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Royal honour for former Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker

Carel Stolker, former Rector Magnificus and President of the Executive Board of Leiden University, has been made an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau for his services to the city and University. Mayor Henri Lenferink awarded the royal honour to Stolker at the University’s Dies Natalis on 8 February 2021.

Leiden University has prospered under Stolker’s leadership. It has increased its focus on collaboration, with Stolker sometimes having a hand in the topics that were addressed, as was the case with the University’s Artificial Intelligence programme. Stolker had a soft spot for the students, particularly in these times of coronavirus, and once this became possible again, often met up with them, both formally and informally. And the feeling was mutual. Below are the highlights from the citation for the royal honour.

Tweets about collaboration

Stolker is a fervent believer in freedom of expression and open debate at the University. He has been a tireless advocate for equal opportunities for women in the academic world, and a leading voice of the Dutch universities on Twitter, where he had over 7,000 followers at the time of his retirement. The Centre for Science and Technology Studies at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, which specialises in data on science, analysed Stolker’s tweets and concluded that collaboration was the topic that he tweeted most about. His everlasting love for Leiden also shone through on his social media. He felt the University should be more involved with the city, and proceeded to increase its visibility at the celebration of the Relief of Leiden, with a float in the parade, for instance.

Carel Stolker is henceforth Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau

University as partner

Stolker’s strong ties with the Municipality of Leiden stemmed from the conviction that the city and University could and should not be without each other. At a regional level, Stolker was involved in LDE Universities, a strategic alliance with Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the two medical centres. He was the driving force behind various LDE initiatives relating to teaching and research, and was a strong supporter of the Leiden Bio Science Park. Stolker was also important for the collaboration between Leiden University, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, the LUMC, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Municipality of Leiden in the Leiden City of Knowledge partnership. And last but least, Stolker was on the team that submitted the proposal that has won Leiden the title of European City of Science 2022, which will bring thousands of scientists to the city. Leiden is the first Dutch city to bear this title.

Source of inspiration

Stolker has made an extraordinary contribution, not only to Leiden University and the law faculty where his roots lie, but also to academia in general. He has inspired colleagues in the Netherlands and far beyond, and is a university administrator of the very-highest calibre, an administrator who has been able to link a clear vision on academia with great personal warmth and commitment.

Source: Municipality of Leiden press release
Photos: Monique Shaw

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