Centenary at the French Studies of the University of Debrecen


The French Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Debrecen organized an exhibition, conference and alumni meeting in the Main Building on Saturday, thus celebrating the 100th anniversary of its existence.

Almost exactly 100 years ago, on March 29, 1923, the governor appointed the young, but already recognized, internationally renowned literary scholar, János Hankiss, at the István Tisza István Hungarian University in Debrecen, on the recommendation of the Minister of Religion and Public Education, Count Kunó Klebelsberg. Department of French Language and Literature established at the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and History.

The centenary program began with an exhibition entitled The First 100 Years in the forecourt of the University and National Library of the University of Debrecen. The exhibition evoked the history of the department with a collection of contemporary photos, documents, documents and publications created in the past decades.

An emblematic point in the life of the Faculty of Humanities is the teaching of the French language, a milestone whose history dates back to the institution’s first academic year in 1914

– said Róbert Keményfi in his opening speech.

The dean of the Faculty of Humanities emphasized that although French has taken a back seat to the popularity of English along with other languages since the 1990s, efforts must be made to ensure the supply of students since the operation of the faculty is unthinkable despite the rationalization plans, mergers and tightening of the French Studies. without.

The participants of the event were also greeted by Gyöngyi Karácsony, the director general of the University and National Library of the University of Debrecen (DEENK), which hosts the exhibition.

As he put it: current students and former students of the department are still regular guests of the library as readers, which now welcomes visitors with renewed spaces.

The French Studies together with the university library organized several exhibitions on French literature and art in recent years. Among these, the current centenary exhibition stands out, the compilation of which required serious research and collection work from the staff of the department and the library. This occasion also created an opportunity to open a new chapter in DEENK’s electronic archive, in which objects, photos and various documents related to the French Department will now be available in digital form

– emphasized Gyöngyi Karácsony.

Presenting a century of past and our present in its entirety in a few square meters is an almost impossible task. The exhibited scientific works, notes, photos, contemporary newspaper articles, invitations, posters, awards, textbooks, in addition to the obligatory accounting at this time, are primarily meant to trigger memory

– said Andrea Nagy, the head of the department, in his welcome speech.

After the exhibition opening, the program continued in the Hall of the Main Building, where three private vocal students of the Faculty of Music, Pálos Hajnalka, Buka Boglárka and Luca Csörgeő greeted the participants of the alumni meeting of the French Studies with French songs. Their art teacher, pianist Balázs Boda, played the piano.

József Mudrák, the university historian, was the first of the speakers to present the history of the department’s beginnings and first decades, remembering Professor Hankiss, who was a private teacher of French literature from 1919, an extraordinary teacher from 1923, and a public regular teacher at the university from 1929–1950, in between 1943–1944 State Secretary for Public Education in the Kállay government. From 1950, he was an official of the Debrecen University Library and a commissioned lecturer of French literature, who in addition to his teaching work was also the founder of the Summer University, and who was the dean of the Faculty of Humanities in the academic year 1929/30, during the war, 1944-45- and he also held the position of rector of the institution.

The work of the famous professors who followed János Hankiss, József Herman, Tivadar Gorilovics, Katalin Halász and Gabriella Tegyey, was recalled by Sándor Kiss, a retired associate professor and former head of the department.

Memorable moments from the life of the acting group of the department were revived by Judit Lukovszki, retired university associate professor of French Studies, next to whom the former founders of the École des Bouffons re-entered the stage – symbolically.

The celebration ended with a good atmosphere alumni meeting in the Hall of the Main Building.

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