In September, Stig Strömholm will turn 90 years old, Bo Sundqvist will turn 80 years old, and in December Eva Åkesson will turn 60 years old. Taken together, they have served as vice-chancellors of Uppsala University for about a quarter of a century. Here are some of the highlights from that history.

Organisational fabric

An organisation like Uppsala University is of course never static and many matter persist over a long period in various ways. A clear example is the Ångström Laboratory. During Stig Strömholm’s term of office as Vice-Chancellor, a decision was made to build the Ångström Laboratory, and in 1997, the same year that Bo Sundqvist took up office as Vice-Chancellor, the Ångström Laboratory was officially opened. During Eva Åkesson’s time as Vice-Chancellor, the decision was made to expand the Ångström Laboratory, the University’s biggest construction project to date. The expansion of the Ångström Laboratory will soon be completed and its grand opening will take place during the current Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt’s term of office. At the time of writing, planning is in full swing for this grand opening on 13 May 2022.

Secured endowments

Stig Strömholm will turn 90 on 16 September. He was Vice-Chancellor from 1989 to 1997. Stig Strömholm’s doctorate was in comparative jurisprudence.

During Stig Strömholm’s time as Vice-Chancellor, a number of older endowments to the University were transformed into foundations. This put an end to a dispute with the Swedish State making it clear that the endowments and the proceeds from them were not general public property but were to go to the objects intended by these endowments, which included research and students.

During Stig Strömholm’s time as Vice-Chancellor, a major refurbishment of the University's premises was initiated – work that was then further developed and carried out with Bo Sundqvist as Vice-Chancellor.

Three disciplinary domains

Bo Sundqvist will turn 80 years old on 21 September, and he was Vice-Chancellor from 1997 to 2006. Bo Sundqvist defended his doctoral thesis in nuclear physics.

Based on a proposal from Bo Sundqvist, the current overarching organisation with three disciplinary domains, three vice-rectors, three disciplinary domain boards, and three faculty offices was decided on in 1998.

It was also during Bo Sundqvist’s time as Vice-Chancellor that a more coherent structure to support research funding, alumni contacts and fundraising was established.

During his term as Vice-Chancellor, major refurbishments of the University’s premises were carried out – a project that began under Stig Strömholm.

Quality assurance, talent attraction, internationalisation, infrastructure

Eva Åkesson will turn 60 years old on 30 December, and was Vice-Chancellor from 2012 to 2020. She defended her doctoral thesis in chemical physics and became the University's first female vice-chancellor.

During Eva Åkesson’s term of office, the University’s Development Plan 2050 was implemented – a comprehensive plan for the future of the University’s physical environment. It was also during Eva Åkesson’s time as vice-chancellor that it was decided to construct the Segerstedt building, a new construction to house the University Administration.

When Eva Åkesson was inaugurated as Vice-Chancellor, she laid the foundations for the strategic priorities that remained in focus throughout her term of office: quality assurance, talent attraction and career systems, internationalisation, and infrastructure. Other important matters were the role of the University in the community at large and forms of management and control within the University.

All of these are matters that remain very much on the agenda, and perhaps are most clearly expressed by the University’s current goals and strategies, which were developed and decided on while Eva Åkesson was Vice-Chancellor.