This week, not only will our university cross the 441-year threshold, but the rector-elect, my colleague Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas, will also take his oath of office. At the same time, my rectorial duties and responsibilities will come to an end.
I hope that after five years of being with you (longer with some, shorter with others), I am leaving the university a bit more updated and offering more opportunities to each and every one of you than it did when I arrived. As is fitting at a university, I learned a lot with you and had many teachers every day. Thank you all for this time that has helped me grow and mature.
To tell the truth, being the head of such an exceptional organisation is both an honour and a privilege, but above all, it is a huge responsibility. Our team had a vision and a direction that we proposed taking. However, the true face of the university had already been formed before this term of office, and will continue to be developed and modified by each and every one of you – the people who choose to work and study here, the people for whom this organisation is dear. Because you – we – are all Vilnius University, which is as strong as our community is.
So in essence this is just a new page in the life of the university and its history. I hope the opportunity to turn a new page and the responsibility for the creation of its content will inspire the new rector and his team to seek successful new ideas. And that the entire history to date – as befits a successor who is a historian – becomes a lesson and a valuable experience.
So I leave the history of the university to the historian, and as befits a physicist, I am going back to the mysteries of nature, to explore new possibilities in our ascension to the stars.
Congratulations to everyone on our upcoming 441st birthday! Though we will be celebrating it in extraordinary circumstances – without physical contact, a university gathering or the usual ado – I have no doubt that we will still feel a strong sense of community and faith in the future that we are creating together. Stay healthy and cherish those close to you.
Prof. Artūras Žukauskas