Monday, 2 December 2019

aus tradition grenzen überschreiten

With illustrious alumni including H, Angela Merkel, Robert Schumann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Tycho Brahe, the University of Leipzig is one of the world’s most storied and preeminent institutions of higher learning and second longest in existence only to that of Heidelberg (1386) in Germany and was officially founded on this day in 1409 to provide a new alma mater to German-speaking academics that had fled the reformation movement agitated by Jan Hus in Prague with the endorsement of the papacy.

To ensure the university’s independence and scholastic freedom from state influence, the founders gifted the institution first three then a total of eight nearby villages as sources of revenue, an arrangement that continued through the nineteenth century. Pictured here is the Paulinerkirche, which served as the university’s anchor since the beginning, until its demolition by the government of East Germany in 1968 but rebuild in modernist style in 2012 as the Paulinum (das Aula und Universitätskirche Sankt Pauli) with the former dormitory high rise—meant to suggest an open book, now City-Hochhaus beside. The above motto translates, (from) a tradition of crossing borders and was one of the first institutions to allow female guests to audit classes, eventually awarding its first doctor of jurisprudence degree to a Russian graduate student called Anna Yevreinova in 1873 and during the transition period of the decline and eventual dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, many from the newly independent republics turned to Leipzig as an administrative and educational model.