The annual celebration is held on the last Friday in November and commemorates the opening of the University on 4 April 1460 at the Basel Minster.
The Dies speech is the focal point of the celebration at St. Martin’s Church. It is held by the University’s President and addresses a topic related to academia or university policy. During the Dies Academicus, the faculties award honorary doctorate degrees to deserving individuals from academia and society. In addition, early career researchers are honored for their achievements through awards sponsored by companies, foundations or associations.
Ceremony at St. Martin’s Church
The celebration adheres to a traditional procedure. Professors and distinguished guests first convene at the museum on Augustinergasse. Together with the University Council, the procession then moves into the church, followed by students in colored garb.
On this academic holiday, the professors traditionally wear gown and beret. This dress is in the style of the academic attire that Basel professors used to be required to wear in earlier times. Gown and beret are being worn for important celebrations since the inauguration of the Kollegienhaus (main building) of the university in 1939. The Academy of Music and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland accompany the festivities with music.
Banquet at the Basel Theater
The opening ceremony at St. Martin’s Church is followed by the more informal, but no less traditional, banquet in the Foyer of the Basel Theater. The entertainment at the banquet includes a toast given by the President, the riposte by the Master of the Academic Guild (Akademische Zunft) as well as an address given by a member of the University Council.
In addition to members of the university, the honorary doctors, and laureates, the celebration is attended by representatives from other universities, government agencies, guilds, political and economic figures, churches and media representatives. This dinner, hosted jointly by the President’s Board and the Academic Guild, demonstrates and renews the bond between the university and its supporters.
Presidential speeches available for download or as print edition
The President’s speeches are available for download (see download box). If you would like a printed version, you can order it free of charge. Please send us an email at email@example.com.
Dies academicus 2020
27 November 2020