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  • 5. Jan 2022

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The 60th anniversary of the Constituent Assembly of the Association of Higher Education Institutions in Maribor

This year we are marking 60 years since the establishment of the Association of Higher Education Institutions of Maribor, the predecessor of the University of Maribor. On 9 December 1961, the representatives of the Association of Higher Education Institutions had their first official meeting in the premises of the Narodni dom in Maribor (in that time Dom Jugoslovanske ljudske armade).

Ustanovna skupščina

Before that, a temporary board led by Tine Lah was operating in accordance with the adopted Act on the Establishment of the Association of Higher Education Institutions in Maribor of 23 May 1961. The Association was the predecessor of the second Slovene university, which was founded in Maribor 14 years later, in 1975. The Association was formed as part of the expansion of higher education institutions outside the well-established university centres in the former Yugoslavia. Vladimir Bračič, later the first Rector of the University of Maribor, was elected its first president and the architect Jaroslav Černigoj, Professor at Technical College, vice-president.

The following schools in Maribor joined the Association: School of Economics and Commerce, Technical College, College of Agriculture, College of Law, School of Dentistry and the Academy of Education.

The constituent assembly meeting of the Association on 9 December 1961 was started and greeted by the principal of the School of Economics and Commerce and the president of the temporary board of the Association Tine Lah, who was also the first to undertake the initiative to integrate colleges in Maribor.

Among others, the assembly was greeted by the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana, prof. dr. Jože Juhart, who sent regards of the Rector of the University of Ljubljana, prof. dr. Maks Šnuderl, and pointed out that “the University of Ljubljana is following the work of colleges and institutions with affection and with special affection the establishing of your association. Now, conditions for the establishment of a republic association of colleges in Maribor and Ljubljana are supposedly maturing. My wish is that the association will fulfil its mission. Its first great task is to help make Maribor a second university centre”. 

Upon the 20th anniversary of the beginnings of the University of Maribor, Tine Lah expressed his thoughts on those pioneer days:

“When I look back at the road we have left behind, I mostly cherish the time when we were facing the greatest dilemma due to the long and strong opposition to the promotion of our university. This was the time when we managed to do the most and best. This is a period of the so-called “Zaporozhians”, as we were called by France Venturini, when we repeatedly wrote letters requesting, criticising, begging and providing proof, as the Zaporozhians who wrote a letter to the Turkish Sultan”. 

As proud heirs, we express our deep gratitude to the pioneers “Zaporozhians” and all who continued their work and to this day ensured the development of our Alma mater mariboriensis, by being aware of the thought of the French historian Jules Michelet: “He who would confine his thought to present time will not understand present reality”. It is very important that we try to understand our time also in the light of past events, because the past and the future are always connected. Only this way we can better or correctly value individual actions and events as well as better understand visionaries who are often ahead of their time with their efforts and actions. 

Sources:

Bračič, V. (1971): Establishment of Higher Education Institutions in Maribor, Association of Higher Education Institutions in Maribor MCMLXI – MCMLXX1. Maribor 1971.

Lah, T. (1979): Thoughts upon the 20th Anniversary of the Beginnings of the University of Maribor; 20 Years of Higher Education, United into the University of Maribor. Maribor 1979.

Bračič, V. (1984): Contributions for the History of Higher Education in Maribor: Upon the 25th Anniversary of Higher Education in Maribor. Maribor: University of Maribor.


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