NEWS | inauguration of the academic year

Mattarella, Anelli and Delpini inaugurate the academic year

15 aprile 2021

Mattarella, Anelli and Delpini inaugurate the academic year

Condividi su:

«We are in a deserted lecture hall, forced to protect ourselves, but we have no reason to feel alone, because these spaces are filled with the participation and affection of those who follow us from a distance and with the intellectual and moral legacy of all those who have made this place alive throughout the University's history». With these words the Rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Franco Anelli, began his speech on the occasion of the inauguration of the academic year 2020/2021, thus officially opening the celebrations for the 100th year of the University's foundation. The ceremony, which was streamed live online on the University's website and on the institutional social channels @Unicatt, was held on Tuesday 13 April in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella who, connected from the Quirinale Palace, attended the event and greeted the academic community, thanking them for the invitation.

In the background there were the unusual circumstances caused by the pandemic, «which obviously cannot be ignored», said Rector Anelli, and which «require us to reflect on them in a contingency and historical perspective». President Mattarella also referred to the particular situation we are going through, which «strongly conditions meetings», but which «allows us to maintain unchanged the meaning and all the value of this extraordinary moment for Università Cattolica». In fact, the President of the Republic continued, «one hundred years are a very important anniversary, not because of the long time that has passed, but because of the excellent results achieved during that time».

Since its foundation, also thanks to the will of great figures such as Giuseppe Toniolo, Father Agostino Gemelli, Armida Barelli, Lodovico Necchi, Monsignor Francesco Olgiati, and Ernesto Lombardo, «the contribution that Univerisità Cattolica has givenand is still giving to Italy, for its life and its growth, has been of great importance and has been expressed in the many moments that our country has gone through», the President of the Republic underlined.

After all, «this is why universities exist», added Rector Anelli, «to give young people a future through knowledge and thus ensure the continuity of a civilisation. And universities were born out of crises, so we should not be afraid of their ability to overcome them». This is demonstrated by the history of the University itself, which «has lived through the 20th century and all its upheavals, facing difficult times and contributing with passion to those of growth. It has risen from the rubble of war; it has participated in building the conscience of republican Italy, with an important presence of its own graduates, professors and lecturers in the Constituent Assembly and then in positions of political and institutional responsibility; it has experienced the renewal of the Second Vatican Council and the transformation of the universities following the youth protests; in short, it has accompanied the evolution of Italian society, always remaining a witness to its own values, steady in its transcendent reference, vigilant guardian of its own independence».

Thus, Prof. Anelli underlined the educational mission that has always distinguished the University, as confirmed by the more than 300,000 graduates sinceits foundation. «Providing educational opportunities - and offering them to everyone, as this University has always done by striving to support underprivileged students - means implementing Article 3 of the Constitution in its entirety, in both its paragraphs; that is, ensuring ‘equal social dignity’ not only in terms of the static rationality of normative treatment, but also by favouring the conditions for everyone's participation in social life». This is the reason why students «assign us a task, tacitly but clearly», Rector Anelli said, «that is to ensure that the university, even though it now masters technology, remains in the future a place where people meet and grow together. We owe answers to them, and to the young people who are currently attending school in their homes and who will soon be entering the universities' doors».

Therefore, the Rector explained, «honouring our past does not end with celebrating it or respecting traditions: we are asked - and we will do so - to demonstrate the same degree of audacity, passion and originality of thought that were necessary to conceive the very idea of this University and then to realise it». Because «this first century is not a thing of the past: it is a perpetually active ‘factory’, like an ancient cathedral, which we hand over to all those who will write the next pages of the University's life».

In his greeting as President of the Giuseppe Toniolo Institute, the founding body of the University, the Archbishop of Milan, Monsignor Mario Delpini, dwelt on the «impressive evolution» of Università Cattolica in these one hundred years of history, also suggesting that «it is important that it is restless». An expression that «indicates the typical attitude of the Christian who is a citizen of the world and therefore fits in with sympathy and efficiency in ordinary life, but at the same time is a pilgrim on earth and has judgement criteria that refer to a higher wisdom and a coherent lifestyle».

The term 'restlessness' was taken up again by President Mattarella in his speech: «This restlessness, this condition of feeling like a citizen of the world, but at the same time a pilgrim within it, is in fact common to all, whatever the convictions professed». It «basically reflects that sense of incompleteness that accompanies the human condition», and that «constantly leads those who feel this sense and this urge to think beyond, to constantly seek new experiences and new knowledge» A sense of dissatisfaction that is actually at the basis of every scientific research effort and is the character «that makes universities attractive and their action in our country valuable», an action that is fundamental for the present and the future. Thus, recalling the words of Father Gemelli - whose «vision and great and unstoppable power of achievement» was praised by President Sergio Mattarella - it is necessary to give «credit to young people, to those young people who, in the succession of generations, always keep a university young, no matter how old it is».


Katia Biondi

Katia Biondi

Condividi su:


Scegli che cosa ti interessa
e resta aggiornato