UZH Alumni Founding Party

A Great Party with Buster Keaton

The UZH Alumni held a party to celebrate its founding – starring silent film great Buster Keaton and a newly planted Mirabelle de Nancy plum tree.

Thomas Gull

Stehdinner Image Gallery
UZH Alumni’s founding party with cinematic twist: Buster Keaton in the silent film “The Cameraman”. (Picture: Lorenz Pachmann) (Image: Lorenz Pachmann)


In May, the University of Zurich’s two alumni associations, the Alumni Association of the University of Zurich (ZUNIV) and Alumni UZH, merged to form a new large association for the alumni, UZH Alumni. Last Friday, a party was held to celebrate the founding of this association. The first part of the evening featured a screening of Buster Keaton’s classic silent film “The Cameraman” (1928) in the main lecture hall, which was accompanied by Alexander Shivov on the piano – an outstanding cinematic and musical experience. After a change of scenery to the Zoological Museum, the celebrations then continued with a stand-up dinner party set to some jazzy tunes and a witty welcome speech given by President Michael Hengartner. In his address, the President emphasized the important role of the University’s former students as ambassadors for their alma mater who carry their enthusiasm for UZH out into society, politics, and business and thus magnify its positive image manifold.

As a founding gift, President Hengartner gave the new association a Mirabelle de Nancy plum tree. The small tree had been planted in the lawn in front of the Stockargut pavilion a couple of days earlier. This “alumni tree” right in front of the Office of the President is intended to delight those passing by as well as be a reminder that UZH alumni are important members of the UZH family, the President stressed. In addition, the tree would soon bear sweet fruit, much like the work carried out by UZH alumni. In honor of the day, the president raised a glass of plum schnapps together with UZH Alumni co-presidents Denise Schmid and Peter Isler, congratulating the newly founded association, which today has about 17,000 members – a number that is expected to grow even further in the future.

UZH alumni associations joining forces

In May 2017, the Alumni Association of the University of Zurich (ZUNIV) and the previous umbrella organization Alumni UZH merged to form a new association, “UZH Alumni”. While this name was inspired by the former Alumni UZH, the association will maintain the traditions, events, and commitments of ZUNIV. This is also reflected in the new association’s logo, which features the line “gegründet 1883 als Zürcher Hochschulverein” (founded in 1883 as the Zürcher Hochschulverein).

Alumni UZH was the umbrella organization of UZH’s 27 alumni chapters, counting some 17,000 members. ZUNIV was the oldest and, with 3,700 members, largest organization of former students, instructors, and friends of UZH. The new alumni association UZH Alumni is headed up by the former presidents of the previous associations, Denise Schmid (ZUNIV) and Peter Isler (Alumni UZH). The new structure also allows UZH Alumni to admit individual new members. This wasn’t possible before, as you could only be a member of ZUNIV or of one of the faculty, subject, or continuing education associations of Alumni UZH. “The existing events and the long tradition of giving back to the University will be maintained, but there’s now also space for new ideas,” says Denise Schmid. Meanwhile, Peter Isler points out that it’s about providing an infrastructure that will allow former students and UZH to keep in closer touch and maintain their relationship.

Thomas Gull, editor UZH Magazine.

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