The Königliche Lehranstalt für Obst- und Weinbau (Royal Prussian Institute for Pomology and Viticulture) was established on October 19, 1872, and started off rather small with just six students. 150 years later, the institute celebrated this important milestone in an official ceremony with 200 guests. In his address, University President Prof. Dr. Hans Reiner Schultz highlighted the role of the institution in times of “enormous change”
“As part of teaching, research and knowledge transfer, we are simultaneously addressing the most important tasks and challenges of our time: climate change, resource consumption, loss of biodiversity, transformation of entire landscapes, development of sustainable, quality-oriented and safe production, processing and marketing systems, food security and many more”, says Schultz. By referring to the Geisenheim slogan "We create strategies for a sustainable and livable future", he emphasized that the institution wants to and will make a significant contribution to making the industries associated with the degree programs more sustainable and fit for the future.
“Hochschule Geisenheim University has an excellent international reputation in viticulture and enology. It is the first choice for future winegrowers across Germany. With its range of courses and research projects focusing on nature, landscape, horticulture, food and beverages, the university is an important player among the scientific community and an integral part of society,” explained Boris Rhein, Minister President of Hesse, and added: “Congratulations to 150 years of teaching and research. We are very proud to have you in our federal state – we are looking forward to the next 150 years.”
Ayse Asar, State Secretary of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and the Arts added: “Hochschule Geisenheim University has an attractive range of programs and an outstanding national and international reputation. The state government remains fully committed to the sustainable development of our universities in Hesse because science plays a crucial role in this context: After all, our universities and research institutions are the ones that create the ideas and innovations that we need to shape the future,” said Asar. “Hochschule Geisenheim University will continue to be an important player in viticulture and beverage technology – both nationally and internationally. With its sustainability concept, which closely integrates the topic into all areas of the university and puts it in the center of attention, Hochschule Geisenheim University is taking a major step forward. I would like to thank all those who drive Hochschule Geisenheim University forward with great commitment. For the future, I wish you every success in the development and implementation of innovative ideas. Congratulations on your 150th anniversary and congratulations on 150 years of top-class research in viticulture and enology.”
Christian Aßmann, mayor of the city of Geisenheim that celebrates its 1250th anniversary this year and has always been a close partner of the university, joined the well-wishers in a personal address along with Frank Kilian, head of the district authority. Alumna Julia Siller as well as Robert Lönarz, President of VEG – Geisenheim Alumni Association, praised the unique feeling of togetherness in their speeches and highlighted the role of the strong international network of more than 3,000 Geisenheim alumni.
Oliver Mathias, who is in charge of the city and university archives, took a little trip down memory lane and provided interesting facts and entertaining anecdotes about the history of the university. In contrast, Prof. Dr. Annette Reineke, Vice-President of Research, and Prof. Dr. Alexander von Birgelen, Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs, took a look into the future of teaching and research in Geisenheim. In this context, living labs will play a key role in which Geisenheim scientist operate in a real-life environment to develop strategies and tools in an industry-centered approach.
2023 will mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of Hochschule Geisenheim University as an independent and first university “of a new type”. At the same time, the next year will kick off the university’s efforts to step up the dialogue with industry partners and the community. In this context, various field trials and public experiments are planned, e.g. in agrophotovoltaics, soil cultivation, grapevine breeding and organic vegetable production. In addition, the university and its partners are actively involved in the planning of the Federal Horticulture Show (Bundesgartenschau) which will take place in Upper Middle Rhine Valley in 2029.
In conclusion, University President Hans Reiner Schultz, referred to the comprehensive campus construction projects. In view of the upcoming anniversary year, he hopes that the university will be able to celebrate on a larger scale with the entire network, once the four new buildings – Lecture Hall Building, Logistics Building, Beverage Technology Center, Food Safety Building – are completed.