USI celebrates the 25th Dies academicus

Institutional Communication Service

The 25th Dies academicus ceremony of Università della Svizzera italiana was held on Saturday, May 8, 2021. To celebrate the milestone, the University's annual celebration took place from multiple locations: the heart of the ceremony was Lugano, with live broadcasts from Bellinzona, Mendrisio, Locarno and Airolo, various locations in Souther Switzerland where USI's activities are conducted. "We wanted to celebrate throughout the Canton, from North to South" - explains Rector Boas Erez - "to commemorate our silver jubilee with the territory that hosts and supports us, as shown in the words of mayors and municipalities who spoke live during the event". Special guests from the Lugano campus Aula Magna were Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who spoke about the relationship between science and diplomacy, and the President of the Ticino State Council Manuele Bertoli.

The President of USI Council, Monica Duca Widmer, opened the ceremony by thanking for the support and trust shown to the University: "Culture is not a luxury: knowledge and research are the drivers for the growth of countries. Allocating resources to knowledge, therefore, means investing in the future. Politicians and society have shown that they are open to acknowledging the importance and value of the work carried out. Thanks to their support, it was possible to open the new East Campus and lay the foundations for future development. We sincerely thank them for the trust they have placed in our University!".

In his speech, Rector Boas Erez presented the new Charta of USI, a document that brings together and expresses the University's fundamental principles and aims to become a point of reference for all members of the community in their daily task of bringing to life their actions and reflections. He then presented the University's first Sustainability and Environmental Impact Report: "USI is aware of its responsibility towards present-day society and in building the society of tomorrow" - underlined the Rector - "for this reason, it has been decided to commit to sustainable development". Lastly, Prof. Erez presented a new scholarship, inspired by Arnoldo Bettelini (1876-1970), forest engineer, scholar and philanthropist from Ticino who, at the beginning of the 20th century, was one of the most ardent supporters of the need to create a university south of the Alps.

Afterwards, the traditional honours were conferred. Five honorary doctorates were awarded to underline the importance of the 25th anniversary - to Alberto KyleDavid ChaumFabiola GianottiLino Guzzella and Denise Scott Brown - one for each of USI's Faculties (more information in the press kit). For the first time, the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching was conferred on a member of the office services. Dr Stefano Tardini, head of the eLab, received the award from the Ticino manager of Credit Suisse, Dr Marzio Grassi, for the vital support offered by his staff in the transition to online and blended learning at USI during the pandemic, which made it possible to continue all training activities without any interruption, with high levels of quality and satisfaction.

The ceremony was complemented by several live feeds that highlighted USI's relationship with the territory. In Airolo, the Pro-rector Luca Gambardella talked with the outgoing Mayor Franco Pedrini and the Interim Mayor Oscar Wolfisberg. In Mendrisio, the Director of the Academy Riccardo Blumer conversed with Mayor Samuele Cavadini. In Bellinzona the Pro-rector Lorenzo Cantoni spoke with the Mayor Mario Branda. In Locarno, the Pro-rector Patrick Gagliardini listened to the words of the Town Council member Nancy Lunghi. Last, Mayor Marco Borradori spoke from the Lugano campus Aula Magna.

During the ceremony, much attention was paid to the projects of young researchers, to the alumni - who sent their best wishes for a 'happy birthday' to their Alma Mater - and to moments of celebration thanks to a unique tale and a special wish (more information in the press kit).

 You can review the entire ceremony online by going to


#USI25 #facciamoconoscenza #USIsU #DiesAcademicus #USIDies25

RSI La 1report on 'Il Quotidiano', 8.5.2021 (in Italian)