The University Council – also known as the USI Council – is one of USI’s central bodies together with the Rectorate and the Academic Senate. According to the Law that regulates the Università della Svizzera italiana, the University Council represents USI’s highest authority and closely monitors its activities. The Council meets four-five times a year for its ordinary sessions, usually in February, April-May, June-July, September-October (supplementary session) and December. Additional (extraordinary) sessions can also be held.
The University Council is formed by the Rector (who is also one of the two Vice Presidents of the body), the Faculty Deans, 5-11 members appointed every 4 years by the Council of State of the Canton Ticino. The University Council appoints among its members a Council President. USI’s Secretary General and the Head of Ticino's Higher Education Office take part in the sessions of the University Council without voting rights.
The functions of the University Council are stated in the Statute of the Università della Svizzera italiana.
Current members (in alphabetical order):
Former Rector of the University of Trento
Davide Bassi (1948) is an Experimental Physics Professor at the University of Trento where he was also Rector from 2004 to 2013. After earning his PhD in Physics at the University of Genova, in 1975 he founded the Molecular Beams Laboratory of the University of Trento. In his research, he has collaborated with several European centres and universities, such as the Leopold Franzens Universität of Innsbruck, the Université Paris Nord and the University of Barcelona. He has been member of USI Council since December 2012.
State Councilor, Canton Ticino
Manuele Bertoli (1961) has been State Councilor of Canton Ticino since 2011 and Head of the Ticino's Department of education, culture and sports (DECS). After obtaining his licence for elementary school teacher, he also earned a law degree at the University of Geneva in 1988. He was Secretary of the Associazione Inquilini della Svizzera italiana (Association of tenants of the Italian speaking region of Switzerland), Director of Unitas – Association of blind and visually impaired of the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, board member of Banca Stato, member of the Town Council of Balerna, and member of the Ticino’s Parliament. He has been a member of the University Council since April 2011.
Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences
Mario Bianchetti (1949) graduated in medicine from the University of Bern in 1975, specialising later on in paediatrics and pediatric nephrology. He was Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at both St John's and St Mary's Hospitals in Bellinzona and Mendrisio (2003 – 2012), Medical Director at St John's Hospital in Bellinzona (2010-2012) and Chair of the Pediatric Department of Southern Switzerland EOC (2013-2014). After earning his Medical Doctorate (M. D.) at the University of Bern (1980), he conducted research at the same university, at the University of Geneva, at the Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades (Paris, France) and at the De Marchi Clinic (Milan, Italy). He was Assistant Professor and Professor at the University of Bern were he directed the Department of Pediatrics and Nephrology from 1997 to 2003. He is the current dean of USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and has been a member of the University Council since December 2014.
Professor, University of Bern
Marina Cattaruzza (1950) is Professor of modern history at the University of Bern, were he used to be Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Philosophisch-historische Fakultät). After earning her PhD at the University of Trieste, she taught and conducted research at the same university, at the University of Hamburg, at the University of Wien, at the European University Institute, at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, and at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. She was also guest professor at the International University Library of Social Studies Guido Carli in Rome and fellow researcher at the University of Tokyo and at the Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II. Among many assignments, she was board member of the Swiss Historical Society (SGG) and member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She has been member of the University Council since June 2012.
Director of the Academy of Architecture
Marc Collomb (1953) is Professor at USI Academy of Architecture. He studied in Lausanne and New York (Cooper Union) and graduated from EPFL. He was guest professor at EPFL and at Pennsylvania University. He is co-owner of Atelier Cube, to which the Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur of ETH Zurich dedicated an exhibition in 1997. He is the Director of the Academy of Architecture.
Monica Duca Widmer
President of the University Council
Monica Duca Widmer (1959) graduated in chemical engineering from ETH Zurich in 1984 and earned her PhD in Chemistry at the Università degli Studi of Milan in 1987. She was member of the Ticino’s Parliament (1995-2011), and member of the Council of Federal Institutes of Technology (1998-2008), she chaired the Federal Commission for Atomic, Biological and Chemical Protection (1995-2007) and was member of the Council of the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (2004-2015). She also is the director and founding member of EcoRisana SA, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Migros Ticino, Vicepresident of the Federal Communications Commission, member of the Federal Energy Research Commission, of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, and of the Council of the University of Luzern. She has been a member of USI Council since 2016 and she has been its President since December 2016.
Rector of the Università della Svizzera italiana
Graduated in 1981 from the Liceo Cantonale (scientific lyceum) in Lugano, and continued his studies at the University of Geneva where he obtained a degree in mathematics in 1985 and, in 1987, a Ph.D. in mathematics. From 1985 to 1990, he was an assistant at the same university, before moving to Harvard University where he was Benjamin Peirce Assistant Professor from 1990 to 1993. In 1993, he was appointed Full professor of mathematics at the University of Bordeaux, where he held several executive positions at the level of institute, faculty, commissions, programmes, doctoral committees and international scientific projects. Prof. Erez was time and again a Board member of the University of Bordeaux 1, and was also vice-president of the university from 2005 to 2008. Prof. Erez is the author of numerous quality scientific publications and has regularly organized international activities in his subject field. He has great experience in the coordination of joint international projects in higher education. As of September 1st, 2016, Prof. Boas Erez is Rector of the Università della Svizzera italiana.
Dean of the Faculty of Economics
Patrick Gagliardini (1974) is Full Professor of Econometrics at USI Faculty of Economics. He studied at the ETH Zurich where he graduated in Physics in 1998. In January 2003, he received a PhD from USI Faculty of Economics for a thesis in Econometrics. In 2003, he was visiting fellow at the Laboratoire de Finance-Assurance of CREST (Paris) with a SNSF research grant. Between 2004 and 2006, he held an assistant professor position at the Faculty of Economics of the University of St. Gallen. From 2008 to 2012, he was Junior Chair of the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI). He is the Dean of the Faculty of Economics.
President of the Fondazione per le Facoltà di Lugano dell’USI
Alfredo Gysi (1948) earned his PhD in Mathematics at the Università degli Studi, Milan. He was President of the General Management (1994-2011) and President of the Board of Directors (2012-2015) of former BSI (now EFG International Group). From 2011 to 2016, he was member of the Council of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). He is President of the Fondazione per le Facoltà di Lugano dell’Università della Svizzera italiana (Board of Trustees for the Faculties of Lugano of USI).
Dean of the Faculty of Informatics
Kai Hormann (1974) is Full Professor at USI Faculty of Informatics. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Erlangen in 2002 and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow researcher at Caltech in Pasadena and the CNR in Pisa, before joining Clausthal University of Technology as an Assistant Professor in 2004. During the winter term 2007/2008 he visited Freie Universität Berlin as a BMS substitute professor and came to Lugano as an Associate Professor in 2009. He is Dean of the Faculty of Informatics.
Former Rector of the University of Basel and former President of the Rectors' Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities)
Antonio Loprieno (1955) is Professor of Egyptology and History of the Institutions at the University of Basel, where he had been Rector from 2006 to 2015. He studied at the University of Turin where he earned his PhD in 1977. Before joining the University of Basel in 2000, he was Associate Professor at the University of Perugia (1984-1989) and at the University of California Los Angeles – UCLA (1989-2000), where he led the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He was also guest lecturer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes of Paris and at the University of Heidelberg. In 2006, he was awarded the Honoris Causa by the University of Strasbourg. He chaired the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities) from 2008 to 2015. Among other responsibilities, he is President of the Swiss Study Foundation and member of the Council of the University of Zurich.
Former Vice-president of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
Giorgio Margaritondo (1946) is Full Professor of Applied Physics and Director of Continuing Education at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where he had been Director of the Department of Physics from 2000 to 2001, Associate Dean of the School of Basic Sciences from 2001 to 2004 and Vice-president of Academic Affairs from 2004 to 2010. After graduating in Physics at the University of Rome in 1969, he worked as researcher at the National Research Council in Rome (1969-1978) and at Bell Laboratories in the United States (1975-1977). Before joining EPFL in 1990 he was Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison (1978-1990). To name a few, he is member of the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) and of the Institute of Physics (IOP, London). He chairs the initiative of the European Commission “Integrating activity on synchrotron and free electron laser science”.
President of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)
Alberto Petruzzella (1967) graduated in Law from the University of Lausanne. In 2005, he earned a PSD Diploma (Programme Supérieur pour Dirigeants) at the Institut européen d'administration des affaires (INSEAD). He worked for Credit Suisse from 1998 to 2016, and was in charge of the Ticino region. To name a few, he is President of the Council of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), President of the Association of Ticino's Bankers (ABT), board member of the Association of Ticino’s Industries (AITI) and member of the Founding Committee of the Centre for Banking Studies in Vezia. He has been member of USI Council since December 2016.
Former Rector of the University of Lausanne, former President of the Rectors' Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities) and former President of the European Universities Association (EUA)
Jean-Marc Rapp is Professor Emeritus of Company Law and Contract Law at the University of Lausanne, where he had been Rector from 1999 to 2006. He is President of the Swiss Accreditation Council and President of Euresearch. He earned his law degree and PhD at the University of Lausanne and later attended the Berkley University of California. He was Assistant at the University of Lausanne and worked as lawyer. In 1988, he returned to the University of Lausanne as an Associate Professor, and later became Full Professor and led the Centre of Company Law (CECIDAC). From 2002 to 2006 he was President of the Rectors' Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities) and from 2009 to 2012 President of the European Universities Association (EUA).
Professor at the University of Zurich
Christoph Riedweg (1957) is Full Professor of Greek Classical Philology at the University of Zurich. He graduated in Classical Philology and Musicology in 1982 from the University of Zurich, where he also worked as Assistant Professor at the Klassisch-Philologisches Seminar (1983-1988, 1991-1993), earning his PhD (1987) and carrying out research at the University of Oxford, the Catholic University of Lovanio and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (1988-1991). After teaching as a Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (1993-1996), he returned to the University of Zurich were he got tenure in 1996. He was Director of the Swiss Institute of Rome from March 2005 to January 2013.
Photograph by Marc Latzel, © UZH
Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences
Andrea Rocci (1970) is Full Professor at USI Faculty of Communication Sciences and Director of the Master in Financial Communication. He graduated in Modern Literature with specialisation in Social Communication from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (1995). He then earned a Higher Education Degree in Linguistics at the University of Geneva (1999) and a PhD in Linguistics at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (2001). In 2005, he won the position of Assistant Professor at USI and became Associate Professor in 2011 and Full Professor in 2015. He is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences.
Director of the Department of Culture and Higher Education DECS
Raffaella Castagnola Rossini (1960) has been the Head of the Higher Education Office of Canton Ticino since April 2016. She graduated in Literature from the University of Florence and earned her PhD in Literature at the University of Bologna. She was a high school and junior high school Professor at the Swiss School of Rome (1988-1991) and assistant, maître-assistante and Lecturer at the University of Geneva (1991-2003). After earning the venia legendi at the University of Zurich in 2003, she was Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Lausanne (2003-2010). In 2013, she got tenured (Titularprofessorin) at the University of Zurich. She taught as guest Lecturer at the University of San Gallen and at USI and she was head of the Cultural Services of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), of the culture section of the Corriere del Ticino and coordinator of Extra, a magazine about culture and performances. She is President of the Dante Alighieri Society of Lugano and member of several commissions and cultural associations. She participates in the Council sessions without voting rights.
Albino Zgraggen (1949) is USI Secretary General and Administrative Director of the Lugano Campus. He graduated in Modern and Contemporary History with a minor in Latin Language and Literature, from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Fribourg (1977). He was an History and Italian teacher at the cantonal junior high school in Viganello (1970-1974) and Italian and Economy teacher at the Scuola professionale commerciale di Viganello (commercial high school; 1975-1976). After earning a teaching degree for high school (1977), he was a professor at the Commercial Cantonal School (SCC), where he also had been Director from 1988 to 1996. He joined USI since the very beginning in 1996: at first as Director of the Faculty of Communication Sciences and Economics, then he has become Administrative Director of Lugano Campus (1999-2017) and General Secretary of the University (1999-). He participates in the University Council sessions without voting rights.