Gdynia Maritime University celebrates its 102nd anniversary

On 8th December 2022, Gdynia Maritime University held its Celebration Day for the 102nd time. The ceremony began with the raising of the flag on the main building of GMU, followed by the ceremonial sitting of the Senate. In accordance with a more than 100-year-old tradition, the celebrations ended with a roast goose dinner.

Celebrated every year on 8th December, Gdynia Maritime University Celebration Day commemorates the events of 102 years ago. On that same day, the inauguration of the first year of the newly opened Maritime School took place in Tczew, and the Polish flag was raised on the front of the school building - a former female secondary school. Following the ceremony, the school's authorities and guests gathered for a Christmas dinner, during which a baked goose was served.

10 years later, following the transfer of the School to Gdynia, the inauguration and consecration of the new building of the Gdynia State Maritime School took place on 8th December 1930.

Due to its importance the date was established as the School's holiday. Today, as Gdynia Maritime University we continue to mark the day in a solemn and celebratory manner.


8:00 am
Raising the flag of the Polish Navy

The ceremony began on time at 8:00 a.m. with the traditional raising of the flag on the main University building.

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.

GMU staff, the Senate, students and graduates all gathered in the square in front of the University building. The Gdynia Maritime University banner was ceremonially introduced by the GMU Guard of Honour, accompanied by the Border Guard Unit's Maritime Orchestra. During the raising of the Polish Navy's flag, the orchestra played the National Anthem. 


9:00 am 
Holy Mass

Another Gdynia Maritime University is a solemn Mass celebrated for the intentions of the staff, students, doctoral candidates and graduates of the University at the Redemptorist Church on Portowej Street in Gdynia. 

The Holy Mass, which began at 9:00, was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Dr Wiesław Szlachetka and the Pastor of the People of the Sea and Gdynia Maritime University Chaplain, Father Edward Pracz.

An air of solemnity was provided for the occasion by the GMU Choir and Guard of Honour.


11:00 am
Ceremonial Sitting of the Senate of GMU

The following events were held in the main Gdynia Maritime University buildings on Morska Street. Maritime Economy Affairs. At 11:00 am, an open sitting of the Senate was held in the T. Meissner Hall, attended by members of the Senate, representatives of the University Council, and guests.

During the ceremony, a speech on the occasion was given by the Rector of Gdynia Maritime University, Professor Adam Weintrit. After welcoming the guests, the Rector recalled the history of the creation of the Maritime School 102 years ago, at a time when the Polish maritime economy was also born. He also mentioned the stormy events of the Polish-Bolshevik war, which influenced the date of the inauguration of the first school year in Tczew on 8th December 1920.

The Rector, Professor Adam Weintrit, spoke proudly of the University's success and its recognition around the world. He noted that the next two years of the current term of office would focus on the internationalisation of the University and the extension of the University's activities in the international environment. Professor Weintrit also spoke of the University's most recent area of activity , offshore wind energy. Currently under construction, the Centre for the Offshore Industry will be the seat of the Maritime Institute and the University's Offshore Wind Energy Centre, which conducts an MBA programme for the offshore industry in English.


The ceremony was followed by the signing of a cooperation agreement between Gdynia Maritime University and the company Polish Baltic Shipping. The document was signed on behalf of the University by Rector Professor Adam Weintrit and the President of Polish Baltic Shipping Andrzej Madejski.


The next part of University Celebration Day was the reading of letters of congratulations, sent to the University for the occasion from the Marshal of the Polish Sejm, Ms Elżbieta Witek and the Minister for Education and Science, Przemysław Czarnek.


The Deputy Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Grzegorz Witkowski, then took the floor to address those gathered, and thanked them for the opportunity to attend the GMU Celebration Day:

Your Magnificence, distinguished guests, but above all students of Gdynia Maritime University! I am delighted to be here with you today within the walls of the University for the celebrations of University Celebration Day. Participation in this event is an extraordinary privilege and honour for me as a representative of the Polish Government. At the Ministry of Infrastructure, we are continually committed to the further development of the University and the strengthening of its position as a renowned academic centre for training future personnel, who represent a valuable potential for the Polish maritime economy. I would like to remind you that Gdynia Maritime University has always placed very high on the famous Shanghai list. Congratulations!

The past year has been very positive mainly due to the significant progress made in the further development of the University's infrastructure and the consistent development of further goals and challenges, as well as taking steps to ensure modernity and competitiveness in the higher education market.

Thanks to continual efforts, we can hope not only to increase the position of the University in European and global rankings, but also to ensure the highest level of education based on close cooperation with many academic centres in Europe.

His speech of the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure Grzegorz Witkowski concluded with a request addressed to the Rector and Deputy Rectors of the Gdynia Maritime University for the preparation of personnel for the Polish state for a change which must take place in Polish territorial waters in the Baltic.


The ceremony also provided an opportunity for the presentation of awards and decorations.

At the request of the Minister of Infrastructure, members of staff of the University were awarded honours of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, for services to society and science as well as medals for exceptional dedication to their professional duties. The Gold, Silver and the Bronze Cross of Merit of Merit to Deserving Staff of the University were presented by the Rector  Adam Weintrit and Deputy Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure Grzegorz Witkowski.

The Gloria Artis Merit Culture Medal was also awarded, at the request of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, to Captain Józef Wójcik. In giving thanks for this special distinction, Captain Wójcik reminded us of his 25-year association with the University, of which 18 years were as a lecturer / senior lecturer and 7 years he served on the University's training ships, including 4 years on the Dar Młodzieży.

In the latter part of the ceremony, medals awarded by the President of Poland at the request of the Minister of Infrastructure to members of University staff for exceptional fulfilment of their professional duties. The medals were presented by the Rector and the Deputy Secretary of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Grzegorz Witkowski.

The Minister of Infrastructure also awarded the Honorary Decorations for "Meritorious Worker of the Sea," and the Minister of Education and Science awarded National Education Commission Medals for Service to Culture and Education.

His Magnificence, Rector Professor Adam Weintrit, awarded the decorations "Meritorious Service to Maritime Education," "Meritorious Service to Gdynia Maritime University," and "Meritorious Worker of Gdynia Maritime University," to those who contributed to the development of the Gdynia Maritime University and maritime education.

Jubilee awards for GMU staff for 50, 45 and 40 years of service were also presented.

The Captain Konstantyn Matyjewicz-Maciejewicz award for the best academic Gdynia Maritime University teacher as chosen by GMU students was presented to Dr Kazimierz Witkowski.

The next highlight of the celebrations was the presentation of diplomas confirming the award of doctoral and post-doctoral degrees by Rector Professor Adam Weintrit and Deputy Rector for Science, Dr Dariusz Barbucha.  

As is tradition, awards were also presented to students with outstanding academic achievements and for social work for the benefit of the academic community, as well as a doctoral candidate award granted for outstanding scientific achievements.

The Rector then awarded three "Gdynia Maritime University Graduate Medals" with an entry in the "Golden Book of Graduates" for very good academic results and a high grade in the final exam.

For their activity and social work for the benefit of the academic community, the Rector's award was also awarded to members of the Students' Parliament.

His Magnificence, The Rector, also presented awards to students for the significant achievements in sports at a national or international level.


The ceremonial sitting of the Senate also saw the launch of the book "Gdyniacy. Słownik biograficzny absolwentów Państwowej Szkoły Morskiej w Gdyni 1931 - 1939" [A biographical dictionary of the graduates of the Gdynia State Maritime School 1931 - 1939], by Małgorzata Sokołowska and Joanna Stasiak.

Last year, saw the launch of "A Biographical Dictionary the Graduates of Tczew Maritime School 1922-1930", also during University Celebration Day. The second volume includes graduates from the years 1931-1939, since the University's relocation Tczew to Gdynia in 1930, until the outbreak of WWII. The launch of the book was preceded by the presentation of archival photographs of school and sea convoys and the "maritime tango" of 1942. The godmother was Małgorzata Jankau, a close relative of Jerzy Perzanowski, a graduate of the Faculty of Marine Engineering (1932), who died in September 1939 defending Gdynia and the daughter of Jan Herrmann, a graduate of the Faculty of Marine Engineering, a senior mechanic, a soldier in the Coastal Defence battalion, and the Main Naval Command of the national army.

The second book presented during University Celebration Day is entitled "Kids of Gdynia" by Captain Stanisław Hinz, who ceremony coordinator Aleksander Gosk referred to as a "child of the Maritime Higher School and State Maritime School" as he grew up within  the walls of the institution, along with other children of the staff of the School. In his speech, the author of the book mentioned the years of his childhood when many of the staff lived within the walls of the School and played a large part in their lives, able as they were to come and go as they pleased.

University Celebration Day was also saw a performance by the GMU Academic Choir as well as the Gdynia jazz singer Renata Irsy, a graduate of the Academy of Music in Gdansk, who performed with the pianist and arranger Artur Jurki and saxophonist Darek Herbasz.

Following the ceremonial sitting of the Senate, Rector Professor  Adam Weintrit proceeded over the grand opening of the "Kotwicy" – shop selling official GMU merchandise.

The celebrations of the 102nd anniversary of Gdynia Maritime University came to a close with a traditional roast goose dinner. The dinner was reminiscent of the events of 1920, when after the inauguration of the first year at the Tczew Maritime School, guests sat down for a festive meal with roast goose served as the main course.

We would like to thank all guests, students, doctoral candidates and staff for their participation in Gdynia Maritime University Celebration Day          


Photos by Cezary Spigarski / The Maritime Office


Providing entity: 

GMU/Gdynia Maritime University

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