UD's honorary citizen Rudolf Schuster turns 90

Rudolf Schuster, former President of the Slovak Republic, celebrates his 90th birthday on 4 January. The politician, who played a key role in deepening Slovak-Hungarian relations, was awarded the Civis Honoris Causa award, one of the most prestigious honours of the University of Debrecen in 2016.

The Senate of the University of Debrecen decided at its meeting on 30 June 2016 to confer the Civis Honoris Causa title on Rudolf Schuster. In his nomination Zoltán Szilvássy, Rector of the University, emphasised that the former Slovakian President, Mayor of Kosice, who spoke several languages, had played a significant role in promoting Slovak-Hungarian cooperation and in the unification of the peoples of the Carpathian Basin.
Rudolf Schuster received one of the most prestigious awards of the University of Debrecen, the title of Civis Honoris Causa - Honorary Citizen of the University of Debrecen - at the opening of this academic year in September.

- I will remember the solemn and intimate moments I spent with you in the intimate moments of my life and I promise to do my utmost to enhance the reputation of your prestigious university as long as I can. Your alma mater is my alma mater from today onwards", said the new honorary citizen of the University in his thankyou speech.

Zoltán Szilvássy, Rector of the University, recalled that relations had been revitalised that year. On the one hand, cooperation with Ingrid Schusterova, the daughter of the Slovakian statesman and professor of paediatrics, was initiated in connection with research into a gastrointestinal peptide, for example, and a gastrointestinal peptide was identified which plays a role in the development of metabolic diseases and obesity in young children. She has also been involved in the development of the paediatric cardiology content of the paediatric graduate training programme as Associate Professor at the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescents at the Jozef Safarik University of Kosice.
In recogniton of her teaching and research activities, the institution awarded Ingrid Schusterova the title of Honorary University Professor in 2017.

At the invitation of Rudolf Schuster, a university delegation travelled to Kassia. Speaking about the visit, Chancellor Zoltán Bács said that they spent an unforgettable day in Kassia and its surroundings on 2 June 2016, at Rudolf Schuster's parents' house and on the hilltop of Derna.
He spent the whole day telling personal stories and greeting us with the immediacy of an old friend, and at the end of the day he presented us with his own books Hlavná and New York, New York, richly illustrated with pictures," recalled Zoltán Bács.
Zoltán Szilvássy said that it was a fantastic experience to see the extraordinary sympathy with which the locals turned to Rudolf Schuster, who presented the common Hungarian-Slovak memories as a citizen of the world, found common ground with all segments of society, established a living link between Slovaks and Hungarians, activated the intellectuals, and fostered a deep belief in the solidarity of the peoples of Central Europe.

- Sometimes you remember certain days. We mark birthdays, our parents, our children, our closest friends, and of course our own. There are the holidays, and then there are a few - very few - days that stand out from the rest for some reason, with a special atmosphere, or rather a special glow, sometimes with an impact on the rest of their lives. 2 June 2016 was one such day. A pleasantly warm, early summer day, with intermittent rain, and some encouragingly filtered, golden sunshine. Chancellor Rudolf Schuster and I were finally able to take advantage of his invitation to visit him in Kassa in the spirit of friendship. That day I learned more from him about friendship between peoples and people than I had learned in my whole life. Ii was in Kassa where he showed us, like the most knowledgeable guide, the monuments from the time of Matthias, and made us see with unforgettable power how priceless Central Europe is.
We spoke in every language, Slovak, Hungarian, German, Russian, French, as if we were in the capital of a friendly country that had been organised on the foundations of the former Habsburg monarchy, forgetting the two world wars we had lost. We were walking along the main street of Kassa, and in the meantime people from the streets further away were running up to shake his hand. We talked about many things that day, which have since had tangible results, but most of all a corridor opened up in our souls, opening an unplanned pathway to a nobler sense of life in Central Europe, based on friendship. A few weeks later, Rudolf Schuster, artist, politician, writer, national leader, was made an honorary citizen of the University of Debrecen at the September opening of the University of Debrecen, where he received the Civis Honoris Causa award. But, above all, he is our friend. God bless you with long life! With us! - said Rector Zoltán Szilvássy, who together with Chancellor Zoltán Bács conveyed his congratulations to Rudolf Schuster, Honorary Citizen of UD.

Press Centre