This year, the event took place in a new format, bringing together several areas supported by UL Foundation: scholarships for outstanding students and also supported projects that aim to improve the study environment. The Chairman of the Board, professor Ivars Lacis, opened the ceremony with the academic readings of three ambitious projects supported by the patrons of UL Foundation. Professor Marcis Auzins presented the project "Latvian Formula 2050. Scenarios of Development". It combines work of academic researchers, entrepreneurs and financiers, as well as decision makers, who have discussed the future development of Latvia in three forums, internal (civil society, education, economy, demography) and external (geopolitics, investment and resource flow, technology, regional leadership) factors and the synthesis of education, science and technology.
Professor Jurgis Skilters emphasized in the presentation "Space: From Geometry to Perception" that the perception of space is a door to many processes, by which we arrange the world and acquire knowledge. By conducting these studies, scientists are studying human perception processes and starting a completely unexplored direction by adapting them to Latvian language users. UL researcher Janis Karuss, who spoke about Latvian scientists’ expedition to Antarctica, which took place this year, in February and March, completed academic readings. J. Karuss, Kristaps Lamsters and Maris Krievans participated in it. More than 11 thousand aerial photographs were made during the expedition, they are going to be used for the development of new orthophoto maps and digital surface models.
Scholarship receivers are different, but they are united by ambition, striving for new achievements and passion for what they do. During the event the affirmation of the scholarship was received by almost one hundred students at all levels of study, both from UL, Riga Technical University (RTU) and Riga Stradins University. “The scholarship is a story not only about a scholar, but also about a patron. Every year the amount of patrons is expanding – it is not only a charity but also an assessment of the UL work,” that is how UL alumnum Roberts Rasums, who acquired Ernest Felsberg's memorial scholarship last year, started the second part of the ceremony. “The scholarship is a wonderful addition to the studies: getting it is not only a privilege, but also a duty to be a worthy student and a scholar. This road is not only privileged but also responsible,” continued ceremony’s leader.
The event welcomed winners of 23 different scholarships, eight of which were granted thanks to the support of Latvian diaspora in America. This year, for the first time, the Valija and Modris Galenieks family scholarship was awarded to three undergraduates from the RTU Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Transport and Aeronautics. Dagnija and Roberts Rusis continue to support higher education in Latvia by awarding their family scholarship to nursing students. Betty and Andris Ramans grant a family scholarship to the students who study at the University of Latvia in the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art to become a Special Education teacher. Kristina and Laimonis Laimins award their family scholarship to a biology student, while Guna and Robert Mundheim family excellence scholarship is awarded to a biology or chemistry student. Whereas the “Ceļamaize” scholarship for freshman students is supported by Vaira I. Pelekis-Christopher and also Dr. Aina Galeja-Dravniece testamentary will. 13 scholarships for natural sciences were awarded to students due to the testamentary will of Alfred Raister, as well as the astronomer’s, Karlis Kaufmann's, memorial grant was awarded to a physics student, while Pastor’s Modris K. Gulbis and Archbishop’s Arnold Lusis memorial scholarship was granted to a theology student this year.
The UL Foundation thanks the patrons and their representatives for the support provided to improve the area of Latvian higher education and wishes all the scholarship recipients to continue progressing, finding new ideas and solutions in their field, and purposefully moving towards their goals.