The Senate of the University of Pécs conferred the Honoris Causa Doctor title upon Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, former president of the Republic of Poland on 8 December 2017. At the ceremonial senate meeting it was highlighted that he was the first European politician, who as an Eastern-Central European received a leading role in the united Europe, furthermore he is one of the first European statesmen, who have always supported the cooperation of Visegrad countries. Donald Tusk has made an effort to deepen and widen the range of Hungarian-Polish relations, he has been an active participant of the Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day celebrated annually since 2007.
In accordance with the requirements stipulated in the doctoral statutes of the University of Pécs the Senate of the University confers the degree of honorary doctor upon those persons from Hungary and abroad who have achieved outstanding results in their respective fields for several decades, who have gained international recognition; have maintained close links with the University of Pécs, who have rendered the university and the Hungarian sciences outstanding services, and the recognition of whose activities, by conferring upon them the honorary doctor title, boosts the prestige of the University of Pécs.
The Rector and the Senate of the University of Pécs conferred the honorary doctor title on Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council on Friday in the lately renewed atmospheric Halasy-Nagy József Aula. In the recommendation speech His Excellency was praised to be “a Polish politician and historian, whose national as well as European life-work is closely connected to Hungarian, regional and European history and is especially worthy to receive the honorary doctorate of the University of Pécs.”
József Bódis, rector of the university emphasized in his speech: “Today’s ceremony plays a distinguished role in the 650-year jubilee of our institution. I honestly believe and hope that by conferring the honorary doctor title on Donald Tusk, our university will be stronger, and together we can achieve our goal of building a higher educational institution of outstanding reputation.” – said the rector.
In his acceptance speech which was especially personal in tone, Donald Tusk drew attention to his views on being European. For him, it is a reason to be proud of, for he firmly believes in the future and goals of the European Union, not giving in to the trending euroscepticism. On the migration crisis he pointed out that we have to defend our borders, however at the same time we have to separate ourselves from racism and xenophobia. He called Pécs as well as his native city, Gdansk European microcosms with their unique history and culture. “Pécs is a metaphor for Europe. Because if we agree that the main landmarks of a European town are the Market Square, the Town Hall, the University, and the Cathedral, this town with the oldest Hungarian University, with five churches in its name, is worthy of being a metaphor for Europe many times over.” – said the president in his inaugural address.
Zsolt Páva, mayor of Pécs expressed his hopes that the Eastern-Central European states become more influential members of the European Union, driving it forward in the coming period. “The person of Donald Tusk bears serious potential in this process. Therefore one of the oldest founded universities of the continent and the city of Pécs is proud to have such a distinguished honorary at the local university doctor as the Polish president of the European Council.” – said the mayor.