A word from the Rector on the occasion of the University's Jubilee
A jubilee is a concrete number, so when talking about it, we often use numbers to illustrate our achievements. At the Silesian Medical University in Katowice, in the first year of teaching in the medical and medical-dental faculties, there were just over 200 students. Today, the University has nearly 11,000 students in 5 faculties and 18 medical specialties, honing their skills in 6 teaching hospitals and the Academic Center for Dentistry.
The 75th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to highlight the reputation of the University built by its predecessors - great authorities in the world of medicine - whose achievements and extraordinary personalities have left an indelible mark on our history. This special anniversary is also an opportunity to highlight the excellent work being done here and now by teachers and scientists who have tied their future to our University. It is impossible to mention all the outstanding specialists who, continuing and developing the work of their illustrious predecessors, have made and continue to make an impact on the development of the University. A broad, humanistic view of the human being and a holistic approach to the patient lie at the heart of the formation of new generations of medics who will serve the people of the region and all of Poland with their knowledge and experience.
At this point it is also necessary to mention the efforts of many administrative staff, employees of the dean's offices and the Rector's Office, their dedication, solid work, without which the Silesian Medical University could not function efficiently.
The birthday year will be full of many events and meetings. We want to emphasize the role of our University in the life of the region, actively participate in events related to the awarding of the title of European Capital of Science to Katowice. As part of the Consortium of seven public universities, we intend to proudly present the intellectual potential developed over the years and emphasize the invaluable role of the University in improving living conditions and undertaking various activities to serve the residents. In this, as a University with 75 years of experience, we have vast experience.
We have set ourselves many ambitious goals and challenges. Looking back with pride to the past, we look to the future of our University with great aspirations, with the inalienable goal of constantly opening new cognitive horizons. The pillar of these activities will be the excellent training of medical personnel in the broadest sense, and the search for innovative methods of diagnosis and therapy. The answer to these aspirations will undoubtedly be the launch of a medical faculty at the University's branch in Bielsko-Biała. I hope that this ambitious undertaking and, at the same time, extremely valuable initiative will open new pages in the development of the University, while meeting social needs.
One of the University's strategic goals is also to improve its teaching and treatment facilities. In October last year, the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases in Zabrze, a hospital with an established national and international reputation, was incorporated into the University's teaching hospitals. The SUM Clinical Research Support Center located at the Upper Silesian Medical Center of Prof. K. Gibinski SUM in Katowice has also initiated its activities. This unique project will increase accessibility to new, free experimental therapies and the latest treatments while maintaining the highest level of safety in clinical research.
An important step in the development of the University, I have no doubt, will be the construction of the Hospital - Center for Diseases of Civilization named after Professor Franciszek Kokot in Zabrze, thanks to which the dispersed clinical base will be integrated. Clinics that currently operate in different locations, some of them still in 19th-century infrastructure, will be seated in one place.
In view of the challenges that medicine constantly faces, and in response to current social needs, work is underway at the Upper Silesian Medical Center of Prof. K. Gibinski SUM in Katowice to create an Infectious Diseases Center. We have also made preparations for the establishment of the Silesian Children's Hematology and Oncology Center in Zabrze and the Pediatric and Oncology Physiotherapy Center in Katowice.
Every anniversary prompts reflection, primarily in terms of the progression of scientific, didactic or infrastructural achievements. However, at this point it is also worth reaching back to the sources, to the essence not only of the medical profession as seen from the university perspective, but to the role of the university as an institution shaping culture, society and, importantly, the identity and sovereignty of every person. These aspects take on special importance, because in the expansive daily life around us, the implementation of important current plans, we must not forget the fundamentals, which were clearly formulated by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers in "The Idea of the University", writing:
"The task of the university is the common search for truth by scholars and adepts," because "(...) science flows from honesty and at the same time produces it. Any truthfulness that remains outside the realm of scientific attitude and scientific thinking is impossible. For the scientific attitude is marked by a constant distinction between what I necessarily know and what I necessarily do not know."
The search for truth by the community - universitas magistorum et scholarium - is the deepest foundation of the university, defining its purpose and vocation, carried out in a spirit of selflessness, trust and freedom.
I hope that these inalienable values - truth and honesty - will be the inherent motto of our activities over the years to come.
Prof. Tomasz Szczepanski, MD, PhD, Medical Director
Rector of the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice