“Could someone bring me a glass of wine because now we need to do a toast. We have had too few of those. Maybe get me two glasses, actually,” said Per Holten-Andersen, the retiring President of CBS at the beginning of his farewell speech, which you can listen to at the bottom of the article.
On February 27, Per Holten-Andersen had his farewell reception at Ovnhallen (Kiln) after seven years of service as the President of CBS. He gave out hugs, handshakes and his favorite cream cake, ‘Gåsebryst’ to everyone who attended.
Among the attendees was Per Holten-Andersen’s successor, the Professor of Economics, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller. And Per Holten-Andersen had a few words for him.
“I won’t walk in and out of our office, and I’ll do my best to keep out of your hair and your pockets, but I wish you the best of luck, and I wish CBS the best of luck,” he said.
Students, faculty and staff were represented at the reception. However, Per Holten-Andersen wanted to give his thanks and recognition especially to the staff members who he describes as being “sometimes-invisible.”
“I would like to thank the people who are not recognized very often in day-to-day university life. The burden of administration, it is sometimes called. The bureaucracy,” he said and continued:
“Those are the people who actually get this machine working day to day. And we very seldom praise them. I would like to raise a toast to all those people who are sometimes invisible and not recognized, and I think I would like to recognize how they make this institution function, and say thank you,” he said.
During Per Holten-Andersen’s time as the President of CBS, several cases have forced the president to take a stand publicly. One of the cases involved international faculty, who were criminalized for sharing their research. However, in the end, politicians changed the law making it potentially illegal for international faculty to share their knowledge.
To the international faculty Per Holten-Andersen said:
“I would also specifically like to thank our international staff for keeping a cool head during what I would call challenging times. And I would like to reiterate that you have all the support you need from this institution. And if we should ever run into similar situations again, that support will still be there,” he stated.
In the speech, Per Holten-Andersen also reflected on some of the tasks as President of CBS. For example, the annual visits to the departments from which he shared an anecdote.
“DIR visits all departments once a year, and at this particular department the department head invited us and said: Oh, it’s so nice to have you here for lunch,” he said and continued:
“And I responded: I’m not quite sure that I’m able to accommodate the somewhat cannibalistic view of this department. Because ‘having you for lunch’ is not actually what I was expecting. They changed the wording next time we visited.”
It can be hard to keep track of what a president spends his time on, but Per Holten-Andersen actually kept a record of his time. At least, the time he spent in meetings and on travels.
“In the course of what I have just talked about, I’ve had 66 international travels, and you shouldn’t brag about that. Flown around the globe 6.5 times, had 176 DIR meetings, 43 HSU meetings, 49 Academic Council meetings and 39 board meetings. I hope they were all efficient meetings. I can’t remember them all,” he said.
Listen to Per Holten-Andersen’s speech here: