Report: Alumni meet in San Francisco

On August 25, University of Tuebingen hosted its first “Alumni Meeting” in San Francisco.

Set in the picturesque location of Fisherman’s Wharf, on a warm Sunday evening about 15 alumni and staff gathered to connect and exchange thoughts, over some local food and drinks.

Myself a Tübingen alumni (in fact: double alumni, with majors in Physics and side studies in Japanese), this was an excellent opportunity to reconnect, after many years, with my alma mater.

With diverse educational backgrounds – including German Studies, Sinology, Japanese, Philosophy, Physics, Computer Sciences and a few more –  and similar diverse career choices – including academics, arts, marketing, engineering, research & development, law and journalism - we had lively discussions, not only (but certainly also) about Tübingen.

Not surprising giving the diversity of backgrounds, also conversations were pretty diverse, ranging from “whether human emotions have unique geographical traits” to “innovations in augmented reality” and “advanced topics in material sciences” to “state of local Tübingen politics” and even the “recent traffic closure of Mühlstrasse for bicycles”.

After warm welcomes by Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer (Vice-President for International Affairs) and Dr. Andrea Schaub (Head of Research Department), the University of Tübingen staff team provided an overview about recent developments at the University. The winning of the title of the “University of Excellence” was news for most alumni, since it’s a relative recent initiative in Germany. There was a sense of both pride and gratefulness for having had the opportunity to study at one of Germany’s top universities.

Later in the evening, conversations shifted to discuss and debate the state and purpose of “Alumni Programs”, and the differences between such programs in Germany versus the US (hint: for most alumni programs at US schools, fund raising is a key objective – and yes, that’s even the case for public schools).

There were also some healthy and insightful discussions about potential future agendas and locations for our next alumni meetings. Everybody seemed to agree though that we “absolutely” should have another “University of Tuebingen Alumni Meeting” in 2020!

Author: Lothar Schubert, Alumnus of the University of Tübingen, Diplome Physics and Japanese, lives in San Francisco now