EPFL kicks off a year of celebration

© Alain Herzog / EPFL 2019

© Alain Herzog / EPFL 2019

Just over fifty years ago, on 1 January 1969, the Ecole polytechnique de l'Université de Lausanne (EPUL) became a Swiss federal institute of technology under the name EPFL. In his New Year’s address this week, President Martin Vetterli provided a preview of some of the events planned for this jubilee celebration.

This past Wednesday, the SwissTech Convention Center auditorium was the site of the now-traditional information session with EPFL’s Senior Management, which was attended by several hundred staff and students.

The gathering had a celebratory air about it this year. That’s because 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the school’s transformation into a federal institute of technology. Prior to that, the school was part of the University of Lausanne and funded by the Canton of Vaud.

Professor Vetterli, after touching on EPFL’s key milestones over the past half century, presented the school’s strategy for the coming years. The focus will be on experiential learning, open science, and research on such topics as the energy transition, neurotechnologies and digital trust. “There is no nobler calling than to work for a university like ours,” he said, “one that is devoted to the future of our young people and society.”

Celebrations throughout the year

Professor Vetterli also took the opportunity to get the EPFL community involved in the many 50th anniversary events this year, and gave a rundown of some of the key items on the school’s calendar (check out the webpage for more information).

The festivities will officially get under way on 8 March, with a special edition of International Women’s Day. Then, on 18 March, the new Place Cosandey, at the heart of the campus, will be inaugurated; it was named after EPFL’s first president, Maurice Cosandey, who passed away in December at the age of 100. In May, as part of Education Day, a series of scientific and pedagogical round-tables on the future of education will be held.

Most of the public events are scheduled for September. These include the research days run by various faculties from 10 to 14 September, followed by an open doors weekend on 14 and 15 September when some 30,000 visitors are expected.

Also planned for this fall are an Open Science day (18 October), a coming home event for EPFL alumni (9 November), an Industry Day (19 November) and an Investors Day (20 November).

There will be plenty of ways to celebrate EPFL’s 50th anniversary in 2019! Be sure to check the page regularly for updated information.