Respected Members of the University Community,
Following the change of regime, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary became one of the main custodians of the spirituality of Reformed colleges. Continuing to work in the Reformed Christian tradition is a mission and a challenge in the modern world. When I accepted my appointment as Rector, I set the protection, preservation and promotion of this tradition as my main goal.
The term universitas denotes ‘the whole’ and ‘universe’, indicating a community space in which professors, researchers and students are committed to the search for scientific truths. The exploration and understanding of these truths is a top priority of their joint work. All this demands a high degree of professionalism and unrelenting determination, especially from Christian believers, in an era characterized by unconditioned and uncritical trust in boundless technological and social progress, the eradication of communal roots and the resilience of local communities, attempts at escaping the natural limits of life, and the relativization of values and virtues that once served as a benchmark. In this world, the mission of a Christian Reformed university is to maintain a vision in which science continues to serve man, and not the other way round. I am convinced that it is the Christian character and spirit of our university that makes our community open and committed to knowledge and the understanding of scientific truths. This is what sets it apart from other people and institutions.
Our mission centers around three pivotal tasks: educating youth and developing young talents, doing research to expand scientific knowledge, and serving the community. These goals are intertwined. None can be complete on their own, they will merge into a mission. Conscientious teaching of youth is essential for the unfolding and fulfilment of their lives, and for awakening their desire to seek truth. Discovering and developing their talent is the key to our common future.
The tireless and meaningful expansion of scientific knowledge is necessary for us to understand the world and to further ruminate on our place in it. It is an essential precondition for our intellectual existence and prudent action. At the same time, all this can only make sense, if it is combined with the service and enrichment of the community in which we live. We develop and expand our individual knowledge at university, but we do so ultimately for the benefit of our closer community and nation. Enriching knowledge in itself is not enough, the interest of the community must also be taken into consideration. All this is aptly expressed by the Reformed bishop László Ravasz, according to whom community does not function without individuals, since a flock will never become a nation. At the same time, the individual is weak without the community. Individual and community are in constant conflict, yet, they assume each other. A precious part of our Christian heritage is the pursuit of a balance that recognizes both the protection of individual autonomy and the communal dimension of the individual’s relationships.
Education, research, and community service embody the pillars on which our university’s vision is built. As the words of the Bible also reflect, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Mt 7:12). I believe that these lines serve as guidance helping the members of our university community achieve our common goals, just as they also bind in accordance with the traditions of a Reformed institution. I invite you to work together in this spirit.
Prof. Dr. László Trócsányi