Virtual Closing of the Academic Year 2019/2020

Prof. Dr. László Palkovics, Rector of Szent István University (SZIU), closed the 2019/2020 academic year with a video message due to the situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic. In his message, the rector thanked the students and staff for their perseverance in the spring semester, congratulated the graduates, and also mentioned some significant achievements of the institution.

Rector's Closing Message - video

Rector's message - text

Dear members of the university community,
Dear Students, Faculty and Colleagues,
We have reached the end of the 2019/2020 academic year at Szent Istvan University, an event which we are marking by a virtual ceremony as we conclude a year which has been anything but ordinary.
A little more than three months ago, we all had to adapt to a completely new lifestyle. We promptly implemented all of the government’s instructions, and accordingly suspended all activities requiring mobility, as well as the various events and conferences that had been planned. As in-person teaching ceased, our university was also forced into the virtual world, and began to use new means for knowledge transfer.
Together with our teaching staff, we selected various applications to use for our courses and and for students to submit assignments. All of us had the opportunity to put into practice our abilities to innovate and adapt.
Teaching and studying were conducted remotely. Over the last months, instead of listing how many continents our students had come from, we saw how many remote locations they were connecting from during online teaching sessions.
The university conducted exams online as usual, with the exception of final exams, which were written in person by those students who were within the borders of Hungary. Our final-year students, as they returned to our campuses for their final exams, had a brief glimpse into the more lively atmosphere of the pre-pandemic times. Their presence at the university was a welcome respite from the oppressive silence that had been weighing on all of us for weeks.
We can now say that we were successful in overcoming the difficulties in transitioning to online teaching. The entire community of our university—faculty, students, and our administrative staff—all dealt admirably with this unprecedented situation. We helped and supported one another, thereby further strengthening our sense of belonging to Szent István University and our connections to one another. We would like to express our gratitude to each and every member of our university community for having been able to rise to the challenges of these extraordinary times.
It is my conviction that this has been a rich learning experience for all of us and that remote teaching will continue to have a great significance in the future. But it was also shown that undergraduate training cannot do without the direct transfer of knowledge and experience from teachers to students.
We are thus ending an unusual year in an unusual way. This is an important time for all university students, as a period of their lives comes to an end as they prepare, after having successfully completed their exams, to depart as graduates and enrich our homeland’s community of intellectual citizens.
As summer arrives, our university—just like our fields—offers us a fresh and bountiful harvest. Over the last few days, our institution has issued hundreds of diplomas, all in an unusual manner and format. We are proud of our graduates, the most valuable results of our work, and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on their achievements.
But this school year should not be remembered only for its response to a time of adversity. The many achievements of our institution and students were also recognised at the international level.
This is reflected by the fact that our institution advanced 50 places in the ranking of universities compiled by the British Quacquarelli Symonds published in March, putting us among the top 200 institutions. The authors of the ranking take into account the frequency of citations of scientific works related to the institution, the reputation of the institution in the academic world, the opinions of employers, and bibliographic citation indicators.
The QS World University Ranking 2021, published on June 10 by Quacquarelli Symonds, was based on the performance of 1,604 higher education institutions in 93 countries. Eight of Hungary’s universities were listed among the world’s top 1000 universities. After the University of Szeged, the University of Debrecen, ELTE and the University of Pécs, Szent István University was in fifth place.
While of course we do not know what the future holds in store, we can be sure that all of us must continue in working hard, with faith and conviction, at both the personal and community levels. I believe and trust that taking the right attitude will bring good and significant changes into our lives!
It is with these thoughts that I bid farewell to our graduates, wishing them all of the very best in their careers and personal endeavours, and to my colleagues, I wish everyone a pleasant summer holiday, and a chance to gather up energy for the tasks that lie ahead of us.
I hereby close the 2019/2020 academic year of Szent Istvan University. See you back in September!