Festive Ceremony: Maren Schmohl New Rector at Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Schwä­bisch Gmünd

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It was in January 2023 when Maren Schmohl took office as the new rector of Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Schwä­bisch Gmünd (HfG). On May 2, 2023, the offi­cial festive ceremony for the handover of the rector’s office from former incum­bent, Prof. Ralf Drin­gen­berg, to Maren Schmohl followed at the HfG-audi­to­rium close to Gmünd’s central station. With around 150 guests from poli­tics, science, and busi­ness atten­ding, the event served as an occa­sion to also refer to the important role of design in future trans­for­ma­tion processes. 

Repre­sen­ta­tives from the Ministry of Science, Rese­arch and the Arts of the state of Baden-Würt­tem­berg, from the admi­nis­tra­tive Ostalb district and the city of Schwä­bisch Gmünd, members of the German Bundestag and the Baden-Würt­tem­berg parlia­ment, from science and rese­arch in Baden-Würt­tem­berg, and from busi­ness, culture and social life: All these guests gathered on May 2, 2023, at the HfG-audi­to­rium to witness the festive event of the admi­nis­tra­tive tran­si­tion of the rector’s office at Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Schwä­bisch Gmünd from Prof. Ralf Drin­gen­berg to Maren Schmohl. 

Maren Schmohl, former rector at Merz Academy in Stutt­gart, studied American Studies at Eber­hard-Karls-Univer­sity Tübingen. In 2008, she became a member of the Academy’s direc­to­rate. In 2014, she was elected to the posi­tion of Vice-Rector at Merz Academy, followed by an elec­tion to the Academy’s recto­rate in 2021. Within the scope of her duties, she built up several new depart­ments, accom­pa­nied the deve­lo­p­ment of both an inter­na­tional master program and a quality assu­rance system, and was in charge of the general curri­culum design of study programs. She is a committee member in many Euro­pean asso­cia­tions of art and design schools, and regu­larly works as an expert in inter­na­tional accre­di­ta­tion procedures. 

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Loving the old, living the new“ 

On the basis of the motto loving the old, living the new,“ Maren Schmohl in her speech shed light on the role of inno­va­tion and tradi­tion in the context of dealing with trans­for­ma­tion processes affec­ting not only the HfG, but also the region. The HfG under­stands design as an inter­face between humans, objects, and the envi­ron­ment. To remain for what it stands for – being a univer­sity oriented at values and tradi­tion – the univer­sity has, however, to modify and change. In this process, the vigo­rous acti­vi­ties in rese­arch and transfer, toge­ther with the strong inter­na­tional scope of the HfG, are signi­fi­cant strengths which have to be advanced. As the new rector of the HfG, I am looking forward to addres­sing these matters.“ 

At the ceremony and in their gree­tings and fare­well addresses, the respec­tive spea­kers from poli­tics and science also deeply appre­ciated the work of former HfG-rector Prof. Ralf Drin­gen­berg and his term of office from 2016 to 2023. Stefanie Brum, chair­woman of the univer­sity council, Gabriele Seefried, firs civil servant of the admi­nis­tra­tive Ostalb district, and Richard Arnold, mayor of the city of Schwä­bisch Gmünd, stressed that Univer­sity of Design Schwä­bisch Gmünd (HfG) offers a unique lear­ning and teaching envi­ron­ment and has ever been dealing with decisive future-related issues – with its design educa­tion always provi­ding students with a highly rele­vant huma­ni­stic and socio­po­li­tical design approach.