A WORD FROM THE DEAN TO MARK THE 99TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VETERINARY FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB
Honoured guests, colleagues and dear students,
It is an honour and my pleasant duty, on behalf of the administration of the Veterinary Faculty, its staff and students, to greet you all most sincerely and thank you for accepting the invitation to this ceremonial session of our Faculty Council, so we will celebrate together the 99th anniversary of the foundation of the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Zagreb.
Magnifice Domine Rector Universitatis Zagrabiensis Damire Boras, Domine Prorector, Decani et prodecani, Reverendissimi Domini, Honorabiles, carissimi studiosi!
Today we are celebrating the beginning of the 99th academic year in which the 99th generation of students are beginning their higher education in veterinary medicine in Croatian, but also the third generation of students of veterinary medicine in English, of which we are particularly proud. We are especially pleased that our celebration is taking place in the spirit of the recent celebrations to mark the beginning of the 350th academic year of the University of Zagreb, which makes our celebration even more special. We are proud of the fact that we are part of the University of Zagreb, the cradle of higher education and science in Croatia.
Allow me to remind you briefly that on 13th November 1919 classes were held for the first time at the Veterinary College, which was renamed five years later as the Veterinary Faculty. Since then, right up to the present day, our institution has been the only institution of higher education in Croatia which has continuously trained doctors of veterinary medicine and thereby shaped the history of the veterinary profession and work in this region. As in previous years, at this special session we will also mention some of the most important events and activities from the past year. Also, we will present awards and prizes to deserving employees and students, but before this, as Dean, I would like to share with you some thoughts on this special occasion.
Dear honoured guests, colleagues and students.
Today’s ceremony to mark 99 years of work at the Veterinary Faculty is not only a story about the origins of this central institution of higher education in veterinary medicine, but also a reminder of how it has developed, its importance and the efforts of many generations of teachers and students, who over the years have confirmed the justification of investment in excellence, so that today we are the leading educational institution for doctors of veterinary medicine, which we are able to serve and continue to advance. This ceremonial session and the marking of the anniversary are a unique opportunity for us all to testify together to the fruitful and hard work, in which the desire for exceptional professionalism and scientific thought has never been abandoned.
The Veterinary Faculty of the University of Zagreb is today the leading scientific and teaching institution in the veterinary profession in the region, and it will maintain that position in the time to come, both in the field of educating doctors of veterinary medicine and in the fields of scientific research, professional work, life-long education and inter-institutional and international cooperation. We will continue to work in line with the newly established strategic guidelines, so the Veterinary Faculty will have continuity in its work and be recognized both within and beyond the profession. At the same time, completely aware of the necessity for continuous analysis and revision, and adjustment of our strategic guidelines to the new age, conditions and environment in which we find ourselves, we are prepared to face all future challenges. The new age also brings new tasks for all those who will bring about the development and enhancement of the position of the veterinary profession and work, and the creation of the best possible environment for receiving new doctors of veterinary medicine as our final product.
It is my duty to point out things we are not completely satisfied with, and which we would like to resolve, such as better financial support to the Veterinary Faculty from the state, as an institution of higher education deserves that educates doctors of veterinary medicine in Croatia. We believe and expect that in the preparations of the new three-year financial programme agreement for Zagreb University the specific character of the courses in veterinary medicine will be recognized and the realistic material costs we face will be taken into consideration objectively, as well as the objective costs of the course per student, in comparison with courses in other fields. There is no alternative to a serious and thorough consideration of this issue if we are to achieve the financial stability we need, and enable the long-term sustainability of the Veterinary Faculty as a public institution.
We also hope that the reforms that have been announced and the changes within the veterinary profession, which are being prepared, will be carefully and wisely undertaken, so that the structural framework and environment in which we perform our veterinary work will not be undermined. Further, for our students who are our main product, and who find themselves on the market as young doctors of veterinary medicine, it is necessary to provide a minimal standard of reward for their work, as a regulated profession deserves. Already last year I pointed out the problem of newly graduated doctors of veterinary medicine leaving the country immediately after finishing their studies. This year the situation is even worse, and we appeal to the political elite to be aware that the initial salary of a doctor of veterinary medicine is lower than the average Croatian wage, so it could happen in the near future that we will be educating doctors of veterinary medicine exclusively for the foreign labour market. It is up to us to fight, proactively, for a better position for veterinarians in society, because no one else will do this for us. It is necessary to express the importance of the veterinary profession and veterinary work in the protection of the health of animals and people, and the safety of our food, whenever it is possible, and the role of the Veterinary Faculty in this is crucial and immeasurable. How far we make use of it depends on us.
Dear colleagues, we want to continue influencing the development and position of our institution within the University. I would especially like to point out that the Veterinary Faculty, through its activities will continue to endeavour to contribute, within the bounds of its capabilities, to the functioning of the University, and also to the overall development of higher education in the Republic of Croatia. Let us continue our journey through time, promoting the fundamental academic values, and by each of our steps we will leave our mark on history, even though we are not aware of it in real time. Today is the anniversary of our Faculty and with pride we can look back on the path we have trod so far, and the successes we have achieved. We can be particularly proud of the fact that we have accepted the trials of gradual development, we have agreed to take bold steps and make courageous decisions, which we believed would bring progress. We live in strange times, many values have come into question, and people, especially in the academic community, by their conduct, very often unfortunately forget courtesy and well-intentioned forms of community life. This moment in society is burdened with challenges, constant changes to the environment in which we live and work, and there is almost no time left for the normal life we strive for. We should not always look for the means to achieve our goals and values outside ourselves, but I firmly believe that by delving deeper into our own consciousness, it is possible to find the best way to express the fundamental values of society, such as understanding, tolerance and goodness, values which we know well, but too often forget. Therefore, in the uncontrollable course of time in which we live, humanity and community must still be the virtues that adorn us and of which we can boast, and which will be the guarantee of even better results and what will characterise the Veterinary Faculty in the future. Aware that we represent only a flickering speck in the dark desert of everyday life, and that it is our duty and obligation to spread that light, which our profession has given us, all around us, we will not hesitate, we will endeavour to leave this Faculty and this society better than they were when we found them. My sincere thanks to you all!