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LUC Celebrates 7th Dies Natalis

Leiden University College The Hague turns 7 today (29 September 2017). Lieke Schreel, educational director of LUC has been with the college from the start. She shares her thoughts on another year and birthday of the College.

September 29 will always be a special day for me. On September 29 one of my nephews was born and as his aunt it has been great to see him grow up from a cute little baby to the nearly two meters tall  young man he is now. To have been able to support him as he grew up, to laugh about his jokes, see his first steps, witness him finding his own place in this world, has been very rewarding indeed.

But September 29 is also the day LUC was ‘born’. On that day in 2009 the Board of Leiden University decided to establish a University College in The Hague. A year later to the day, LUC was officially opened and by now has grown from the small intimate college at Lange Voorhout with 107 students and about ten members of staff, to our modern and great college building at Anna van Buerenplein with 650 students and over 50 members of staff. It has been, and continues to be, amazing to be able to be part of LUC while it was growing up, while it has found its place in the higher education landscape, to see our alumni taking their first, and some even second, steps into the world.

This academic year, I expect at the Winter Graduation, LUC will for the first time have more alumni than enrolled students. It is so exciting to hear how they are doing; the masters and PhD programmes they are enrolled in, the NGO’s they work for, consultancy work that they do, volunteering, arts, music, politics, journalism, law, starting their own companies (including a wine bar on Aruba), teaching. Our alumni are out there, they are making a difference all over the world. It makes it all the more important to continue doing what we do, to keep improving where we can, even if that needs a lot of patience and perseverance, so we can help young people to achieve their goals in life. 

Today is September 29 and it is the first time in eight years that I am not in The Hague to celebrate LUC’s Dies Natalis with students and colleagues. I am also not with my nephew to celebrate his birthday. I will be at Leuphana University giving workshops to colleagues from other universities in Europe who are considering or already in process of setting up a Liberal Arts & Sciences programme. What a wonderful way to celebrate LUC’s birthday by sharing our experiences and challenges with those who are inspired by what we do. Be sure I will raise a glass to LUC in Germany! 

Tomorrow, when I travel back to the Netherlands, my nephew will pick me up from the station, in a car, which he will drive (I am still struggling with the fact that he has a driver’s license!). As his aunt I think I am entitled to say ‘I can’t believe how quickly he has grown up!’ But also that I am so proud of him and how much I look forward to seeing where he goes next. 

On Monday, when I come back to LUC, I think I am entitled to say ‘I can’t believe how quickly it has grown up!’ And again, I will feel very proud, thanking all colleagues and students who over the past seven years have contributed to what LUC is today.

Happy birthday LUC! May you continue to grow up, I look forward to see where the future will take you.

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