Honorary Degree Citation for Wilfried Müller
Citation presented by Sarah McGaughey
Assistant Professor and Chair of German
Conferring of the degree by William G. Durden, President
Wilfried Müller, we honor you today for your work as a researcher, educator and administrator. Your career is a model for, and you are an untiring promoter of, the ideals of a liberal and useful education that we value so highly here at Dickinson.
You began your academic career as a student of chemistry and philosophy at the University of Kiel, and after receiving your diploma in chemistry you continued to study philosophy, education and sociology at the University of Hamburg where you received your Ph.D. in 1974. In 1976 you began your career at the University of Bremen where you remained until your retirement in 2012. At the University of Bremen you were an assistant professor in the division of Physics and Electrical Engineering and professor of technical research in the social sciences with a focus on professional practice in engineering and technical innovative processes in technical research in the social sciences. In 1989 you became executive director of the Research Center for Work and Technology (artec) until your appointment as conrector for Teaching and Studies in 1997. You ended your career at the University of Bremen as rector, serving the institution in that capacity for 10 years.
In 1976 your career was as new as the university for which you worked. Founded in 1971, the University of Bremen immediately captivated the German public with its revolutionary attitudes. Though the reputation as a revolutionary campus was mostly a result of the faculty's political orientation towards the left, the young university was also revolutionary in its approach to curriculum and its fields of study; an approach known today as the Bremen model. This approach to higher education emphasizes interdisciplinarity and explorative learning at the same time as it focuses on the social and practical relevance of the university and the individuals it fosters and promotes. Thus, you, a young scholar whose dissertation focused on the theoretical and practical aspects of the training and careers of scientists and engineers, arrived at a school that was developing a new way of looking at how the university can create productive and high-quality relationships between itself, its students and faculty, and the wider world.
This view of your relationship to the University of Bremen suggests you were a faculty member who fit into the institution's core mission. You were, in fact, more than a member of its faculty; you played leading roles in shaping the institution's path forward as it developed these core goals. You were a member and leader of key working groups supporting the recognition and development of strong areas of work within the University-as a conrector and as a member of the committee on organizational development. Most spectacularly, under your leadership as rector, the University of Bremen was successful in three rounds of the German governmental "Initiative for Excellence," administered by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities. Part of this success occurred at a time of financial difficulty in the State of Bremen. Thanks to your efforts and fundraising, the University now benefits from over 91 million Euros from the private sector or a third of its incoming funds. Today, under the concept of "Ambitious and Agile," the University of Bremen is among only 11 German universities which have been awarded the title "University of Excellence."
Your success in Bremen is complemented by your engagement in university education at the national level. You have served on several higher-education committees, for instance as vice president for teaching, study, and student issues at the German Rector's Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, HRK)-a university association which serves as the political and public voice of universities and other higher education institutions in Germany. In 2009 you were elected vice president of the political deciding committee of the Foundation for Accreditation of Degree Courses in Germany.
You have received many honors and awards for your leadership in higher education, most recently, the Senate Medal for Arts and Sciences of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, awarded by the Senator for Education and Science in March 2013. In the senator's laudation given this year, he noted that you have been known and highly esteemed for systematically connecting teaching and research, for fostering interdepartmental co-operations, and for extending the dialogue between the university and the public as well as between academia and the economy in Bremen. You have had a large share in shaping the University of Bremen into the modern, progressive, reform-oriented, and highly successful institution it is today.
Mr. President, for his commitment to liberal education of the highest caliber, it is my honor to present to you Wilfried Müller for the honorary degree of Doctor of Liberal Education.
Wilfried Müller, upon the recommendation of the Faculty to the Board of Trustees, and by its mandamus, I confer upon you the Degree of Doctor of Liberal Education, honoris causa, with all the rights, privileges, and distinction thereunto appertaining, in token of which I present you with this diploma and cause you to be invested with the hood of Dickinson College appropriate to the degree.