05 October 2020

In a dignified and moving ceremony, Jan-Ingvar Jönsson has been installed as vice-chancellor at LiU. “I am taking over a university that is functioning extremely well”, he said in his speech, in which he also extended heartfelt thanks for the support he has received so far.

The highpoint of the ceremony when the cushion with the vice-chancellor’s chain of office is transferred, from the three presidents of the student unions: Beatrice Ronsten, LinTek, Filip Thuvander, Consensus and August Goldhahn, StuFF, onwards to the four academic representatives: Ulf Nilson, dean in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Fredrik Elinder, pro-dean in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Karin Axelsson, dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and finally to Jörgen Nissen, dean in educational sciences. To finally come to the retiring vice-chancellor who places the chain around the neck of Jan-Ingvar Jönsson.  Magnus Johansson
The ground floor of Studenthuset had been prepared for a feast and the light-green cushions set out in Lövverket, suitably separated such that the relatively few guests could sit at a safe distance and enjoy the ceremony. Chief Marshal Helena Iacobaeus welcomed the guests and acted as master of ceremonies with a gentle but firm hand, endowed for the day with a white glove.

Retiring Vice-Chancellor Helen Dannetun remembered her own installation in her speech, and quoted then University Chancellor Lars Haikola: “The post of vice-chancellor means – are you ready? – being head of the agency, company director, colleague, development manager, fundraiser, ambassador, negotiator, sounding board, symbol, team leader, student partner, intelligence analyst, strategist and tactician”. “And in addition”, continued Helen Dannetun, “we have a global pandemic, with the need to work remotely, use distance education, and master new digital tools.”


Helen Dannetun gives Jan-Ingvar Jönsson the ceremonial chain. Helen Dannetun places the vice-chancellor’s chain of office around Jan-Ingvar Jönsson’s neck. Photo credit Magnus Johansson“Leading a university with 32,000 students and 4,000 co-workers on four campuses is a broad, extensive, challenging and quite simply wonderful, wonderful task”, she said. And she was quick to point out that the post of vice-chancellor is not something you do alone:
“There is support from committed students, excellent teachers and researchers, and professional administrative support.”

That the essential nature of the post of vice-chancellor is about collaboration is also emphasised by the highpoint of the ceremony itself when the cushion with the vice-chancellor’s chain is passed from the three presidents of the student unions, via the four academic representatives, to come finally to the retiring vice-chancellor who, to the sound of fanfare, takes the chain and places around the neck of her successor, Jan-Ingvar Jönsson.

Thus is a new vice-chancellor installed and welcomed to office.

Innovation is our only tradition

“I am taking over a university that is functioning extremely well, and I have Helen to thank for that. And I’m already deeply impressed by the commitment, the expertise and wealth of ideas that I have encountered in my meetings with the student unions. You make my job as vice-chancellor easy”, he said.

Jan-Ingvar Jönsson knows that LiU cannot rest on its laurels: it must continue to stand for innovation and have its eye firmly fixed on the future.

“Linköping University shall contribute to society’s development, not simply stand by the side and watch.”

Some the examples he mentioned are a deeper collaboration with strategic partners, the establishment of more interdisciplinary collaboration, and a common striving to discover the occupations and areas of development of the future. More EU funds and greater international exchange are also on Jan-Ingvar Jönsson’s list, as is a continued focus on education and satisfied students.

LiU:s newly installed vice chancellor giving his speech.Jan-Ingvar Jönsson giving his installation speech. Photo credit Magnus Johansson“The novel coronavirus still has us in its grip, but it has brought with it new digital opportunities that we must continue to develop. We shall take our university to new pedagogic heights, and our teachers will be those who drive that development”, he said.
He also gave two promises: to set up an external council with people from municipalities and the commercial world who can contribute to finding directions and setting priorities, and to establish an ethical council to focus on several of the questions that the increasing rate of digitalisation brings.

“I will be responsible for the road we choose, in dialogue with those working here. I am grateful for the deep commitment I have seen from the management group and from a cadre of university services that gives a feeling that all is under control”, Jan-Ingvar Jönsson concluded.

Musicians from the Linköping University Symphony Orchestra rounded off the ceremony itself, which was followed by socialising, dinner and even more speeches. Keeping proper distance, of course.

Translated by George Farrants


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