Politehnica University Timisoara

The message of the rector


    Dear colleagues, dear students,

100 years ago, Timisoara opened the first university in this part of the country. It was a process that had begun 14 years prior, in 1906, when the Municipal Council meeting on November 26 proposed a memorandum on the need to establish a polytechnic school. In 1907, Mayor Carol Telbisz submitted the memorandum to the Ministry of Public Instruction in Budapest. The proposal would be rejected. On April 29, 1912, the Municipal Council addressed the renowned professor Kornel Zelovich, from the Budapest Polytechnic, with the request to support and argue the need to establish a technical university in Timisoara. The council draws up a well-documented memorandum explaining the need to establish a second Polytechnic in Hungary. Even if the First World War begins in the meantime, the Ministry delegates a commission composed of the rector of the Budapest Polytechnic and 9 professors to discuss with the Timișoara City Hall. Finally, in February 1917, 10 years after the first document was submitted, the committee presented its conclusions and, at the same time, the agreement for the establishment of the second Polytechnic of Hungary, recommending the city of Timișoara. The turbulent events of 1917-1919 caused the actual establishment to be delayed.

After the city moved under the Romanian administration in the summer of 1919, a series of personalities from Romania take a stand regarding the founding of a polytechnic school in Timișoara. In September 1920, the Ministry of Public Works, which was in charge of technical education, appointed a commission to study the conditions for the founding of the Polytechnic School together with stakeholders from Timisoara. On November 11, 1920, 14 years after the first step, King Ferdinand signed the Decree-Law on the establishment, on November 15, 1920, of the "Polytechnic School" in Timisoara. We also owe to this monarch the memorable phrase uttered a few years later and which, in the meantime, became the motto of the university: "It is not the walls that make a school, but the spirit that reigns in it". On December 2, 1920, the well-known writer Camil Petrescu wrote in the daily "Tara": "It is indisputable that this school, through its high cultural level, will contribute a lot to making Timisoara the intellectual center we all desire".

In this context, I would only point out what Politehnica meant for the development of Timisoara and regional higher education. On November 4, 1938, the Academy of Higher Agronomic Studies in Cluj was transformed into the Faculty of Agronomy, subordinated to the Polytechnic in Timisoara. In 1940, it was moved to Timișoara where it operated within the Polytechnic. On July 30, 1945, King Mihai I of Romania promulgated Law 617 for the establishment of the Faculty of Agronomy, within the Polytechnic in Timișoara, where it functioned until September 1, 1948, when it was transformed into an independent Agronomic Institute. Since 1944, in the memorandum addressed to the King by the Minister of Education, regarding the establishment of a university in Timișoara (which was to include several faculties, but in the end, only the one of Medicine was established), it is stated that “Some departments will be able to benefit from the hospitality if the Polytechnic, which is well equipped and eager to help the cultural consolidation of Banat”. The education reform of 1948 would lead to the establishment of the Pedagogical Institute. Due to lacking a building, the institute operated, until the end of 1950, in the Polytechnic buildings. The first teaching staff members of the new pedagogical institute were recruited from the eminent teachers of the Polytechnic Institute. The first Rector of the West University, established as a construction from the Pedagogical Institute, was Professor Ioan Curea, who founded the Seismographic Station of the Polytechnic Institute of Timisoara. The establishment of sub-engineering institutes followed: 1970 Hunedoara, 1971 Reșița, 1972 Arad.

In this first century, Politehnica participated decisively in the modern development of Timisoara and the region. I will not point out what our university has meant by the number of graduates over the years, by the development or support offered to scientific research, by what it has represented as an argument, sometimes decisive, for attracting investments in the region. The Politehnica brand also encompassed sports, music, art, and community involvement. We have trained professionals, leaders for Timișoara, Timiș, and other municipalities or counties in Romania or companies from all over the world.

I think this is how we understand who we are and what is expected of us. In 1920 the university was instituted 2 years after the end of the Great War, the First World War. Furthermore, in the last 2 years, the Banat region had been proclaimed a republic for 4 months and had 3 different administrations, the Romanian one being installed for no longer than a year. Romania had also been crossed by epidemics of typhus or Spanish flu since the end of the war. Thus, those were very hard times.

But where are we today? Are we satisfied? Some will probably say yes, but I think most would say no. And not necessarily because we show or not in certain university rankings. Not because we have a larger or smaller patrimony, even if we are doing well here. Not because we manage to attract or not more financial resources through research and development. But because in the DNA of Politehnica it is written that we always want more, we want to give everything, not to be content with what we have. An international proverb says that "in times of crisis, some build dams, but the wise build bridges". It is possible the times we live in, beyond the restrictions that upset us, beyond the fact that they take us out of the social comfort given by the classic way of teaching, beyond a certain pressure, also grant us the opportunity to build these bridges that I think we have so much need of. These bonds will be the strength of our community, in which the teacher-student partnership is the foundation of the teaching process and administrative services become powerful tools in the service of meeting community objectives. Maybe after we build or rebuild these bridges we will use "we" more and less often "I" or maybe will replace some arbitrary decisions with methodology or irresponsibility with taking responsibility.

Famous philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said that "Life can only be understood by looking back, but must be lived by looking forward." So what will Politehnica look like in another 100 years? Will we still use the amphitheaters for classes or will we have remote attendance by using special glasses or lenses and the walls of each house can be wallpapered with a screen the thickness of a sheet of paper? Will we travel to the university with our cars or will the city provide traffic based on autonomous vehicles? Will we go to the doctor or will we have permanent health monitoring through sensors we will have installed for various basic functions of the body? Will the language of the course still matter or will the universal translators be fully integrated into people's lives? Will education remain only in the Humboldtian system or will it be influenced by new currents, such as that of Robinson's creative schools? Only from these few ideas we already realize that some professions will disappear or can change fundamentally. We do not know how technology will evolve in such a long term, but if we manage to build a solid foundation at the beginning of this new century, I think we will cope with any developments.


Happy birthday, Politehnica University Timisoara!

Happy birthday and good health, dear people of Politehnica!

Vivat, crescat, floreat!

Conf.univ.dr.ing. Florin DRĂGAN
Rectorul Universităţii Politehnica Timişoara



Ultima actualizare: 2021-11-22
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