from September 12, 2022 to September 30, 2022
Published on September 12, 2022 Updated on April 10, 2024

Homage to Caroline Pauwels

EUTOPIA is in mourning. The former president of the VUB, Caroline Pauwels, passed away on 5 August 2022. Since the beginning of the European University Alliances adventure, we all knew that the disease she was already diagnosed with would one day take her away. However, Caroline never showed us anything but her intelligence about the experience we were inaugurating with ten universities.

A convinced European, Caroline declared herself an absolute Europhile in favour of a strong European Union, where universities can generate and transmit knowledge free of constraints and limitations and act as strongholds against intolerance and hatred of the other, against the ignorance on which these dishonourable passions feed. 

Caroline Pauwels has shown exceptional intelligence and courage in her personal and professional life. It took both to embark on the EUTOPIA adventure, of which she was one of the key players from the start. EUTOPIA was, for her, an opportunity to show that universities are one of the essential pillars of European construction. EUTOPIA was also a challenge: to turn an alliance of universities into an ambitious, exceptional and unique body, setting inclusion and respect for the planet at the centre of its concerns. 

There is no doubt that in engaging our universities into a more human and resilient academy, Caroline played an essential role. When she left the Rectorate of the VUB, we invited her to join the EUTOPIA Academy, which brings together, among others, the former presidents and plays an advisory and guidance role for our Board. We awarded her with a medal bearing the motto A posse ad esse, which means bringing the virtual to the fact, the idea to realisation, the will to reality. Today we reiterate the tribute we paid to her last June by presenting her with this medal. It is the symbol of our commitment and our work towards a better European academic world.

We will never forget her lesson of conduct as an exemplary university president and as a marvellous human being. 

The VUB organises a Commemoration of Caroline Pauwels the 12 September 2022