“It was so much fun in the early 70s, when the first steps towards becoming a university were taken. It was all very small, and we all knew each other,” Viveka Adelswärd, nowadays professor emerita in conversation research, recalls.
She arrived at Linköping as a student in Nordic languages. Back then, there were only technology students in the windswept field at Valla. The language students were located in town.
Following her studies, she taught at the institution of higher education that would soon become Linköping University, and after some time became a doctoral student at Tema K, studying human communication from a cross-disciplinary perspective. With great enthusiasm, she paints a vivid picture of her time there. Doctoral students in various subjects often got together and teachers were never far away.
“That was the main advantage of being such a mixed group. Discussions were lively and genuine.”
Looking to recreate a cross-disciplinary environment
The first getaway was organised as a trial run in the summer of 2022.Her experiences from a cross-disciplinary environment have now inspired her to donate SEK four million to Linköping University. The money is to be used for annual communication-themed getaways, where doctoral students in humanities and social sciences can meet to discuss their research and how it can matter to others. Experienced researchers, hopefully also from outside Sweden, are to be invited to give talks.
“I get the impression that many doctoral students in subjects dear to me are quite lonely,” says Viveka Adelswärd, who hopes that these getaways will serve to change this.
The first four-day research communication getaway for doctoral students, organised as a trial run in the summer of 2022, was successful. The idea now is that it will be organised once a year for the coming five years, or as long as the money lasts.
The Anniversary Foundation aims high
Viveka Adelswärd has chosen to donate through the Linköping University Anniversary Foundation, which is tasked with supporting the university’s core activities. Donors can direct funds to special purposes, but the Foundation takes care of all the practical details, something that she is happy with.
“I want to feel free. I want to be happy that things are going well, but I don’t want to interfere. I may not have the strength to do so, and I don’t want to cast a shadow over the group organising things.”
The Anniversary Foundation currently manages assets of around SEK 20 million in total, but the ambition is to grow, and, over time, reach SEK one billion.
Viveka Adelswärd thinks that more people who are willing and able to donate money should follow her example. She says that in the US, it is much more common for people who have been successful in life to give something back to society, and many donate to universities.
“If you have an idea, make sure to realise it. Can you think of anything more fun than helping others grow?”
Translation by Anneli Mosell