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István Tisza, the Founder of the University

Before the dedication of the statue erected to commemorate the statesman instrumental in the foundation of the university and after whom it was originally named, a symposium titled “István Tisza and the University of Debrecen” was held in the Aula.

On the anniversary of the death of Count István Tisza de Borosjenő et Szeged, the links between the former prime minister and the institute was held at the University of Debrecen on 31 October.

“2016 is not only important at the 155th anniversary of the birth of Tisza, but also because it was exactly 95 years ago, in 1921, that the first ‘christening’ of the university took place, and it was 95 years ago that the full-size statue of the former prime minister was unveiled at its original location”, as Róbert Kerepeszki, assistant professor at the Institute of History, highlighted at the symposium.

The prime minister of tragic fate was a student of the famous Reformed College, and he has imperishable merits related to the foundation of the Civis Town: the institute first adopted his name in 1921, and was called Hungarian Royal “István Tisza” University of Debrecen, and the the statue was originally dedicated to his memory in 1926, then located outside the university clinics.

László Pallai, historian, recalled that governor Miklós Horthy unveiled the statue of István Tisza on 17 October 1926, the same day when the keystone of the university clinics was placed. “On 24 April 1945, university students knocked down the statue, and it was only resolved by 1999, thanks to the Architecture Protection and Preservation Society of Debrecen, that it would be reinstalled in the following year at the old location in front of the clinics.

Discussing the relationship of István Tisza and Debrecen at the symposium, professor Pál Fodor also recalled that Tisza was a volunteer of the Hussar Regiment of Debrecen, and then served in World War I as the commander of that regiment.

The process of relocating the statue was started at the initiative of the student government; however, Péter Körösparti, former president of the organisation highlighted the fact that a dormitory had already been named after the politician about ten years before.

Péter Körösparti announced at the symposium the foundation of the István Tisza Society so that history students would be able to learn about the life and work of the former prime minister, as well as his role in the life of the University of Debrecen, in accordance with the historical facts.

Honouring the spirit represented by Tisza, the University of Debrecen established the “István Tisza Prize”, which can be awarded to persons with providing outstanding supporting to the work of the institute.

Zoltán Szilvássy, rector, first presented Péter Körösparti with the recognition.


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Szilvássy Zoltán