FH Kufstein Tirol celebrates its 20th anniversary! University marks two decades at the heart of the region
On Friday 13 October 2017 more than 300 guests gathered on the campus of the FH Kufstein Tirol to mark a special anniversary. Among those who had come to celebrate the university’s 20th anniversary were regional governor of Tyrol Günther Platter, mayor of Kufstein Mag. Martin Krumschnabel and board member of the Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol-Privatstiftung Dr. Herbert Marschitz. The ceremony was held with all the pomp befitting the occasion, including music from the town’s brass band and a salvo of rifle shots.
How it all began: 1997 – the foundation of the FH Kufstein Tirol
The ceremony began with exchange students from around the world welcoming the guests. This was followed by a speech by Dr. Herbert Marschitz looking back on the past 20 years. He began by explaining how the idea of a university of applied sciences was developed in order to meet the needs of the local region, before going on to underline the role played by Walter J. Mayr, vice mayor of Kufstein at the time, in gathering the support of local businesses and politicians from the regional government. Even 20 years ago, Dr. Marschitz explained, the founders of the FH Kufstein Tirol had the same vision of an international university which continues to drive the FH Kufstein Tirol today. It was on 6 October 1997 that the first two diploma study programs in Facility Management and International Business Studies welcomed 97 students.
20 years old and stronger than ever – plus more digital and innovative
The speech held by CEO Managing Director Prof. (FH) Dr. Thomas Madritsch focused on the present and future of the university. He underlined the international approach pursued by the FH Kufstein Tirol, embodied in the integrated semester abroad and study trips to foreign countries, and showed photos taken by students who had spent time at one of the 190 partner universities worldwide. “Our curricula include the opportunity for students to spend a semester studying in a different country. That is an important chance for them to develop as young people and also to improve understanding between cultures. By going abroad our students experience foreign cultures and learn to see the world from a different perspective,” explained Prof. (FH) Madritsch. He also went on to thank the 500 members of staff and 2,000 students for their outstanding work over the last two decades.
Rector of the university, Prof. (FH) PD Dr. Mario Döller, spoke about the plans to develop and expand the FH Kufstein Tirol by building a fourth location to be known as FH IV. Work is set to begin next year. Another area of focus in his speech was digitalization, with research projects and planned studies presented from areas as diverse as the arts and agriculture. Döller also used the opportunity to highlight the university’s brand new study program in Smart Products & Solutions and to announce that the Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth has approved places for 25 students on another new course entitled Data Science & Intelligent Analytics.
Robot Pepper provides an unexpected interruption
During the speech, a state-of-the-art robot by the name of Pepper interrupted proceedings with loud yawning noises – much to the amusement of the audience and Prof. (FH) Madritsch and Prof. (FH) Döller, who used the opportunity to help Pepper find her friend NAO, another robot recently acquired by the FH Kufstein. The brief appearance by Pepper showed just how practical and hands-on courses at the university are, with students given the chance to work with the latest technology and innovations.
Fachhochschule Kufstein awarded Tyrolean coat of arms
Once Pepper had left the stage, it was the turn of regional governor Günther Platter to praise the founders of the Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol for their determination in turning an initial idea into a successful university. That decision was essential not only for Kufstein but for the whole region of Tyrol, explained Platter. In this context he mentioned the unanimous decision made by the regional government to support the development of the Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol and the construction of the new site FH IV to the tune of €2.4 million. Other topics in his speech included the digitalization campaign currently being undertaken by the regional government of Tyrol and cited the expansion of the region’s broadband network as a key condition for supporting digitalization projects in the future. At the end of his speech he and DDr. Herwig van Staa, president of the regional parliament, awarded the Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol-Privatstiftung the Tyrolean coat of arms in recognition of the university’s achievements over the last 20 years.
Former board members honored at ceremony
As the ceremony drew to a close, Günther Platter and Dr. Herbert Marschitz together with honorary president of the FH Kufstein Tirol Prof. Komm.-Rat Walter J. Mayr presented current board member DDr. Herwig van Staa and former board members Dr. Siegfried Dillersberger and Baumeister Ing. Hans Treichl with the Golden Medal with Diamond and a certificate to mark their achievements on behalf of the FH Kufstein Tirol.
Exchange students then brought a huge 20th anniversary cake onto the stage, which was symbolically cut by the guests of honor.