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Director from Tecnun, School of Engineering, University of Navarra, Spain.
Tecnun is 60 years old. It was born as a result of a request from the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa to the University of Navarra. St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei and at the time Chancellor of the University, thought it was great. Tecnun has grown well rooted in Gipuzkoa and at the same time open to the whole world. Its life is a story of identity and dynamism, to use the words of María Iraburu Elizalde, on her recent inauguration as the new rector.
Sometimes I hear that our students have "the Tecnunstyle". But what is the identity of Tecnun? Tecnun is the School of Engineering of the University of Navarra. Many things could be said about the University of Navarra, but above all it is a University: a place where you grow through the coexistence between professors and students with the goal to learn, reflect and search for truth. It is life, not theory. An organism thanks to which we all grow. The great ideals of Christian humanism are the hallmark of its identity and are responsible for its vocation of service. It is a non-profit university with a vocation to have a social impact wherever it is. And we are and we are from Gipuzkoa.
Tecnun cannot be understood without Gipuzkoa and its institutions (GV, DFG, City Council of SS), but it also seems legitimate to me to say that our School has had an important social impact on the territory, mainly thanks to the almost 6,000 - out of more than 9,000 - alumni that it has trained and currently work in the Gipuzkoa industry.
Dynamism. These six decades have been marked by dynamism and development. Like all creatures, Tecnun was born small, in the building of the current Koldo Mitxelena. However, its features could already be perceived in those years: to train good people, good engineers through teaching and research, which existed from the very beginning. Because teaching is supported and enriched by it. And Tecnun began to grow: the move to Ibaeta began in 1970, over the following years more buildings were built at campus and in 2006 we also moved to the Miramón technology park. Forty years ago it can be said that Tecnun had offspring with the birth of the technology center Ceit and since then the School has continued to grow and has consolidated four Departments and twelve research groups.
January 24 is the International Day of the Education and we can ask ourselves what the training consists of and what challenges we face in the future. That students learn engineering is the core of training. An education that focuses on solid fundamentals because they are necessary for creativity and entrepreneurship. At the same time, it is important the effort made in the use of new teaching methodologies, new laboratories and a closeness to the company as can be seen in the more than 40 agreements signed with companies. But we also want our students to remember us for the humanistic training we have given them, which goes beyond the classroom and will allow them to reflect on the great questions of human beings.
Forming good people implies that everything has to be formed: counselling - those conversations between teachers and students, the smile and kindness of teachers and employees, recognising that you don't know how to answer a question and the next day coming up with the answer, asking for forgiveness when you make a mistake or listening carefully to the people around you.
The University is exciting, so its future will also be exciting and will always be based on the coexistence of teachers and students. A technological revolution is approaching that will affect all educational centers. Technology will be important. It will be at the service of people. It will transform and revolutionize many things, but it should not detract from the identity of the university. Technology is not capable of transmitting passion and real concern for the student.
In the future, I see our School aligned with the 2025 strategic plan of its alma mater: focusing on transformative teaching, impactful research and multidisciplinary projects. The sustainable development and care for people and the environment will guide all our projects. At Tecnun we will see a commitment to sustainability in our studies and at campus.
"Izan zirelako gara eta garelako izango dira. Because they were we are and because we are they will be". The reality of Tecnun is also thanks to all those who have gone before us. We are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, giants who with their lives created this institutional culture, this identity. And the responsibility of those of us who are currently working is great because we are called upon to pass the baton to those who will succeed us. Thanks to all former and current students and employees!