THE RECTOR’S SPEECH
Dear students and esteemed colleagues,
On the website of the UMF anyone can read about the history of the University “Carol Davila”, about our study programs, graduate and postgraduate studies, specializations, master’s degrees, Ph.Ds, senior specialist programs, about the University Charter, the University Code of Ethics, about our bilateral agreements with 51 universities in the world and many, many other things! Therefore, instead of repeating all this information, I have decided on a different speech, aimed particularly at the newly arrived, my colleagues, our first year colleagues!
Thinking about them I have chosen and I will quote some beliefs that have withstood the test of time:
“Life is short whereas the science of medicine is long”…You have chosen a profession for which you have to learn a lifetime and you will never learn enough. Welcome! Our school aims to offer you a solid, firm foundation for a construction which you will have to continue throughout your whole life.
“Health means much more than any other possessions so that a healthy beggar is happier than a sick king.” Shopenhauer said. Therefore, you have chosen a profession which can make people happy! Petre Ţuţea called medicine “an art of healing which has virtually no limit”. You have the chance to discover a profession where only the sky is the limit, out of which you can make an art, whether you choose to become a practitioner, a scientific researcher or a manager of health care systems and structures. However, whatever you choose, there is a common denominator: you have chosen a profession where mediocrity and incompetence are forbidden!
You have chosen a profession where there is no excuse for improvising. Even if, at times, your material or living conditions will seem unsatisfactory or difficult, even if rightly so, I advise you not to become discouraged and instead to keep working and studying. In the end, no work remains unrewarded! Unlike other generations in the relatively recent history of Romania, you have the freedom to learn, the right to learn and the duty to learn.
Referring to learning, in the Indian wisdom which has withstood millennia, there is a saying: “Learning is the most refined beauty of man; learning gives glory and joy, learning is a great fortune which does not diminish through the act of giving”… UMF has dedicated professors who look forward to share their knowledge with you and I hope you will know how to receive this gift. But be careful, because “it is better not to know something than to learn it incorrectly!” And, similarly “primum non nocere”, i.e. “first, do no harm”, will remain an essential principle of medical practice.
Dear students, you will always have to make a choice. Sometimes, you will simply have to choose between “having fun” and “learning”. In connection with having fun, I do not want to frighten you, but Horatio used to say: “he who tries to attain his goal, endures a lot in his youth, sweats and freezes”. Aristotle, more optimistically, thought that “the roots of learning are bitter, yet the fruit is sweet!” Welcome, dear students, to the land of bitter roots!
In a socio-professional study, Pascal said: “Many were endowed with extraordinary talents; yet, because they lacked courage, they lived like the dead and they ended up by being buried in their passivity”. I urge you to be courageous and active!
We are in a school of great complexity: I will not list now all the significant figures, the large number of students and teachers, the hundreds of thousands of volumes in the library, the laboratories, the hostels, the scholarships, the competitive clinics, etc. It is only up to you how you will use all the study and research opportunities offered by our university. “The same earth, the same water; and yet, due to the difference between those who use them, they become sweetness in the mango tree and bitterness in the nimba tree”…
Dear students and colleagues, “few are those who organize their lives and things according to a plan; the others, as if they were floating on a river, do not go in one direction, but are borne by the waves…This is why we have to decide what we want to do and to persevere in that direction.” I wish you to succeed and I urge you not to let yourselves at the mercy of the waves, or to forget for a single minute the aim of your presence in this school!
Our school has the desire and the purpose to be a place of intellectual solidarity, dignity and fair-play competitiveness, a place of professional performance.
Through all these ancient and modern beliefs I wish simply to urge you to learn well and to be aware of the fact that you are living an extraordinary period in your life!
In conclusion, “From now on, where you come from should not be your pride, but where you are going!” You have come to our university from all over the country and I hope that together we can head in the right direction. I also hope that you will consider this school where you will learn medicine a true construction made up of effort, work, achievements and professional performance.
Although there is a belief that by saying your wishes aloud you risk multiplying the obstacles, I will confess that my desire as a Rector is that UMF- our school of medicine, with such a rich tradition and which has given so many outstanding personalities during its 156 years of existence and resistance - may find itself, in a not too distant future, among the first 500 top universities in the world. We have a lot of premises so as to reach this goal. It depends on you, it depends on each one of us, it depends on all of us. I would like to thank you and to wish you many accomplishments in the academic year 2013-2014!
Rector: Academician Ioanel Sinescu
1 October 2013