TU Ilmenau mourns the death of its former rector Prof. Dagmar Schipanski

Professor Dagmar Schipanski has died at the age of 79

The Technische Universität Ilmenau mourns the death of its former rector, Prof. Dagmar Schipanski. She died on September 7 at the age of 79. From 1995 to 1996, Dagmar Schipanski was the first woman to head a technical university in Germany, Rector of the TU Ilmenau, and then, again as the first woman, Chairwoman of the Science Council of the Federal Republic of Germany, the most important science policy advisory body to the federal and state governments on science and research issues. Dagmar Schipanski was married and the mother of three children. Most recently, she lived again in Ilmenau.

The President of TU Ilmenau, Prof. Kai-Uwe Sattler, paid tribute to Prof. Dagmar Schipanski as a woman who fought with great foresight for the interests of the university and science in general: "When it came to her convictions in matters of higher education and science, Dagmar Schipanski was unwavering, whereby as a fighter for democracy she always placed the greatest value on fair and binding dealings with her fellow human beings. During her tenure as rector not long after the political turnaround, she not only shaped the TU Ilmenau as an outstanding location for research and teaching across borders, she was also committed to building human bridges. The understanding between East and West was a matter close to her heart throughout her life. Dagmar Schipanski has represented TU Ilmenau throughout Germany and the world in a wonderful way."

Dagmar Schipanski was born in Sättelstädt, Thuringia, in 1943. She studied applied physics in Magdeburg in the 1960s and later engaged in basic research on semiconductor devices at what was then Technical University, the predecessor of Technische Universität Ilmenau. Although she received her doctorate in 1976 and her habilitation in 1985, the highly qualified scientist's career in the GDR era ended after 18 years with a senior assistant position because she refused to join the SED.

After the political turnaround, Dagmar Schipanski was appointed professor of solid-state electronics at TU Ilmenau in 1990. From 1995 to 1996, she was the first woman to head a technical university in Germany, serving as rector of the TU Ilmenau and laying the foundation for the university's current profile as well as for the establishment of non-university research institutions in Ilmenau. The so-called Ilmenau Model can also be traced back to Dagmar Schipanski. When three new media degree programs were established during her tenure, the interdisciplinary orientation was a particular concern of hers: a triad of technical, business and communication science orientation. After leaving the TU Ilmenau, Dagmar Schipanski continued to work intensively for her university, among other things in the circle of supporters and friends, the "Universitätsgesellschaft Ilmenau - Freunde, Förderer, Alumni e. V.", which she led as chairman of the board until her death.

In 1996, Prof. Dagmar Schipanski also became the first woman to chair the Science Council of the Federal Republic of Germany,the most important science policy advisory body to the federal and state governments on science and research issues. In the same year, she was awarded the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1999, she ran for the office of Federal President, but was defeated by Johannes Rau. From 1999 to 2004, she was Minister of Science, Research and the Arts of the Free State of Thuringia, and from 2004 to 2009 she was President of the Thuringian State Parliament. She was a member of the CDU presidium until 2006 and has since been a member of the party's federal executive committee.

Dagmar Schipanski has championed the interests of science and human cohesion across borders in numerous international organizations around the world: as a member of the UNESCO World Commission on Ethics in Science and Technology (2001 to 2007), as a member of the International Advisory Board of the United Nations University in Tokyo, as a senator at the Max Planck Society (1999 to 2011) and as a senator at the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (1995 to 2000).