On August 26th a group of advisory board members and founders visited Chalmers. The main event of the day was a scholarship ceremony where privately funded scholarship recipients got a chance to meet their benefactors. However, more activities were planned – the day started out with a visit to Chalmers Ventures followed by lunch before it was time for the ceremony including afternoon tea at Chalmersska huset and ended with a nice dinner, that too at Chalmersska huset.
At 10 am, a small group, consisting of Bo Hedfors and Conny Kullman, co-founders of U.S. Friends of Chalmers, Patric Stafshede, an old friend of U.S. Friends as well as Birgitta Rorsman and Peter Hellqvist from Chalmers, met up outside Chalmers Ventures. After mandatory fika there was a general presentation of Chalmers Ventures followed by the interesting story about ReVibe and their energy-harvesting device, a start-up company that has gone through the Chalmers Ventures process and has just embarked on the exciting onward journey to success. You can read more about this interesting company here.
After lunch at Johanneberg Science Park on campus, there was a brief break before the group reconvened at Chalmersska huset at 2 pm for the scholarship ceremony. At this point, the U.S. Friends group was joined by yet another Advisory Board member, Bengt Gerborg and his wife Margerita as well as Bo’s wife Anita and Coony’s wife Lena. Besides U.S. Friends, Sievert Larsson, a true Gothenburg philantropist, who has financed tuition for 4 students/year since tuition fees were imposed in 2011, was there to meet with the happy students. Mark Meurer, who received the U.S. Friends scholarship in 2014 and has recently graduated with his Master’s Degree was present as well as Josh Turan, this year’s happy U.S. Friends scholar. Volvo Cars and Volvo Group finance scholarship to students from China and India and were represented at the ceremony to meet and greet their beneficiaries and dicuss and share experiences with the other donors and scholars. After brief presentations by the donors and one of the scholars, Daphne Hingert from Thailand, who received the Sievert Larsson scholarship in 2014, it was time for afternoon tea in the parlor upstairs. Much to the amusement of the visitors, William Chalmers himself paid a visit to his old dwellings and told the amazing story about his life and how he came to donate a large portion of his fortune to the foundation of Chalmers.
After this one might have thought that the day would be over, but for some, it was merely the beginning. During the short break before it was time for the next shift, Chalmers President and CEO, Stefan Bengtsson joined in as well as Advisory Board member Dan Werbin and his wife Gigi and Fundraising director Håkan Simonsen. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, former President of U.S. Friends and now back at the Alma Mater as head of the Division of Chemical Biology after some years away, first in the U.S. and then in Umeå offered insiring insight into her research on proteins and their impact on human health. Mark Meurer, 2014 U.S. Friends scholar talked about his experience at Chalmers and his future plans. It is quite obvious that studying at Chalmers has been a life-changing experience for him that would not have been possible without the scholarship.
Since this was one of the few really beautiful days in Gothenburg this summer, after the presentations, drinks were served in the courtyard, giving the event a somewhat southern touch. The evening ended in high spirits in the dining room upstairs where a three-course dinner was served along with many stories and laughs. This seems to be a recipe for success and deserves to be made into an anual tradition. Next year we hope to see even more U.S. Friends representatives in Gothenburg!