The closing act took place in the Felip Pedrell auditorium in Tortosa and coincided with the inauguration of the 2017-2018 academic year
The Universitat Rovira i Virgili has concluded a whole year of activities to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a closing ceremony in the Felip Pedrell auditorium in Tortosa. The aim was to emphasise the institution’s commitment to the entire territory that it serves through its various campuses in different cities of the Tarragona region, including the Terres de l’Ebre campus in Tortosa. During his speech, the rector, Josep Anton Ferré, stressed the importance of this territorial model. “Over the last 25 years, 45,000 students have graduated at the URV, three quarters of whom are the first generation in their families to go to university. They would not have been able to do so if the URV had not implemented this territorial model”. The rector also highlighted the university’s commitment to internationalisation, a commitment that is reflected in the leading international rankings on university quality.
Regarding the Terres de l’Ebre campus, the rector pointed out that it currently has nearly 800 students and that the hope was to at least “maintain this figure or even increase it to over 1000 by broadening the range of courses available, although detailed consideration will be required to make this a reality”.
The inaugural lecture of the academic year was given by Robert Rallo, who is currently a scientist in the Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland (Washington, USA). Born in Amposta, Dr Rallo is a professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Mathematics at the URV and in his lecture he highlighted the quality of the courses and research conducted at the URV. “Many think that in the USA people are more intelligent or better than we are. This is not true. The people with whom I have collaborated at the URV are just as talented. The only difference lies in the resources available. The human talent that we have here is the equal of any that can be found anywhere else in the world”, he stated. Dr Rallo also referred to the current political situation. “It is a special time to be in Catalonia and I would like to take this opportunity to send a message of support to an ex-student, the IT expert Joan Manel Gómez, who has been arrested for doing his job”. The mayor of Tortosa, Ferran Bel, also referred to the situation and asked for a round of applause for the Treasury Secretary and ex-delegate of the Catalan government in the Ebre region, Lluís Salvadó.
For his part, the director general of Universities, Josep Pallarès, pointed to the success of the Catalan university model. “In contrast to other countries, university quality is distributed throughout the various territories and we receive 3% of the funds set aside for research even though we represent only 1% of the population”, he stated.
The ceremony featured a film depicting the university’s various achievements during its 25-year existence, from its first academic year (1992-93) as an independent university to the present. Various awards were also handed out. First there were awards for 114 members of the teaching staff and administrative staff who have been with the university since it was founded and who have therefore completed 25 years of service to the institution. There were also 22 special prizes for doctorates completed during the 2015-16 academic year. There were also awards for the best sportsman and sportswoman in the 2016-17 academic year (Gerard Francino, Chemistry, in the padel category; and Maria Tibau, Tourism, in the athletics category, respectively), three Xavier López Vilar prizes for quality and improvement in administrative and technical management; the University Medal, awarded to the thirteen individuals who retired during the 2016-17 academic year; and four Distinguished Professor of the URV awards. The ceremony featured performances by the URV Orchestra, conducted by Marcel Ortega, and the Cambra Tyrichae Choir, conducted by Andreu Ferré.