New TU/e Rector Lenaerts highlights importance of valorisation, social safety and reaching young people in first speech

May 12, 2023

'An honor and privilege to follow in the footsteps of Frank and all those great rectores magnifici'

Frank Baaijens applauds his successor Silvia Lenaerts. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Creating value for society. That, in a nutshell, was the theme of Silvia Lenaerts' first speech as the brand new rector magnificus. "With our talent, our university community and our partnerships, we can make a difference to society." She talked about valorisation, social safety and reaching young people.

Lenaerts: “In recent weeks it already stuck me that some may great people study and work here, people who really want to make the difference. And that's a good thing, because as Eindhoven University of Technology we bear an enormous responsibility to society, to the region, to Europe, but especially to the generations of the future."

Beautiful foundation

She spoke the words in a packed Blauwe Zaal in the Auditorium, in the presence of her family, including her five children. Shortly after transferring the the chain of office, Lenaerts complimented her predecessor Frank Baaijens, who she said has laid a beautiful foundation to build on. "It is an honor and privilege to follow in the footsteps of Frank and of all those great rectores magnifici who preceded me", she said.

Lenaerts touched on some topics that are close to her heart. For example, she wants to encourage young people who are more socially and people-oriented, and young people who, for whatever reason, have difficulty connecting with academic education, to still choose a technical education. "I strive to attract more diverse profiles. We must nurture talent so that it can flourish and spread optimally regardless of background, gender or social circumstances."

The new rector also stressed the importance of valorisation. Cooperation with industry is indispensable if we want to tackle major societal challenges - from the energy transition to the climate problem. "Through our education, research and innovations in cooperation with industry, we ensure that knowledge reaches society. Because valorisation, in addition to education and research, is the university's third core task."

In addition, the focus is also on social safety. "Social safety and security within the work and study environment is also high on my agenda", clarified Lenaerts, who emphasized that we all bear responsibility for this. "People must feel comfortable, safe and secure, and enjoy coming to work. As a university community, we are collectively responsible for each other's social safety and security. It's an issue that affects us all and that we all need to address."

Safe place

And so all of this creates value for society, the new rector magnificus envisioned. "I want to provide a stimulating and safe place to work and study. And I want to keep connecting, keep collaborating so that together we are better prepared for the challenges of tomorrow", she concluded her first speech as rector magnifcus of TU Eindhoven.

Media contact

Frans Raaijmakers
(Science Information Officer)

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