This year, on the usual date in May, sponsors and recipients were once again invited to attend the presentation of the Deutschlandstipendium certificates. Representatives from companies, foundations and associations met with students at the Haus der Wirtschaft on May 25. In addition to the welcome speeches and the presentation of certificates, great emphasis was also placed on getting together and exchanging ideas.
The Deutschlandstipendium from the perspective of diversity and internationality
On behalf of the Rectorate, the Vice Rector for Diversity and Internationalization, Prof. Silke Wieprecht, welcomed the guests and thanked the sponsors for their commitment. She congratulated the students on receiving the scholarship - and on their excellent choice of university.
Wieprecht emphasized that she did not want to use the occasion to present facts and figures - which is what universities usually do to affirm their excellence. Rather, she showed much greater interest in talking about the positive effects of keeping an open mind. The Vice Rector for Diversity and Internationalization defined this as openness to other cultures, as well as openness to different approaches and new experiences. Referring to a well-known quote by Matthias Claudius, "If someone goes on a journey, he can tell a story", she then shared an anecdote from a trip to a symposium on the Panama Canal, in which her own openness stood her in good stead. As soon as she arrived at the hotel, two men asked for her in the lobby. This initially triggered a feeling of unease. However, this feeling quickly turned to joy at meeting with two of her former students, who were now living in Panama with their families. She went on to tell of how they then invited her to dinner right next to the canal, since they both worked for the operating company.
Financing a degree with scholarships
In his welcoming speech, Prof. Erhard Plödereder, chairman of the Informatikforum Stuttgart, drew a laugh with his statement that he had always been able to obtain "some kind of scholarship" throughout his studies. And this was coupled with continual financial support from his parents, an approach he then also recommended to the parents present.
Turning his attention to the students, Plödereder advised them not to use the scholarship to finance their studies, but to invest it in their personal development. For example, by studying abroad or going on vacation. He also claimed he had aimed to study for 20 semesters, including for his doctoral degree.
Doing something meaningful
Dr. Mela Fiedler, founder of the Dr. Erich Lang Foundation, emphasized in her welcoming address that she was determined to do something meaningful with her father's legacy - in accordance with his wish that his fortune be preserved for eternity.
Her greatest wish, she said, was to fund and support ideas that strengthen the common good. That's why, in addition to the family's schools, the foundation also supports his father's alma mater, the University of Stuttgart - among other things, with the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship to help young, aspiring students on their way.
Motivation to study abroad successfully, and the joy of appreciation
Student Zhuoyao Zeng expressed his sincere thanks for the support he received from the Deutschlandstipendium. That he, a Chinese national, had been awarded a scholarship for his second degree, for him was a proof of the fact that personal and academic development were important considerations in the selection criteria. He continued by saying that he saw this as confirmation that his most important decisions had always been the right ones. Not so much that of having married the girlfriend he met in Germany - his most important decision - but that of using his skills and talents in the field of mathematics. He went on to say that even if a career in research didn’t work out, his experiences as a tutor had taught him that he was good at explaining things and teaching.
Words of welcome from student Nora Beck rounded off the first part of the event. She expressed delight that her "exotic combination" of art education and chemistry gave her the opportunity to pursue both her artistic and scientific inclinations. Even though studying at two universities with very different structures demanded a lot of time, in the end one subject could even benefit from the other. She expressed her gratitude to the Vector Foundation as a sponsor and, in general, for the scholarship program's recognition of personal achievement and development.
The ceremony was followed by a social gathering, which focused on the exchange between the sponsors and the students. Musical accompaniment for the evening was provided by the trio 'umlaut'.