The University of Gdańsk 

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Our Graduates are changing the world

Since it opened, almost 140,000 students have graduated from the University of Gdańsk. Among them, are outstanding figures in the world of science and scholarship, as well as people playing leadership roles in the cultural, social and political life of the country.

Among the graduates of the University of Gdańsk who enjoy national fame as scientists and scholars are people currently connected not only with the University of Gdańsk, but also with other universities and scientific/scholarly institutions. They include Professor Maciej Żylicz, Chairman of the Foundation for Polish Science and Head of the Department of Molecular Biology in the International Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Warsaw, Regular Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and a well-known researcher into the so-called proteins of thermal shock applied in, among other things, the search for new methods of combating cancer. Among the Corresponding Members of the Polish Academy of Sciences is a graduate of the University of Gdańsk, Professor Grzegorz Węgrzyn, the discoverer of a cure for the rare Sanfilippo disease, and Professor Ryszard Horodecki, a member of the University of Gdańsk’s scientific/scholarly staff and winner of the Foundation for Polish Science Award for Pure Sciences for his contribution to the creation of the foundations of Quantum Informatics. The first lady of Polish Biotechnology, Professor Anna Jadwiga Podhajska, was the initiator and co-creator of Poland’s renowned Inter-Collegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Medical Academy (currently Gdańsk Medical University).

Degrees from the University of Gdańsk are also held by well-known writers. These include Stefan Chwin, the author of prize-winning books, including the famous novel, “Hanemann”, the winner of many prestigious competitions and a juror for the Nike Literary Award. Paweł Huelle was a nominee for the Nike Literary Award and has written, among other works, “Weiser Dawidek”. Kazimierz Nowosielski has received many awards for his poetry. There is also a group of film directors among UG graduates, including the member of the European Film Council, Maciej Adamek, the creator of many outstanding theatrical productions, Krzysztof Babicki, the laureate of the Cannes Film Festival for “300 mil do nieba” [“300 miles to heaven”], Maciej Dejczer, and the winner of many awards, director and producer Krzysztof Grabowski. The young poet, Krzysztof Dąbrowski, a graduate of Polish Philology at the University of Gdańsk, has been acclaimed by critics as the great hope of Polish poetry. There are also many sports stars among UG graduates, including Monika Pyrek, silver medallist at the World Championships in Helsinki and Berlin and at the European Championships in Göteborg in the women’s pole vault and the Polish champion who has held the Polish record 69 times. Journalists among the graduates include Tomasz Wołek and Piotr Świąc. UG graduate Aneta Kręglicka won the Miss World title in 1989 and became the University of Gdańsk’s most beautiful ambassador.

Presidents of the Republic of Poland have also been associated with the University of Gdańsk: Aleksander Kwaśniewski was a student here, while Lech Wałęsa, who lives a few hundred metres from the Oliwa Campus, received the title of Doctor honoris causa from the University and is now the UG Rector’s adviser on the subject of globalisation. Lech Kaczyński, who died tragically in 2010, was a member of the academic staff at the University of Gdańsk, while his wife, the First Lady of the Republic of Poland, Maria Kaczyńska, was a graduate of the University. Jolanta Kwaśniewska is also a graduate of the University of Gdańsk.

Two Prime Ministers of the Republic of Poland, Donald Tusk and Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, are also among the graduates of the University of Gdańsk. Other high-ranking politicians include Anna Fotyga, formerly Head of the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland and former Foreign Minister, Maciej Łopiński, formerly Head of the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland in the years 2007-2010, and Sławomir Nowak, formerly Head of the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland in the years 2007-2009 and currently Secretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland.

Other graduates of the University of Gdańsk include Mayors of the City of Gdańsk – Tomasz Posadzki, Mayor from 1994 to 1998, and Marshals of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Piotr Ołowski and Tomasz Sowiński. Professor Jerzy Młynarczyk, President of Gdańska (1977-1981), taught for many years at the University of Gdańsk. Maciej Płażyński, Voivode of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Member of Parliament, Senator and Speaker of the Polish Parliament, was also a graduate. The Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, also a UG graduate, was one of the youngest Deputy Rectors for Student Affairs. The Mayor of the City of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, and the Mayor of the City of Sopot, Jacek Karnowski, both received their doctorates here. Other graduates include Professor Brunon Synak, for many years the Chairman of the Pomorskie Voivodeship Council, and Professor Józej Borzyszkowski, for many years the Chairman of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association and Deputy Voivode of the Gdańsk Voivodeship.

Among the graduates of the University of Gdańsk are the well-known economists and members of the Monetary Policy Council, Professor Dariusz Filar and Professor Anna Zielińska-Głębocka, who throughout their academic careers have been lecturers at the University, Professor Leszek Pawłowicz, Chairman of the Stock Exchange in Warsaw, and also Jacek Jezierski, Chairman of the Supreme Chamber of Control and Dr Wojciech Rafał Wiewiórowski, General Inspector for Personal Data Protection. Another UG graduate was Professor Jan Grajewski, a Judge in the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court in the years 1990-2000 and a member of the academic staff at the UG for many years. In 2008, Professor Krystyna Gawlikowska-Hueckel, from the Department of the Economics of European Integration of the UG Faculty of Economics, became a director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Many graduates and employees connected with the University of Gdańsk have been members of the Council of Ministers. Professor Robert Głębocki was Minister for National Education in the government of Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, while a graduate of Polish Philology, Wojciech Książek, was Deputy Minister in the same ministry. Another UG graduate, Marek Biernacki, was Minister for the Interior and Administration in the years 1999-2000. Adam Giersz was Minister for Sport and Tourism in Donald Tusk’s government. Mirosław Gronicki was Minister of Finance in the years 2004-2005, Janusz Kaczmarek was Minister for the Interior and Administration in 2007 and National Prosecutor between 2005 and 2007, Jan Kuligowski was Deputy Transport Minister from 1990 to 1991, Jarosław Sellin was Deputy Minister for Culture between 2005 and 2007, and Marek Zdrojewski was Communications Minister in the years 1997-1999. Other UG graduates are Przemysław Gosiewski, Deputy Prime Minister in Jarosław Kaczyński’s government, Aleksander Szczygło, Minster for National Defence in 2007 and Head of the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, and Arkadiusz Rybicki, Deputy Minister for Culture between 1999 and 2001. In 1980, Arkadiusz Rybicki wrote the famous 21 Solidarity postulates on a board outside the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk.

Among the graduates of the University of Gdańsk, there are also other parliamentarians and politicians fulfilling important functions – these include Dorota Arciszewska-Mielewczyk, Tadeusz Aziewicz, Jolanta Banach, Aleksander Hall, Jacek Kurski, Agnieszka Pomaska, Jacek Rybicki, Wiesław Walendziak, and Euro-MPs Tadeusz Cymański, Janusz Lewandowski and Joanna Senyszyn.

The group of UG graduates also includes the owners of companies, community workers, directors and chairmen of important institutions – in fact, too many to name them all. The group includes Adam Burkiewicz, owner of the biotechnological company A&A Biotechnology, Maciej Dobrzyniecki, a member of many bodies dealing with issues of entrepreneurship in Poland, President of the Polish Section of the European League for Economic Cooperation, Chancellor of the Gdańsk Lodge of the Business Centre Club and Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Spain, Adam Koperkiewicz, Director of the Museum of the History of the City of Gdańsk, Wojciech Rybowski, Chairman of the Gdańsk Management Foundation, Jan Szomburg, Chairman of the Board of the Gdańsk Institute for Market Economics, Ryszard Strzyżewicz, Chairman of the Board of the Port of Gdańsk, Michał Targowski, Director of the Zoological Gardens in Oliwa since 1991, Andrzej Stelmasiewicz, founder and Chairman of the Board of the Gdańsk company ASTE, social activist, aficionado of Gdańsk, propagator of “small homelands”, creator and coordinator of the programme entitled “Time of the Gdańsk Lions” and founder of the “Gdańsk Community” Foundation, and Elżbieta Zubrzycka, head of the well-known and much appreciated Gdańsk Psychological Publishing House.

Many graduates of the University of Gdańsk still maintain contacts with the University through activity in graduate associations, such as the Association of Graduates of the University of Gdańsk, which was established in 1999 on the initiative of graduates of the UG Faculty of Law and Administration, or the Association of Graduates of the Higher Maritime School, the Higher Economic School and the Faculties of Economics of the University of Gdańsk, whose traditions go back more than sixty years to February 1949 to the Association of Graduates of the Higher School of Maritime Trade in Sopot, founded by those who had graduated in 1948.

Last updated: 10.02.2011