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University of Tartu announces recipients of nearly 100 awards, decorations

"100 Semesters at the University of Tartu" award pins. Source: Andres Tennus

The University of Tartu (TÜ) announced nearly 100 recipients of several honorary decorations on Friday, among them TÜ professor and MP Margit Sutrop (Reform), TÜ professor and Estonian Academy of Sciences (ETA) member Jaak Vilo and TÜ associate professor and former vice rector for research Kristjan Vassil.

By decision of the Senate of the University of Tartu, Margit Sutrop, professor of practical philosophy, is being awarded the Johan Skytte Medal – a decoration awarded to a statesperson or public figure who the Senate finds has contributed significantly to the development of TÜ and higher education in Estonia in recent years, according to a press release.

According to the university, Sutrop has "been actively involved in the work of the university's committees, the Senate, the [TÜ] Council and her faculty over the years. She has helped bring TÜ to a leading position in the field of practical ethics. Margit Sutrop has led public debate on this topic, both at the level of general and higher education and in museums, medical institutions, defense and elsewhere."

Margit Sutrop. Source: Andreas Tennus

"We are very grateful to Margit Sutrop for defending students' interests and standing up for the quality of higher education and research funding in society," said TÜ Rector Toomas Asser.

The highest award granted to members of the university, the University of Tartu Grand Medal is given to two university researchers for services of particular value. The Senate decided Friday to award Grand Medals to Jaak Vilo, professor of bioinformatics, and Kristjan Vassil, associate professor of technology research.

Vilo served as director of TÜ's Institute of Computer Science for 12 years, in which time the scientific level as well as teaching volume of computer science at the university increased.

Kristjan Vassil. Source: Andreas Tennus

"Today, the Institute of Computer Science is the university's largest in terms of student numbers, and an attractive cooperation partner in Estonia and internationally," the university noted. "Vilo has worked with dedication for the continued development of the university and research in Estonia."

Vassil has made significant contributions to raising the governance of the university to a new level.

"Among other things, he helped achieve the agreement on increasing research funding to 1 percent GDP, and has stood up for research-based governance at critical times," TÜ highlighted. "As the university's vice rector for research, Vassil led the doctoral reform and helped organize the structural and governance reform at Tartu University Hospital (TÜK)."

Jaak Vilo. Source: Andreas Tennus

Asser recognized dozens more university members with the University of Tartu Medal, the University of Tartu Badge of Distinction as well as the "100 Semesters at the University of Tartu" award pin.

Non-university individuals who have rendered considerable services to the university were likewise honored with the University of Tartu Star of Appreciation.

Click here for a full list of recipients announced by TÜ on Friday.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla, Kristina Kersa

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