FHWS becomes THWS and celebrated the name change in the course of its 50th anniversary with the Bavarian Minister-President Dr Markus Söder
“Changing the name of our institution heralds the beginning of a new age”, said Prof Dr Robert Grebner, President of the future Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (THWS). He celebrated the name change from FHWS to THWS as of 1 January 2023 via video call, due to illness. Among the guests in Schweinfurt were the Bavarian Minister-President, Dr Markus Söder, the Bavarian State Minister for Science and the Arts, Markus Blume, and key persons from politics, the economy, science and administration.
On 1 January 2023, FHWS, which has been existing for half a century, will become a Technical University of Applied Sciences. Vice President Prof Dr Gabriele Saueressig welcomed the guests in the name of the President. She thanked all attendees for the establishment of the International Campus (FHWS i-Campus): Without the commitment of Minister-President Dr Markus Söder, Lord Mayor of Schweinfurt Sebastian Remelé, and Gerhard Eck in his then function as State Secretary, the implementation and construction of the new building for the Faculty of Business and Engineering on Ledward Campus would not have been possible. Now three occasions at once could be celebrated – the re-naming into a technical university of applied sciences, the 50th anniversary and the use of the new building.
FHWS President Prof. Robert Grebner said: “We are proud that we can call ourselves ‘Technical University of Applied Sciences (THWS) as of 1 January 2023. Last year, the extended university management has agreed on changing our name. The reasons for this are prestige, financial betterment and a better characterisation of the University. A THWS radiates quite differently in the region, in Europe and worldwide.”
Bavarian Minister-President Dr Markus Söder congratulated FHWS to its 50th anniversary. He said that now the time of harvest began. Not only Munich was place of technology, but Franconia as well. According to him, FHWS was a key player in science. It had been developing since the 1970s, when in the course of a transformation of agricultural structures, town and countryside were brought into line with the expansion of the sciences. The city of Schweinfurt had also been profiting from this structural change: Formerly a purely industrial location with an extensive conversion area, Schweinfurt today benefited as a university city from the fact that young people came to the city and the region. They were the hope and the future.
The technology offensive launched in 2019 funded science with the two programmes "Bavarian Hightech Agenda" and "Hightech Agenda Plus" with a total of about 3.5 billion euros. At FHWS, the field of technology was promoted with almost fifty positions in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. FHWS was currently home to ten faculties, seven of which with a technical orientation. 16 technical Bachelor's degree programmes as well as five technical research institutes characterised the current FHWS profile. FHWS had a Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Würzburg and a Centre for Robotics in Schweinfurt and invested in hydrogen technology. In addition, three further technology transfer centres in Kitzingen, Bad Kissingen and Marktheidenfeld brought know-how to the region. Söder also green-lighted the new degree programme with regional relevance: wine tourism. It was part of culture and ecology.
The Bavarian Minister of State for Science and the Arts, Markus Blume, praised the success story of FHWS: It was characterised by a successful combination of continuity and dynamism. Continuity through presidents whose terms of office could rival those of German chancellors; dynamism due to the development from 1,500 students at the time of its founding in 1971 to currently over 9,000 domestic and foreign students. FHWS provided optimal location and study conditions and good structural development. With the new Higher Education Act, more agility and technology transfer was possible, which the institution could also implement for itself. He wished the University “ad multos annos” – many years to come.
Schweinfurt's Lord Mayor Sebastian Remelé expressed his pride: “FHWS is No. 1.” He gave a review of the development of the city's successful co-operation with FHWS. He noted that in January 2013, the then economic development manager Hans Schnabel had sat down with him and the President of FHWS to discuss possible future scenarios for the conversion sites. They decided to allow FHWS an expansion space on the eighty hectares of available land. The plan had been a success: Now there was a real campus, with teaching, research, and living spaces. In the city you could now meet students from 107 nations. He expressed his wish towards the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) that it shall create job opportunities for future graduates in the region.
Faculty of Visual Design professor Henning Rogge-Pott presented the new corporate design and logo of the future Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (THWS). The creative design process began three years ago under the project name “Identity 23”. He said the approach had been to create individuality, as well as community, and to depict a network of knowledge. The decisive factors for the development were: Systematics, modularity, expandability, clarity, and modernity. Subsequently, he presented a film featuring details of the development towards variable symbols as a logo.
Finally, Minister President Dr Söder and Minister of State Blume honoured six professors who have accepted a Hightech Agenda professorship in and for Bavaria, at FHWS, to strengthen science: They awarded Prof Dr Magda Gregorová (Artificial Cognitive Learning), Prof Dr Pascal Meissner (Artificial Cognitive Motion), Prof Dr Volker Willert (Machine Vision), Prof Dr Rainer Herrler (Machine Learning), Prof Dr Fabian Scheller (Energy and Resource Efficiency) and Prof Albert Dischinger (Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Construction) a badge of honour.
Afterwards, the ceremony attendants visited the future MAVEL Lab (Mixed Augmented Virtual Experience Learning) that is equipped with Augmented and Virtual Reality devices. Prof Dr Peter Meyer, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Engineering, explained the so-called “Multiview Cave” system to the Minister-President, which is unique in size in Germany. It enables two or more users to generate information in a multi-sensory, reality-independent way and to work on processes in a projection area. Environments, people and/or objects could be viewed and designed in both the real and the virtual world.