Home / News / News and Events / The 2018/2019 Academic Year at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Was Officially Opened

The 2018/2019 Academic Year at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Was Officially Opened

The academic year of the oldest high academic institution in this country, which marks 130 years of its establishment this year, was officially opened. Guests of the ceremony held in Aula magna were the Vice President of the Republic Mrs Iliyana Yotova, Deputy Chairperson of Parliament Yavor Notev and the Vice Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev.

The ceremony traditionally started with Vespers and Holy Liturgy said at the chapel of the Faculty of Theology held with the blessing of His Holiness the Bulgarian Patriarch Neofit and officiated by His Grace the Bishop of Melnik, main secretary of the Holy Synod.


Before the opening of the ceremony the Rector Professor Dr habil Anastas Gerdzhikov, the members of the Academic Council of Sofia University and the Vice President Mrs Iliyana Yotova laid flowers at the monuments of Evlogi and Christo Georgievs.


Alma mater’s Rector welcomed the guests of the celebration at the Aula magna, noting that at the threshold of its 14th decade the oldest and biggest Bulgarian university welcomes us with new achievements. The University has kept its leading position in the national rating system and has scored well in the international ratings. It occupies a leading place in research work in the country with its faculty’s and students’ substantial publications, the acquired projects and awarded prizes, including the greatest number of successful Horizon 2020 Program projects and in the three centers for top achievements in the country, two of which as a leading partner, and one as a leading institution.


Professor Gerdzhikov pointed out that Sofia University continued to maintain high level of education, introduce new technologies and new methods of teaching, and open new promising special subject programs.

The Rector noted that the role of Sofia University in the spiritual life of the country has been consolidated by the impressive number of various cultural events, social discussions of key issues and different initiatives: “Our Cultural Center, Alma mater Theater, our museums and exhibition halls, the University radio and our students’ television have scored serious successes and are in for a more promising future“, he remarked in his speech.

Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov stressed that the high quality of education and of research is guaranteed by the faculty, many of them are laureates of the national Pythagoras prizes for science and prestigious international awards and actively publish and improve the quality of their teaching and research work – the optimal distinctive feature of high quality academic education.


The Rector reminded that within the walls of the University more than 20 000 students are being taught, the latter annually win the prevalent part of the prizes at competitions in the domain of mathematics and informatics, the natural sciences, the arts and the social sciences. 1000 of them are foreign nationals and the number of the Bulgarian students going for a period of study abroad at foreign universities and the foreign students who have chosen Sofia University in their mobility programs surpasses our expectations of a decade ago.

„About 300 000 students have already graduated Sofia University and have embarked on a promising career both for them personally and for society at large“, Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov pointed. He laid emphasis on the fact that in the year of its 130th anniversary the first Bulgarian university does its best to keep and build on those achievements: “We keep on attracting the best faculty and research workers, update our syllabuses and programs, develop cooperation with close to 1000 partner universities all round the world, enhance the quality, keep pace with the digital innovations and prepare the young for the challenges of the dynamic labour market and the new industrial revolution. We are working on a new strategy for the development of Sofia University which will map the route for achieving these goals“.


Alma mater’s Rector pointed out that the most important task of the University is to educate active and honest citizens, inquisitive personalities, who feel well at ease when posing questions, defending their position and showing tolerance, understanding and respect to the opinion of others. In his words, it was a focal place both of the most competent experts in any domain of social life and of the young people who are most actively involved in the future success of the policies that we are choosing today.

“It is our duty to show to society the way ahead, raise our voice against every injustice and be a guarantee for the safeguarding of the freedom of speech and the consolidation of the public interest. The autonomy of the university substantiates our independence from the political and economic establishment and with our messages we have to win the confidence of society, the latter being in need of a national institution whose evaluation can be a reliable yardstick“, Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov said.


In his speech the Rector of Sofia University appealed to his youngest colleagues who were about to enter for the first time and be within the walls of Alma mater. Professor Gerdzhikov said that being born at the turn of the century and having spent the most part of their active lives in the 21st century, they have grown up with the new technologies and the new challenges of the present century. “You are the future of the Bulgarian nation and the world. Do your best in your studies and work in such a way that you will be worthy of these responsibilities“, The Rector said in his appeal.

Professor Grdzhikov remarked that studying helps us grow as personalities, improve our knowledge and skills; it also provides us with new opportunities – for a better job, for a higher salary, for better achievements; it even changes the chemistry of the brain and thus slows down the process of getting old, diminishes the probability of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, improves the quality of thinking and memory work and literally expands the brain.


In Professor Gerdzhikov’s words, the more diverse are the knowledge and skills we master, the more we know about the surrounding world, the more we know about ourselves, the better our sense of orientation in the world is and the easier we discern the relevant in the huge avalanche of information that is about to engulf us. Studying makes us better educated: it is both interesting and entertaining. It is due to studying that we become better personalities. Knowledge makes us more tolerant and capable of showing empathy; the latter allows us not only to understand the positions of the others but also to persuade them in the correctness of our own, “ the Rector said.

“The most important thing, however, is that the pursuit of knowledge makes us happy. Studying brings pleasure, and knowledge – satisfaction“, Professor Gerdzhikov added and appealed the young people to find for themselves the attractive power of knowledge and science.

“I wish you all score success which will make both you and your parents happy and your teachers proud of you. I wish to all of you, students, faculty and the administration workers a peaceful and successful academic year and merry celebration of the anniversary“, Professor Gerdzhikov said in conclusion to his speech. With these words he declared the new 2018/2019 year open.


The guests, faculty and students, present in Aula magna were congratulated by the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mrs Iliyana Yotova. “The future of Bulgaria is being born and formed in all Faculties of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. We need your youthful energy today for a uniting idea and a national cause“, the Vice President said and wished the students to be brave and free enthusiasts. “We rely on you to take our country through thick and thin, to consolidate it as a modern and developed state – the place that it deserves“, Iliyana Yotova added. She remarked that we need much higher investments in knowledge, in education and in science. “The wisdom of a statesmen is judged by their attitude to school – from the smallest to the biggest, form the teacher in the primary school to the university professor“, Iliyana Yotova pointed out.

In her address the Vice President highlighted the jubilee anniversary of Sofia University. “During its 130 years of history the University has gone through many painful trials and difficult periods but it has also enjoyed its glory and progress. The history of Sofia University coincides with the history of the newly liberated toddler state but in that case it is reflected in education and science. This is the history of a people, ready for its Renaissance and for its spiritual leaders,” the Vice President pointed out.

In Iliyana Yotova’s words, thanks to the faculty and the student body the prestige of the University has gone beyond the national borders for a long time and established its position in the global development of science and education. The University attracts many young people from foreign countries. “More and more youngsters of Bulgarian origin from the historical diasporas return to the motherland and the road starts here“, the Vice President remarked. Iliyana Yotova pointed out that over the years Sofia University remained loyal to the tradition of always being the first among the best.


The Vice President concluded her congratulatory address with the words: “We laid fresh flowers at the monuments of the Georgiev brothers. I am deeply convinced that the greatest tribute to them would be to see their will fulfilled – the ambition for more education, for more enlightened society and people fully aware of the significance of their ancient history and their confidence in the building of their future!“.


In his congratulatory address the Vice Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev noted that when we speak of education in present tense it is not today, present tense is not tomorrow either, present tense is after some ten or fifteen years or thereabout. “Ifwe want to be good enough, if we want to reach the horizon of wisdom , all we are doing today should be in line both with the requirements of the day and with what we are awaiting to take place in ten or fifteen years’ time“.

Tomislav Donchev wished all members of faculty wisdom, patience and strength in the propagation of knowledge. He turned to the students and appealed to them to master their profession. “Bulgaria needs you. Apart from just becoming professionals, you have one more, bigger task – Bulgaria also needs citizens, critically minded people and leaders“.


The Deputy Minister of science and education Mrs Karina Angelieva addressed the audience and wished health, luck and patience when facing new challenges.

The new professions are created in the universities. The latter form not only professions necessary for the business but also create skills for the young people so that the latter will cope with the ever changing working environment both in Bulgaria and in the whole of Europe, the Deputy Minister of education and science pointed out. She added that there is one profession which will stay with us for good, and that is the teacher’s. Karina Angelieva congratulated all the beginners in the education courses and stressed that they will enjoy the full support of the state. She thanked the faculty for their work and to the students she wished studying hard, with fervor and enthusiasm, constantly asking and inquiring.


The Chairperson of the Students’ Council at Alma mater Georgi Gulubov wished successful and fruitful work to all during the new academic year. He pointed that the University has given him the opportunity to acquire knowledge and be in contact with the most cherished value of today – freedom. Freedom embodies all the values and virtues needed in the quest in the right direction and on the road to the change in the world surrounding us.


Within the program of the celebration the Rector introduced the deans of the faculties. At the end of the ceremony the Rector of Sofia University, the Vice President Mrs Iliyana Yotova and the Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev gave out the students’ books to the first year students, laureates at various competitions.


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