Students at today's opening ceremony at Molde city hall square. Foto: Arild J. Waagbø

Rector Kristoffersen: «Being privileged does not make you an elite»

Read Steinar Kristoffersens speech at today’s HiMolde opening ceremony at Molde city hall square, and see photos from the event.

Rector Steinar Kristoffersen (left) and prorector Jeanette Varpen Unhjem (in the back) getting ready backstage. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Rector’s speech:

«Fylkesmann, ordfører og rådmann, stortingsrepresentanter, øvrige gjester og ansatte, men fremfor alt, nye studenter ved Høgskolen i Molde.

Greetings to all international scholars and students.

It is my great pleasure today to welcome you all to a new semester, and for many of you your first, here in Molde and as students of Molde University College.

I think you will soon notice that Molde is a globally oriented city. We have benchmark businesses, trade and cultural events, that draw upon a long history of open borders and open minds. We trust you to contribute to this way of living and thinking.

The singer in local rock band Revolt entering the stage today. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Never underestimate the power of education.

We live in an era of unprecedented success. Since your parents were born, the gross domestic product of Norway has tripled. In South Korea, total production is 9 times higher.

In China, the number of people who have taken the step out of poverty, is almost 100 times the total population of Norway.

Gerd Marit Langøy, director of Molde University College, was hosting the opening ceremony. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

There are fewer casualties in war and civil conflicts and less hunger. Fewer people die from all common causes than ever before, including traffic, and even from climate-crises induced disasters such as floods, draught, storms, wildfire and heat waves.

That does not mean that we do not have a climate crisis. One of the pillars of education is that you learn to work with several perspectives simultaneously. We also aim to teach you scientific rigor and robust research methods, which means you cannot cherry pick data to fit your ideas. This is how hard problems are solved.

The mayor of Molde, Torgeir Dahl of The Conservative Party (Høyre), mentioned Moldejazz, Teatret Vårt, Bjørnsonfestivalen and Molde FK in his speech at the ceremony. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Academic activity also shapes ideas. It becomes part of society. And albeit rarely perfect, usually in a way that makes it better.

And the most important, resourceful, game changing agents in this world, are you – current and future students.

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We must assume that the intellectual heritage of in-depth, theoretical and practical studies, resourceful and capable investigation and critical reflection together with academic freedom and free speech, had contributed greatly to the improvements that we have seen.

Senior lecturer Eddie Rekdal (right) was awarded with this year’s pedagogical prize. Here with prorector Jeanette Varpen Unhjem (left) and Siw Bergsås of SpareBank1 Nordvest. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Our education system is not perfect, but it certainly is not broken. In a global perspective, you are still among the privileged minority, as are we who are fortunate enough to work with you in pursuit of your academic goals.

If this is to continue, we must not waste the very precious opportunities that has been provided for us. There are many temptations even in academic life, such as vanity, shallowness and quick fixes. Being privileged does not make you an elite. It makes you responsible. Progress contradicts itself if it is not shared!

The student club Smuget, here represented by it’s leader – student Morten Lygresten – was awarded this year’s study environment price. Prorector Jeanette Varpen Unhjem to the left. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Molde University College shall do our best to put the students experience, learning and personal development at the center of our attention. We share a common vision, which is to interact in meaningful ways within a flexible, attentive and responsive pedagogical environment.

Moreover, we encourage our students as well as our staff take the chances they are offered to interact with working life in this region, which is so tremendously varied, demanding, fulfilling and closely in touch with nature around us and the resources it offers.

Student volunteers from both Molde and Kristiansund entered the stage. The recruiting process has just begun. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

What we expect from you in return is that you invest not only calendar time, but also effort and inspiration into your studies. We insist that you treat each other with respect, and I hope that you will also take time out from dusty text books, flipped classrooms and virtual worlds, fascinating as they may be, to make friends here in Molde, among the people who already live here as well as among fellow students.

Thank you very much for coming to Molde University College, and good luck!»

Today’s crowd at the HiMolde opening ceremony in Molde city centre. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø