Celebrating 70 Years Sommerhochschule: Looking back on a long standing tradition

The Sommerhochschule celebrated its 70th anniversary this summer. The anniversary exhibition and the anniversary publication offered an opportunity to look back on the history of the Sommerhochschule and the people who helped to shape it. The anniversary celebration was attended by participants, alumni, faculty and staff and showed that the first and oldest summer school of the University of Vienna is very much alive.

Ever since the Sommerhochschule of the University of Vienna was founded in 1949, an international summer school has been offered every year. Apart from its educational mission, one of the Sommerhochschule’s most important aims has been restoring and promoting mutual understanding between Austrians and Americans that World War II had done so much to destroy.
Today the program provides a multidimensional survey of the present development of Europe and the EU.

This year the Sommerhochschule celebrates its 70th anniversary. To honor the occasion the Sommerhochschule invited former participants, alumni, friends, staff and faculty to celebrate 70 years of Sommerhochschule on August 3, 2019. The celebration took place at the Bundesinstitut of Erwachsenenbildung in Strobl at Lake Wolfgang where the summer school has been taking place for over 60 years now.

After welcoming guests and alumni with cocktails and the official program started with a welcome speech by Franz-Stefan Meissel, Director of the Sommerhochschule since 2007, at 4:00 pm.
The speech was followed by a short screening of film material about the Sommerhochschule, which included among other films a black and white excerpt from one of the first summer schools in Traunsee, private videos of the highlights of the summer program 1976, as well as ORF news excerpts from as recent as this summer.

Two groups of alumni used the occasion for a reunion meeting and each group held a short presentation and gave an insight about their experiences in Strobl and their lifes since. The first presentation was given by Ljubica Dordevic an alumna from 2009 and the second by Richard Burke Neville an alumnus from 1979.

The presetations were followed by the presentation of the “Anniversary Edition: 70 Years Sommerhochschule of the University of Vienna (1949–2019)“ given by Nina Gruber, Program Coordinator of the Sommerhochschulre since 2001.

The ceremony ended with the official opening of the anniversary exhibition in Bürglsaal by Director Meissel.

The ceremony was given a festive touch by musical interludes; Lydia Rathkolb sang various songs accompanied by Valentin Edelmann on the piano.

After the official reception finger food was served and guests had the opportunity to enjoy the anniversary exhibition.
Accompanied by the clarinet quartet “Holzklang” the guest spend their time in lively conversation.

At 7:00 pm guests were invited to have dinner in the party tent in front of Bürglsaal, which was put up for the occasion.

Among or guests of honor we were able to welcome Eva Nowotny, chair of the board of the University of Vienna and former ambassador, and her husband Thomas Nowotny, Political Scientist, Karin Gerlich, widow of Peter Gerlich (former Director of the Sommerhochschule), Kristin Hanusch-Linser, Vice President of the International Advertising Association, and her husband Helmut Hanusch, board member Österreichische Auflagenkontrolle, Gerhard Hatzl, member of the Friends of the Sommerhochschule, Klaus Taschwer, editor at Der Standard, and Bernhard Wundsam, manager of the Innovationszentrum Universität Wien GmbH.

Even though the weather conditions were less than welcoming – after two brilliant weeks full of sunshine the temperature dropped significantly for this one single day only to rise again on the next day just to remind us how precious sunshine is in the Salzkammergut – the event was a great success. Generations of Stroblers met and participants, guest and staff got a change to re-connect and continued partying into the night.

F.l.t.r.: Verena Bauer (Program Coordinator), Ana Kumin (Office Assistant), and an alumna with the anniversary publication.
F.l.t.r.: Verena Bauer (Program Coordinator), Ana Kumin (Office Assistant), and an alumna with the anniversary publication.
F.l.t.r.: Christian Kloyber (Director of the BIFEB), Irene Faber (Austrian Supreme Court Justice), Sonja Sillipp (Management BIFEB), and Franz-Stefan Meissel (Director of the SHS)
F.l.t.r.: Christian Kloyber (Director of the BIFEB), Irene Faber (Austrian Supreme Court Justice), Sonja Sillipp (Management BIFEB), and Franz-Stefan Meissel (Director of the SHS)
Participants, alumni and guests during the welcome speech of Director Meissel
Participants, alumni and guests during the welcome speech of Director Meissel
Guests at the cocktail reception in front of the anniversary exhibition
Guests at the cocktail reception in front of the anniversary exhibition
Lydia Rathkolb
Lydia Rathkolb
Barbecue dinner in the party tent
Barbecue dinner in the party tent
F.l.t.r.: Sabine Putzgruber (alumna and former Office Assistant), Nina Gruber (Program Coordinator), and Sabine Seissenbacher (Office Assistant)
F.l.t.r.: Sabine Putzgruber (alumna and former Office Assistant), Nina Gruber (Program Coordinator), and Sabine Seissenbacher (Office Assistant)