U.S. Friends visit to Chalmers and Scholarship Ceremony

The U.S. Friends delegation geared up for a tour of the nanofabrication laboratory

Campus visit, August 24th
On this gloomy thursday, Chalmers had the honor of hosting a delegation of U.S. Friends representatives for a visit on campus. We started out at Restaurant Hyllan, where a delicious lunch was served. After filling up on energy, we all took a swift walk up to MC2, where we were met by Vincent Desmaris, Associate Professor at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment and CTO at Smoltek, a Chalmers-centered, innovative nanoscience company on the rise. Vincent gave us a tour of the MC2 Nanofabrication laboratory and some insight on the exciting R&D that takes place there by, among others, Smoltek. We were then given a presentation of the GigaHertz entre by Christian Fager, Associate Professor at the Department for Microtechnology and Nanoscience. The GigaHertz Centre is a joint research and innovation centre between Chalmers and industrial partners and a very good example of Chalmers historically very close connections to industry. This year, once again, Chalmers ranks among the top ten universities in the world when it comes to co-publications with industry. And we rank in the top 100 in the world for employability.

Some of us then went on to the annual meeting and the following Board meeting for U.S. Friends of Chalmers, where a new board was secured for the year to come. The Board and Chalmers want to send out an extra thank you to Franco Maras, who chose to step down and to Anders Wennberg, who has been Chalmer’s representative for many years and has now handed over to Håkan Simonsen. Consequently, also a heartfelt welcome to Håkan and, of course, thanks to all who are staying on, for their efforts in the past and carrying on the work into the future! The evening ended with a festive dinner at Dorsia where we were also joined y Sievert Larsson, one of Chalmers’ biggest benefactors in recent years. Sievert has, for the past 8 years, supported Chalmers by giving scholarships to four Thai students each year, meaning that almost 50 students have Sievert to thank for being able to get their Master’s Degree at Chalmers – That is a great goal for U.S. Friends to strive for!

Rebecca Gillie and Josh Turan with Arne and Eva Dunhem and Bo Hedfors at the Scholarship Ceremony

Scholarship Ceremony and Afternoon Tea, August 25th
Just before the new academic year was kicked off, the traditional scholarship ceremony was held at Chalmersska Huset. This ceremony serves to give scholarship recipients and donors a chance to meet. There are five different scholarships represented :
Volvo Cars: Full tuition fee wiver for two students from China
Volvo Group: Full tuition fee waiver for two students from China and two students from India
SAAB: One student from Indonesia gets a scholarship covering living expenses
Sievert Larsson: Full tuition fee waiver for four students from Thailand, two of the four students also get living expenses covered by the scholarship
U.S. Friends of Chalmers: One full tuition fee waiver for a student from the U.S.

In her opening remarks, Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice President for education, expressed her gratitude to the donors and, of course, welcome to the new and returning students. Her theme for the day was pride. She talked of her own pride of being a part of Chalmers and how proud she is to welcome new talented students from all over the world. The competition to be accepted at Chalmers is extremely fierce and getting tougher and tougher so it is evident that any student who gets accepted, should feel very proud of themselves, “you have obviously worked very hard and should be proud of yourselves”, she said.
After this, all the donors got a to give a few remarks on what motivates them to offer scholarships and there were some definite common topics that came up. They all believe in the international workplace, that it is positive for all parties with diversity in the workplace and that education is a key factor for success, both for the individual and in the larger picture. One piece of advice that all the donors sent with the students was that while it is, of course, important to work hard it is equally important to find balance and to also have fun and make new friends and connections.

U.S. Friends of Chalmers had a small delegation in place consisting of Arne and Eva Dunhem, Bo and Anita Hedfors, and Conny and Lena Kullman. Arne, as the main spokesperson for the group talked about how the U.S. Friends scholarship came about and how alumni in the U.S. are proud to help American students get the same great education that they once got. Josh Turan, who got the U.S. Friends scholarship last year and now just started his second and last year pointed to the difference the scholarship made for him: “It was a dream come true when I found out that I had been awarded the scholarship! I would not have been able to go if it hadn’t been for the support from U.S. Friends of Chalmers.” Josh who, before coming to Chalmers, had never been outside of the U.S. and been on an airplane only once in his life before flying to Gothenburg, now has friends from all over the world and has already been to several contries in Europe. The scholarship truly opened the door to a whole new world for him. Over the summer, he landed a summer job at Volvo, making some extra money and establishing some very valuable connections for the future. He now says he has high hopes of being able to get a job and staying in Sweden after graduating with his Master’s Degree next spring. We all wish him the best of luck!

Rebecca Gillie, who was awarded her scholarship in Atlanta during Memorial Day weekend earlier this year was very pleased to have arrived in Gothebnburg only a few days earlier and eager to get started on her studies. So far, she has been keeping herself busy with welcome activities! We will check on her towards the end of the fall semester to see how she’s doing! For now, we wish her the best of luck with her first semester!

The formal part was followed by a very nice afternoon tea upstairs, where there was ample time for scholars and donors to get to know each other a bit better while sipping on some red or black tea and munching on the sweet and savory goodies. William Chalmers (a.k.a Philip Wramsby) made an acclaimed appearance telling the story of his life and how he came to donate a large part of his fortune to founding what has since become one of, if not, the best universities of technology in Sweden. And so the circle was once again completed, donors meeting scholars in the former home of our prime benefactor and donor – Avancez!