Lund University’s 350th anniversary ceremony was held to newly written music. The tribute speeches focused on such as resistance of facts, or ‘alternative facts’, a term that has strongly prevailed in the press since President Trump’s inauguration. King Carl XVI Gustaf presented in his speech a “little observation”, to use his words, about the students of Lund.
Written by: Filippa Werner Sellbjer. Translated by: Rebecka McKinnon Forsell
In Vice-Chancellor Torbjörn von Schantz’s and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Göran Bexell’s tribute speeches, education was called the foremost means of telling facts from fiction. The latter stressed that despite the changing international situation, facts must never be replaced with alternative facts. Torbjörn von Schantz said that “in times where thinking is mistaken for knowing”, critically thinking internet users with high education are a determining power against resistance of facts.
Lund University also received royal congratulations by Akademiska Föreningen’s formal protector, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Slightly amused, he said that if you ask an old Lund student what they remember from their time at University it is often anything but their education.
– It is with references to Akademiska Föreningen rather than academic studies. They remember their tricks more vivid than their thesis topics. Many generations have had a lot of fun here, says King Carl XVI Gustaf.
He finished his speech by paying tribute to free, independent research and education. It is something that he regards as just as important today as 350 years ago, as the line between opinions and facts now seems more blurred than ever.
The first copy of the Lund University Anniversary Medal, a gold-plated version, will be given to King Carl XVI Gustaf. There are another 35 copies of the medal made in silver, which will be auctioned off on February 11th in the Great Hall of the University Main Building.