The 20th Dies Academicus
Institutional Communication Service
23 April 2016
The ceremony of the 20th Dies Academicus has been the perfect chance for President Piero Martinoli to trace two possible future visions of USI’s long-term development.
The first is to turn USI into a federal university such as the ETH Zurich and EPFL, enriched with humanities and cultural subjects. According to Martinoli’s predictions, whose term will end in the end of the year, in the future USI will have to become an engine for our region’s development.
The second vision is about the creation of a Faculty of Humanities and is somewhat linked to the first. “A bold act while keeping both feet to the ground” – said Martinoli – “investing in the futility of the so-called humanae litterae and in the value of humanism constitute the deepest form of criticism and reflection on the essence of complexity of human acts. There is an increasing demand of these kind of skills not only in the sectors that deal mostly with the humanities but also in the economic and industrial world”.
These two possible scenarios are deeply rooted in the identity and memory of the University, which was founded on sense of initiative, open-mindedness, love for the territory, international breadth and with the ambition of playing a crucial role in the relationship between the Mediterranean and Europe. More on the foundation and history of USI can be found on a special issue of the Magazine Square published for USI’s 20th anniversary (attached)
The ceremony opened with an official greeting by State Councilor Paolo Beltraminelli and a keynote by Sergio Ermotti, CEO of the UBS Group AG. Ermotti’s speech “Switzerland: back to the future” underlined the need for our country to keep focusing on its strengths (liberalism, pragmatism and natural industriousness). He also talked about how important it is to keep investing in education and guarantee a bilateral dialogue.
USI’s graduate and finance professor at Oxford University Saïd Business School Ilaria Piatti talked about Beliefs Heterogeneity and Asset Pricing. She tackled the issues of growth of consumption, inflation and interest rates.
Moving from economy to medicine, Md. Andrea Alimonti, Group Leader at the Institute of Oncology Research (soon to be affiliated to USI) gave a presentation of the research carried out in his laboratory Ageing cancer cells to treat cancer. The objective of Alimonti’s research has already earned him several awards (among which two European Research Grant in 2010 and 2015, and the Steiner Cancer Research Award in 2015).
During the conferral of awards, the Faculty of Economics assigned the Honorary Doctorate to Sir. Richard Blundell, professor at the University College London, “for his outstanding and pioneering contribution to micro econometrics and empirical economic analysis of the labor market, taxation and retirement funds”.
The Faculty of Communication Sciences assigned the Honorary Doctorate to David Lyon, professor at Queen’s University, Canada, “for his pioneering studies on information society and for his constant focus on the key issues of the contemporary sociological debate such as privacy, electronic surveillance and ethics of the digital age. Among his works, the book Liquid Surveillance written with sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and published in 2012.
Two new USI’s honorary members have been nominated: Elisabetta Pavesi “for her consistent and valuable contribution to scholarships and generous support to USI’s groundbreaking projects” offered through the Leonardo’s Foundation; and Sergio Mantegazza “for his generous support of the development of USI’s Computational Sciences” thorugh Metis Foundation Sergio Mantegazza.
Musical interludes during the Dies were performed by the Franco Ambrosetti Quartet (Franco Ambrosetti, trumpet; Tony Arco, drums; Roberto Tarenzi, keyboards; Mauro Battisti, double bass). Franco Ambrosetti performed without compensation.