The Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Szeged marked its 150th anniversary in the academic year 2022/23, with a commemorative celebration on March 31, under the headline “In service of Hungarian legal education for 150 years."
The esteemed guests included, among many, Prof. Dr. Márta Görög, Dean of the Faculty, Dr. László Salgó, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Szeged Foundation, Prof. Dr. László Rovó, Rector of the University of Szeged, Prof. Dr. János Martonyi, Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Law and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as Dr. Tamás Kiss, one of the founding members of MEFESZ.
“Today, we are gathered here in the main building of our Faculty to remember and celebrate”
In her welcome speech, Prof. Dr. Márta Görög, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences at the University of Szeged, recalled the university’s founding, including the establishment of the Faculty of Law, and Áron Berde and Gáspár Menyhárt, who were pillars of the institution and key figures in higher education.
Prof. Dr. Márta Görög
“Today, we are gathered here in our Faculty’s main building to remember and celebrate the legal community’s 150-year history in Szeged. This is a history that spans cities and human destinies, full of hardships and triumphs. Its twists and turns are marked by the daring and perseverance of brilliant minds, and its traditions are preserved and cherished by a great community. All of us in our community owe a debt of gratitude to our forefathers, the lawyers of the past 150 years, for erecting our alma mater and transforming it into one of the moral and scholarly beacons of our country’s academic and professional life via their tireless efforts. The founders emphasized intellectual fortitude, fame, blessed activity, as well as emotion. These were meant to be our guiding light. What have we added to this in the last 150 years? How did we contribute to the progress of the Hungarian legal profession and the history of our country? We have provided generations of experts to the judiciary and state administration who believe in the democratic power of justice. That is to say, neither our administration nor the Constitutional Court lacked the knowledge and principles brought on by our Faculty’s alumni in the last couple decades. We have been given foundations, values, and traditions not just as a gift, but also to nurture and enrich them. We are proud to make history and our narrative visible within these walls,” remarked the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, emphasizing the significance of the Faculty’s community life through the programs of the 2022/23 academic year.
Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó
The relationship between natural sciences and law was discussed by Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the University of Szeged. He underscored that, in addition to recalling the past, it is necessary to debate current and future concerns, as well as potential solutions, and emphasized the crucial role that the Faculty of Law plays in this context.
Prof. Dr. László Rovó
In connection to Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó’s remarks, Prof. Dr. László Rovó, Rector of the University of Szeged, pointed out various issues in the health care sector, which he assured would be resolved in due course. He recalled that the year-long celebration of the University of Szeged’s double jubilee, which included hundreds of programs, had just ended. Finally, he discussed the University of Szeged’s ranking, the exceptional yet complex work that transpires within the institution’s walls every day, and the role that the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences plays in this.
Professors who have made the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences a household name
Dr. László Salgó, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, emphasized that Szeged is a worthy heir of the University of Cluj-Napoca and carries on its traditions in a worthy manner. Like Prof. Dr. Márta Görög, he recalled the past and praised the former and current lecturers who made the institution a well-known one. He pledged that the Ministry of Justice will continue to support the professional work of the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, which has always been very valuable. He emphasized that not only the Faculty of Law in Szeged, but all Hungarian law faculties, play an outstanding role in the country’s future, and concluded by explaining how recent infrastructure changes have made the Faculty of Law competitive and strong, gaining a new place on the international map, among other things.
Dr. László Salgó
Prof. Dr. János Martonyi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Tamás Kiss, one of MEFESZ’s founding members, recounted their experiences of the Faculty of Law and also spoke about the 1956 revolution.
Prof. Dr. János Martonyi
In addition to the important milestones of his life and career, the professor emeritus of our Faculty also commemorated his father; and one of the founding members of the MEFESZ spoke about the establishment of the Association of Hungarian University and College Students (MEFESZ; Magyar Egyetemisták és Főiskolások Szövetsége).
Dr. Tamás Kiss
Recognitions awarded during the ceremony
Prof. Dr. Márta Görög, Dean of the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, launched a centenary research competition for graduate and doctorate students in the academic year called „In service of the Hungarian legal education for 150 years.” The competition’s goal was twofold: students were invited to participate in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Hungarian University of Cluj-Napoca (later known as the Royal Hungarian Franz Joseph University), as well as the 100th anniversary of its relocation to Szeged.
Interestingly, the call for applications was initially published between 1921 and 1941 by the then-Faculty administration for their law students. The Faculty of Law hoped that by resurrecting these papers, they could pay homage to their forefathers’ work by challenging current students to write essays on the same titles and topics as previous generations who studied here nearly a century ago. In other words, the competition aimed to highlight appreciation for tradition and the academic value-creation process that their predecessors had created and professed.
Among the doctoral students, Kristóf Szivós, assistant lecturer at the Institute of Civilistic Sciences, proved to be the best with his entry on the prohibition of novation in civil appeal proceedings. Among the graduate student submissions, Kristóf Váczi, a fifth-year law student currently finishing his final exams, was awarded the best thesis. He wrote his thesis on criminal attempts, with a focus on so-called failed attempts. Eszter Ribánszki, a law student, received a certificate of merit for her work on the League of Nations and state sovereignty, which was among the entries accepted for the centenary essays.
The handing out of recognitions
The University of Szeged’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences is dedicated to providing high-quality education, academic work, and the cultivation of pupil talent. This is also demonstrated by the Faculty’s establishment of the Ödön Both Public Law History Memorial Competition (Both Ödön Közjogtörténeti Emlékverseny) in 2020, through which high school students can participate in a competition consisting of a short essay, a written test on the fundamentals of public law history, and an oral presentation. Previous competitions have all been won by teams from the same high school. The history and geography teacher of Arany János Református Gimnázium, Technikum és Kollégium (Nagykőrös), as the tutor of the winning high school teams, received a certificate of recognition for her diligent professional effort in talent management.
The event concluded with a toast by Prof. Dr. Elemér Balogh.
Written in Hungarian by Tamara Pósa
Photos taken by Anna Bobkó