University, Inauguration of the 41st Tor Vergata Academic Year under the banner of ‘Sustainable Progress’

The Rector Nathan Levialdi Ghiron: “Aspiring to environmental, social and economic well-being means satisfying the needs of current generations without compromising future ones”

The ceremony has concluded Inauguration of the Academic Year 2023-2024 ofUniversity of Rome Tor Vergata. The event took place in the presence of Ministers of University and ResearchAnna Maria Bernini, e of Health, Orazio Schillaciof the rectors of Italian universities and in the presence of the vice-rectors and vice-rectors and of the delegates and of the magnificent rector Nathan Levialdi Ghiron. The ceremony had “Sustainable Progress” as its key theme. The ceremony was opened by the speech of the Minister of Health, Orazio Schillaci, who greeted the audience by defining the University – of which he was rector until his appointment as minister – as “a cutting-edge university centre, with a strong international vocation and sustainability and which represents one of the Italian excellences in research, teaching and innovation”. “The theme of Sustainable Progress expresses well the need to implement interventions aimed at collective well-being – continued the minister – promoting healthy lifestyles and a development model based on the conscious use of environmental resources, a prerequisite for the transition process that everyone must commit to promoting”. “More health and more sustainability is an objective that I have placed at the top of the agenda of my mandate since the first days” said Schillaci. The magnificent rector Nathan Levialdi Ghiron marked his speech on the most important themes in this, his first year in office. “Aspiring to environmental, social and economic well-being means, above all, satisfying the needs of current generations without compromising future ones” he underlined. The Magnificent Rector explained that “the concept of sustainability includes issues not only linked to mere environmental protection and the preservation of natural resources, but also to fair economic development and social progress as a guarantee of the fundamental rights of all citizens”.

“Our University, through its study programs that promote global citizenship and sustainable development, aims to prepare our students to become true agents of change” continued the Rector who also quoted the American ecologist David Orr. “No institution in modern society is better equipped than universities to catalyze the necessary transition to a sustainable world. Universities train the leaders of tomorrow and the leaders of today. What they do impacts society as a whole,” he said. Levialdi Ghiron observed that “the desire to improve the context in which we live has been a distinctive character of our University since its foundation and is a legacy that I have collected from the Founding Fathers. I would like to remember and thank Prof. Garaci for his presence who gave a fundamental contribution to the creation of the University Campus and Prof. Finazzi Agrò for the construction of the Polyclinic and Professors Lauro and Novelli for the construction of the Rectorate”. In reference to an assessment of participation and professional opportunities for the students of ‘Tor Vergata’, the Rector underlined that “with a true sense of satisfaction I note how much the University’s approach towards a fair and supportive world is appreciated so much so as to bring a number of enrolled students to 34,491 for the academic year 2022/23, with an employment rate of 82%, placing us among the first in Italy (5th place) for the quality of the Doctorate, thus highlighting an ever greater attractiveness of the different study courses” in a context in which 90 teachers from ‘Tor Vergata’ have been indicated by Stanford University as Top 2% Scientists, the flagship of the world academy. In the scientific field, the Rector highlighted how within its territorial and socio-economic context “the University has a total of over 200 Research Groups, operating in the various Departments, which over time have established collaborations with over 1,000 companies” .

In her speech, the Minister of University and Research Anna Maria Bernini praised the institutional collaboration and the people involved in the growth and training process. “I believe – said Bernini – in the strength of collaboration, because it is stronger than competitiveness, collaboration is stronger than opposition. This way we manage to go further. Over time the university has hybridized and grown by contaminating itself, also managing to improve one’s assets through knowledge”. ‘Tor Vergata’ has managed to carve out a characterizing space for itself – concluded Bernini – but with a view to great collaboration. This is the concept of Universitas”.

The event, which lasted about two hours, saw the participation of Miriam Calabrese, student of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, representing the student community and Stefano Bocchino, head of the University’s Office for Sustainable Development, representing of the technical, administrative and library staff. Guest of honor of the Ceremony, Margherita Cassano, first President of the Supreme Court of Cassation and first female judge to hold this role in the history of the Italian judiciary, and her speech focused on the theme of Democracy and the Italian Constitution. “I am interested in deepening the feeling of democracy. Today – said President Cassano – there is a widespread belief that to make it grow it is necessary to spread participation rights so that its spirit develops”. “I believe a sort of citizen apathy regarding the functioning of the institutions is spreading, with the disconnect between the latter and the citizens, a phenomenon – observed President Cassano – which leads to a distancing between the formal Constitution (the set of rules contained in the Charter) and the material Constitution (the behavior of each of us to achieve the values ​​of the Charter)”. Cassano’s passage aimed at the new generations is crucial: “I say this especially for young people, democracy is made up of tiring rules because it is the search for a point of balance that derives from the habit of listening, the patience of discussion and refusal of preconceived theses in the name of dialogue”. The magnificent rector presented President Cassano with the Certificate of Merit and the University Medal.

The laying of the foundation stone of the New Law Teaching Center also took place in the morning, in the presence of the Magnificent Rector Nathan Levialdi Ghiron, the General Director of the University Silvia Quattrociocche and the Rector Emeritus Enrico Garaci, first rector of the University of Rome Tor Vergata from 1982 to 1993. Garaci witnessed the university’s first steps and proudly describes its growth over time. “An important, large University, thanks to a united group of pioneers who settled in and managed to make an impossible mission possible” underlined Garaci. This building also respects the theme of the inauguration of the academic year, having been designed according to principles of sustainability and partial self-sufficiency. Approximately 3000 square meters for an ambitious project which involves the construction of 17 classrooms with a total capacity of 1750 seats, as well as 4 management structures. A further step towards a development program in which learning needs and attention to the environment will converge in a campus that will give life to a university experience, founded on principles of sustainability, responsibility and quality of life. In particular, the Educational Center building will present energy consumption consistent with an nZEB (nearly zero energy building). The estimated annual consumption is equal to 308,906kWh/year, of which 87,915 kWh/year from on-site renewable sources, mainly photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. In the building there is a rainwater collection system capable of intercepting 7,031m3/year of water which includes a collection tank with a volume of 530m3. The accumulated water will be used for sanitary purposes and for irrigation of green areas. The car parks are characterized by green areas that exceed 30% of the surface area of ​​the stalls. Both during the execution of the preliminary investigations and in the implementation of the ‘constructive’ interventions, the protection of any archaeological remains discovered is ensured, in agreement with the Archaeological Superintendency. The entire day was broadcast live and can still be consulted on the University’s YouTube channel.