101st Gdynia Maritime University Celebration Day
On the 8th December 2021, Gdynia Maritime University observed its 101st Celebration Day. The celebrations began with the raising of the flag on GMU's main building, which was followed by the celebration of Holy Mass and the ceremonial sitting of the Senate. The day's events came to a close with the Remembrance Roll Call in front of the main building.
From the Pages of History
For more than 100 years, 8th December has been a date of special importance in the history of Gdynia Maritime University. On that historic Wednesday morning in Tczew in 1920, the grand inauguration of the first academic year was held and the white and red flag of Poland raised on the building of the once Women's Middle School.
The local Gdansk Newspaper Gazeta Gdańska published the following account of the event on 11th December 1920:
On 8th December 1920, the first naval school in Poland was inaugurated. In attendance from Warsaw was the head of the Department for Maritime Affairs Admiral Porębski, the head of the Department’s technical office, General Bobrowski, and the director of the operations department, Captain Filanowicz, as well as members of the English maritime mission - Lieutenants Wharton and Buchanan, and from the Gdansk Commissioner General’s office, Maciej Biesiadecki accompanied by office officials.
The opening of the school was preceded by a service led by Pomerania MP Priest Canon Kupczyński and assisted by Priest Professor Rychlewski. After Holy Mass, which came to a close following a solemn speech largely dedicated to the school’s first teachers, and the blessing of the teaching rooms, the Polish flag was raised on the tower of the building. The ceremonial act was accompanied by a rendition of the Polish patriotic hymn “Boże coś Polskę” and Maria Konopnicka’s “Rota” by two rows of maritime students, accompanied by an orchestra.The youth were addressed by Admiral Porębski, MP Kupczyński and Commissioner-General Biesiadecki, who underlined the value and significance of the sea for Poland and the “importance of the political and cultural mission to be carried out by the Polish Navy on behalf of its own country and abroad”.
After the ceremony, the school’s authorities were joined by guests for a celebratory dinner at which the main course was goose.
As the beginning of maritime education in Poland, 8th December is a date of special importance in the history of the University, which still today is observed solemnly and with a festive spirit as the University's Celebration Day.
Photo 1 - The official opening of the Maritime School in Tczew, 8th December 1920.
Photo 2 - Ceremonial Holy Mass during the inauguration of the first academic year, 8th December 1920.
Photo 3 - Goose Dinner, Tczew Maritime School, 8th December 1920.
8:00am on Wednesday 8th December – Raising the Flag
Celebration Day 2021 began with the tradition of raising the flag on the main building of the University. The act of raising the flag as part of the University's Celebration Day is an exception to the rule, as the flag is normally only raised on ships and Polish embassies abroad. However, to this day the white and red flag is hoisted up on the flagpole at 8:00am sharp on the main University building in Gdynia to the sound of Dąbrowski's Mazurek in memory of the same act carried out on the building of the Maritime School in Tczew in 1920.
The University Senate, staff, students and alumni all gathered in the square in front of the main building. The Gdynia Maritime University banner was ceremonially introduced, accompanied by the GMU Guard of Honour and the Merchant Navy Orchestra. The raising of the flag took place to the sound of the National Anthem.
The Celebration then continued with the celebration of Holy Mass in the intentions of the University's staff, students, doctoral candidates and alumni at the Gdynia Redemptorist Church. The mass was assured an atmosphere of solemnity by the Gdynia Maritime University Academic Choir and the Guard of Honour.
Ceremonial Sitting of the Senate of GMU
At 11:00am a ceremonial sitting of the Senate was held in the T. Meissner Aula and was attended by the members of the Senate, representatives of the University Council, as well as invited guests.
After greeting all participants and guests gathered in the hall, HM Rector of Gdynia Maritime University Professor Adam Weintrit gave a speech in which he summed up the University’s activity during the past year:
-The University is achieving success. The strategy that we have been implementing for the past two years is an effective response to the demands of today’s world and preparation for the expectations of the future. The systemic solutions and bold strategic decisions of the last year have proven to be essential. Beginning with the University’s fundamental legislation, we are working on implementing changes to all current University regulations and have already introduced new Articles of Association. These regulations aim to ensure the stability of the work carried out at our University, including the Maritime Institute, whose integration is a requirement and determinant of our development.
Rector Professor Weintrit also spoke about the challenges that lie ahead as well as initiatives already implemented or currently being implemented by the University, such as the Offshore Centre:
- We are already seeing the dynamic development of wind energy, which is a driving force for many areas of the national economy. And we have not passed up this opportunity for development. The strategic decision to undertake the biggest investment of the last few decades - the construction of an offshore technology centre in the immediate vicinity of the Wisłoujście fortress - has initiated several activities also of a scientific and educational nature. The construction of the Offshore Centre, whose foundations and first-floor walls have already been built, will be an essential research and education facility for the national offshore wind sector.
On the topic of offshore wind energy, Rector Weintrit also highlighted recent developments in education at the University:
- We also have ambitions to educate personnel for this demanding sector of the economy. To this end, we have developed new undergraduate and MBA level study programmes aimed at businesses and institutions connected with the offshore wind supply chain as well as individuals planning a career within the industry.
The Rector summed up his speech with an assurance:
- We are a world-renowned Maritime University. And as such, we will continue to further our scientific, education and organisational potential and improve our infrastructure. During the first quarter of next year, work will begin on the construction of a new sports hall and the building of a new training ship, a successor to the Dar Młodzieży, also lies ahead.
He concluded his speech with wishes:
- I hope that today will provide a welcome opportunity to summarise, remember and reflect. I wish all graduates, students and doctoral candidates, teaching and administration staff, and all those who study and work within the walls of this University in the future, to always feel a part of, and care for, our maritime community.
Letters of congratulations addressed to the Rector from, among others, the Marshall of the Polish Sejm, Elżbieta Witek, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki were also read during the proceedings.
The sitting also provided an appropriate occasion for the presentation of awards and decorations for the development of maritime education and Gdynia Maritime University.
The following persons were presented with Presidential awards following nomination by the Minister for the maritime economy and inland shipping:
Gold Cross of Merit:
- Professor Tomasz Tarasiuk, DSc(Eng)
Silver Cross of Merit:
- Wiesław Citko, Phd(Eng)
- Ireneusz Czarnowski, DSc(Eng), Associate Professor
- Aleksandra Edyta Grobelna, Phd(Eng)
- Tadeusz Jan Pastusiak, DSc(Eng), MM, Associate Professor
Bronze Cross of Merit:
- Agnieszka Rybowska, DSc(Eng), Associate Professor
Bronze Cross of Merit for Meritorious Social Achievement:
- Izabela Barbara Dudek-Muczyńska, MSc
The presentation of the awards was followed by speeches from Deputy Governor of Pomerania Mariusz Łuczyk, Vice Secretary of State in the Minister of Infrastructure Grzegorz Witkowski, and Major of Gdynia Dr Wojciech Szczurek.
The ceremonial sitting of the Senate also saw the launch of a new book "Biographical Dictionary of Tczew Maritime School Graduates 1922 - 1930" by Małgorzata Sokołowska and Joanna Stasiak and the presentation of a book by Agnieszka Czarnecka "People in Service of the University - From Tczew Maritime School to Gdynia Maritime University”.
An air of celebration was added to the proceedings by a performance by the GMU Academic Choir.
Remembrance Roll Call
At 3:00pm in front of the main building, a Remembrance Roll Call was read in honour of all those departed for the eternal watch. By this ceremonial, symbolic act, the academic community honoured the past directors, lecturers, staff, students, and alumni of the Tczew Maritime School and Gdynia Maritime University. The roll call was accompanied by the Gdynia Maritime University Guard of Honour and the Merchant Navy Orchestra.