Names of donors immortalized on TU/e campus

In 2021, in honor of the university’s 65th lustrum year, TU/e organized a special fundraiser together with University Fund Eindhoven. Donors were promised eternal glory in the form of a name plaque on campus. Yesterday, three years after the fundraising campaign, the plaque was finally unveiled.

At the time, the fundraising campaign, called “Heroes for Heroes” raised a total of 175,000 euros from a total of 1,300 donors. This sum was raised for the “heroes of tomorrow”, aka: students.

30,000 per department

“We at the Fund supplemented this amount (by 95,000 euros, Ed.) in order to donate 30,000 euros to all nine departments,” says Edith Snelders, team leader alumni relations & University Fund Eindhoven (UFe). “The amount was intended for projects to develop the talent within the department. Each department was completely free to decide for themselves how to use the money.” This website shows the initiatives started for each department with the help of the donation.

In addition to money, the donors also donated something else: wishes and other wisdom. “We gave donors the option to write something down to inspire students. And almost everyone did so.” Examples of things they wrote: “Pleasure in your work doubles your creativity,” “Have fun learning. Take this opportunity that others may not have,” and “That we create a beautiful and circular world together.” All submitted wishes were collected on this website.

Name plaque

From the beginning, the plan was to immortalize the donors’ names in an object, but the exact form this object would take was not decided until later. “Eventually, Robbert-Jan Smits proposed the idea of a name plaque,” says Snelders.

The plaque is placed at the old entrance to the Paviljoen. “It was made entirely by alumni,” Snelders explains enthusiastically. The plaque was designed by alumna Ayu Ritzema, produced by alumnus Bert Staal, and was unveiled by means of a magic act performed by alumnus Jeroen de Jong.

The plaque contains a total of 1027 names, considerably fewer than the 1,300 donors. The reason for this is that some wish to remain anonymous,” Snelders explains.

Lieu de mémoire

Executive Board President Robert-Jan Smits, one of the initiators of the project, responded enthusiastically during the unveiling. "I think it's fantastic. It is very nicely made - all credits to Ayu - and this is really the perfect spot for it." Smits hopes the renovated Paviljoen can serve as a place of remembrance. "I like that it's really becoming a lieu de mémoir, where people can come together and reminisce the good old days. Such a place was still missing on campus." According to Smits, there is also a desire to use the Paviljoen as an exhibition place for photo or other art collections.

Donors present were also positive. "I once started in this building as the third batch of students in 1960. After that, I have been a PhD student, researcher and professor here," said alumnus and professor emeritus Jan Blom. "I think it's important to stay in touch with the university and participate in initiatives like this." Alumnus Bert Gall was also happy to contribute to the fundraiser. "The fundraiser appealed to me immediately. After all, you want to give something back to give young people a chance."

Three-year delay

Initially, the name plaque was supposed to be unveiled as early as the end of 2021, but it ended up being nearly three years later. According to Snelders, this delay is due to the renovation that took much longer than anticipated. “The Paviljoen still isn’t completely finished, but we didn’t want to wait any longer. That’s why we were granted special access for the unveiling.”

As to when the renovated Paviljoen will be open for all to visit, Snelders cannot say exactly. “The current expectation is spring 2025, but don’t hold me to that.”

The Paviljoen

The Paviljoen was built in 1957 and is the university’s very first building. The university’s first two hundred students attended their classes here. Its name comes from the three octagonal pavilions that were part of the building.

It was originally intended to be a temporary location, but in the end, the building lasted more than 64 years before being demolished in 2021. Parts of the building remain, such as the square near the old entrance, the pavilions, the pond and the Newton tree. This tree grew from one of the seeds of the tree where Isaac Newton discovered gravity.

Dorine Peters, Director of Real Estate & Facility Management Center, personally worked to ensure that certain parts of the Paviljoen would be preserved. "It's such a distinctive building, with the pond, the pavilions, the mosaic. And it is, of course, the very first building of the university, which also makes it a very symbolic building. This is where it all started."

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