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“Played a Decisive Role in the University Founding”

The University of Bremen is in mourning for its honorary citizen and sponsor Moritz Thape. The Bremen politician was the senator for science at the time of the founding of the university and was a constant advocate of the institution.

“During the founding and the securing of the University of Bremen, Moritz Thape played a decisive role as the senator for science and later as the senator for finance in Bremen State,” says the president of the University of Bremen, Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter. As recognition and a thank you for the extraordinary commitment, the University of Bremen awarded him the title of honorary citizen and sponsor of the university. “The University of Bremen is much obliged to give its thanks to Moritz Thape. We grieve with his family,” states Scholz-Reiter.

Straightforward and Committed

In the years before and after the founding of the university in 1971, Moritz Thape was the Bremen senator for education, science, and art. Subsequently to a controversial election campaign in 1971, which was closely related to the establishment of the university, he was voted to be the science senator for the third time until 1975. With the support of the senate president, Mayor Hans Koschnick, Thape was able to ensure the political and financial requirements for the opening of the university in October 1971 were met thanks to his straightforward manner and commitment. Especially after the withdrawal of the coalition partner FDP at that time, Thape, in his role as science senator, politically carried the responsibility for all necessary activities for the university founding in October 1971 – especially the appointment of the first professors and also the election of the political scientist Dr. Thomas von der Vring as the founding president.

Always Loyal

“What was remarkable was Thape’s constant loyalty to the university, despite him not being a convinced supporter of all founding concept elements and especially the university’s appointment policies,” according to the president. However, he always publically defended the Bremen model with the (at the time) new principles, such as interdisciplinarity and practical applications within research and teaching and also responsibility for the society by opening the university for all social classes. After 1975, Thape remained education senator for another four years and then took on the role of finance senator between 1979 and 1985 and until the stepping down of Hans Koschnick as mayor. It was during this time, when the joint financing of the university by five counties ended, that he secured the financing with Bremen funds. Thape remained a sponsor of the university after his career ended.

Portrait of a man with glasses
The photo shows Moritz Thape in 2011 when he was named honorary citizen and sponsor.