Professor Müller Thurgau Prize 2021 awarded to Dr. Rolf Bernhardt


Professor Müller Thurgau Prize 2021 awarded to Dr. Rolf Bernhardt

Dr. Rolf Bernhardt (in the center) with Prof. Dr. Otmar Löhnertz (l.) and VEG President Robert Lönarz (r.)

The prize is jointly awarded by Hochschule Geisenheim University and the Geisenheim Alumni Association e.V. (VEG) to honor Dr. Rolf Bernhardt’s outstanding commitment to promote the university and its predecessor institution.

On October 31, 2021, Dr. Rolf Bernhardt, former member of the University Council and board member of the former Geisenheim Research Institute was presented with this year’s Professor Müller Thurgau Prize. The panel highlighted Bernhardt’s outstanding role in the University Council during the founding period of Hochschule Geisenheim University, where he set the course for the university’s future growth. Until his retirement from the state service in 2018, the legal expert was head of department at the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and the Arts, responsible for universities and research.

“Dr. Bernhardt played a pivotal role during the university’s founding period, and we want to recognize and honor his outstanding contributions with this prize. At the time, he promoted the university’s commitment to applied research – helping the institution to strike a balance between fundamental and applied research. Hochschule Geisenheim University still benefits from his vast experience in the field of university development, and has recently asked him to provide expert advice on the development of a new strategic concept. His experience has been and continues to be a great asset for our institution”, explains Prof. Dr. Otmar Löhnertz, long-standing Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs and former Dean of Hochschule Geisenheim University and its predecessor institution, in his laudatory speech on board of the MS Rhein Star. As a member of the Geisenheim Alumni Association, Dr. Bernhardt will continue to be a dedicated partner of Hochschule Geisenheim University.

“The close and long-lasting relations between students, staff members, alumni, sponsors and friends of the university are very special and a great asset of Geisenheim as an excellent site for teaching and research. That’s why we are very pleased to welcome eight winners of the Müller Thurgau Prize, who have joined our award ceremony today”, says Robert Lönarz, President of the Geisenheim Alumni Association e.V., which organized and hosted the event.

The Müller Thurgau Prize was launched in 1972 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to maintain and promote excellence in research and teaching and to advocate for students’ interests at Hochschule Geisenheim University and its predecessor institutions. The prize takes its name from  Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hermann Müller from the Swiss canton Thurgau whose grape variety gained him worldwide reputation. Professor Müller also spent many years in Geisenheim working as a botanist, biologist, plant pathologist, grapevine breeder and teacher. The trophy for this year’s winner was once again sponsored by the German glass manufacturer Zwiesel Kristallglass.


Prof. Dr. Otmar Löhnertz who delivered the laudatory speech
Prize winner Dr. Rolf Bernhardt
VEG President Robert Lönarz presents Dr. Bernhardt with the VEG welcome kit.
Recipients of the Müller Thurgau Prize from previous years (from left to right): Ferdinand Staab, Norbert Weber, Heinz Trogus, Prof. Dr. Ernst Rühl, Prof. Wolfgang Prollius, Dr. Franz Josef Jung, Dr. Rolf Bernhardt, Ingmar Jung, MdB, und Paul Meuer.