20 March 2018

Henk Kummeling to become new Rector Magnificus

The Supervisory Board of Utrecht University has appointed Prof. Henk Kummeling as Rector Magnificus. On 1 June 2018, he will be succeeding Prof. Bert van der Zwaan. Kummeling is presently a distinguished professor of Utrecht University.

'In Henk Kummeling, Utrecht University has once again found a very committed and ambitious Rector Magnificus', says the chair of the Supervisory Board, Prof. Emmo Meijer. 'He is an academic with a vision and appeal that transcends disciplines. He also cares deeply about education. As an administrative e­xecutive, he has proven that he is an excellent university representative, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and that he is well aware of staff and student sentiment. These are crucial qualities for implementing the strategic plan of the university and harnessing all of the potential that Utrecht has to offer in educating new generations and addressing the issues of tomorrow together with our partners.'

Distinguished professor

Kummeling (1961) studied law in Nijmegen, where he also took his doctoral degree in 1988. In 1994, he was appointed professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Tilburg University. He has been a professor in Utrecht since 1995. Here, he served as dean of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance from 1 September 2008 until 1 September 2014. In 2015, the Executive Board appointed him a distinguished professor of Utrecht University for his outstanding academic record. Between 2002 and 2006, Kummeling chaired the committee that introduced the 'Utrecht teaching model'. He has lectured in China, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Suriname and South Africa.

Lecturer of the year

Law students in Utrecht and Tilburg have elected him 'lecturer of the year' on numerous occasions. Besides his work at the university, Kummeling is also otherwise active in society, including as chair of the national Electoral Council from 2004 to 2016.

Ambitions

Kummeling is very much looking forward to his new role. 'Our university has a strategic plan detailing wonderful ambitions: more interdisciplinarity in research and education, internationalisation, small-scale and intensive teaching and further embedding of the university in society. I look forward to contributing to achieving these goals, engaged in inspiring dialogue with my colleagues on the Executive Board, faculty administrators, the employee and student representative bodies, staff and students.'

Appointment procedure

Kummeling's appointment by the Supervisory Board was the result of a stringent procedure in which, among other things, university representative bodies could suggest candidates. The selection committee comprised a wide variety of members and was expanded to include two prominent female professors, in response to the emphatic desire of the academic community in this regard. Kummeling has been appointed for a four-year term with the possibility to be re-appointed.

Symbolic transfer during Anniversary Day celebrations

The symbolic transfer of the position of Rector Magnificus will take place during the 382nd Anniversary Day celebrations of Utrecht University in the Dom Church, on 26 March. This will also mark the start of Bert van der Zwaan's retirement. 'The university is highly grateful for his excellent service. He played a prominent role in recent years in bolstering the quality of research and teaching at Utrecht University', Emmo Meijer says. In addition to the Rector Magnificus, the Executive Board comprises Prof. Anton Pijpers as its President and Prof. Annetje Ottow as Vice President. In the period between 26 March and 1 June, they will be temporarily assuming the Rector's responsibilities.