On 26 October, Ylva Fältholm was installed as the new vice-chancellor of the University of Gävle at a ceremony in the auditorium Valhall.
In Valhall, chairs for the guests of honour were placed in the front and a table with a blue tablecloth held the vice-chancellor's chain of office. At this table, Jonas Kågström opened the ceremony with an overview of the history of the succession ceremony and with explanations of today’s ceremony.
To the sound of “Trumpet Tune and Air” by Henry Purcell, performed by Swedish Home Guards brass quintet, the procession began, lead by two standard-bearers who were followed by outgoing Vice-chancellor Maj-Britt Johansson and incoming Vice-Chancellor Ylva Fältholm as well as guests of honour.
Maj-Britt Johansson held the first speech in which she paralleled the vice-chancellor’s role to that of a competitor in a long-distance relay race with many competing teams. In this race, the character of the course can shift and new directives can turn up. Then you need to have the power and the muscles to get over and overcome any obstacles that have been put in your way.
After nine years, Maj-Britt Johansson explained, her legs felt a bit stiff and it was time to hand over to a vice-chancellor with fresh legs and maybe new rules on how to run the team.
When out-going Vice-chancellor Maj-Britt Johansson had read the government directives about appointing a new vice-chancellor, she handed over the golden vice-chancellor chain to Ylva Fältholm.
“A higher learning institution is not a higher learning institution if there are no students,” declared Linda Hernandez Igglund, chair of Gefle Student Union in the students´ address. She highlighted the importance of collaborating with the students and giving them influence, the ability of research to see into the future and the fact that everyone should have the opportunity to study no matter where you are.
“We have had many rewarding dialogues with our outgoing vice-chancellor,” Linda Hernandez Igglund said. She continued by saying that this dialogue has resulted in one the most desired awards, as Gävle was awarded the prize Student City of the Year for 2017.
“I don’t doubt our new vice-chancellor for a second, as she has already proven to us that we, the students, are most important at any university,” Linda Hernandez Igglund concluded.
Ylva Fältholm, the incoming vice-chancellor, thanked everyone who had come to share this day with her. It is an important day, as the ceremony tells the world that a new vice-chancellor has been installed.
“I have come to a higher learning institution which is making strong progress,” Ylva Fältholm said. “In spite of this, the education level is lowest in the country here in our region and that is a challenge to us.”
As the fifth vice-chancellor, she thanked Maj-Britt Johansson for her efforts during her years which enable us to say that we now are one of the most popular university colleges in the country. This is something that Ylva Fältholm would like keep working on.
She would like to work for a clear leadership and develop a strategic plan for our research and education in collaboration with students and members of staff. She also brought up her determination to increase collaboration with the business sector and to establish more research.
“To start up research is not something one can do on one’s own; one needs to be part of a research environment for it to work. You need to be part of a team. We are not going to do research on, but together with, and find out what the needs of society are,” Ylva Fältholm said.
As an example, she brought up interdisciplinary research as a way to meet the challenges of society, and this kind of research needs to be integrated in the education we offer.
She is looking forward to promoting widening participation, making everyone feel welcome and involved, and to creating conditions for students to be supported through their studies. She stated that after forty years, the University of Gävle has come a long way in this respect.
“Later on, when I hand over the chain after my years here, I hope that we, and I, can say that our research and education are exactly what we need,” Ylva Fältholm concluded.
Text: Anna Hellqvist
Photo: Britt Mattsson