the Jagiellonian University has just begun. In May 2014 we are going to celebrate the grand anniversary of the foundation of one of the most important centres of scholarship and education in Europe by King Casimir the Great. The decision made by one of the most progressive Polish monarchs was a true milestone in the history of Polish science and academia.
The University in Kraków has always been cosmopolitan in nature and this has not changed over the centuries. Foreign students from different parts of the world have been welcome here from the very beginning, and beside the Polish founder who established the University in 1364, King Władysław Jagiełło and Queen Jadwiga, who were respectively of Lithuanian and of Hungarian origin, initiated the re-establishment of the university in 1400 and contributed enormously to its development. The fact that the University owes its 15th century renewal and the later Golden Age to foreigners is the ﬁrst marvel. The second has to do with the diversity of nations whose members eagerly came to Kraków from different parts of Europe to seek the “pearl of the inestimable sciences”. Poles, Ruthenians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, the Swiss, the English, the Dutch, the French the Spanish, Italians, and even Tatars studied here in the old days. At one point foreigners constituted almost half (44%) of all the students! The third remarkable feature is related to the great people, of whom we may proudly say “our” students, alumni, professors and lecturers. They have gone down in the history of our University, but also in the history of Kraków, of Poland and of the whole world, being the ambassadors for the Polish nation in science, culture, religion, and other areas.
It is impossible to list names of all those who have played an important role in the many centuries-long history of our Alma Mater, which has always been ﬁlled with a multitude of events and people. This brings us to the fourth phenomenon: ﬁdelity to principle. The Jagiellonian University has always been faithful to its credo: “Plus ratio quam vis”, which proclaims the superiority of reason over force. For centuries we have been abiding by Ovid’s motto: “Quidquid agis prudenter agas et respice ﬁnem” – “Whatever you do do it prudently and look to the result.” Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you warmly and invite you to join us in celebrating the 650th Jubilee of the Jagiellonian University.
Rector of the Jagiellonian University, Prof. dr hab. med. Wojciech Nowak