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Former Rector Carel Stolker’s valedictory lecture buried according to tradition

After three years of covid postponements, the time had finally come on Wednesday 29 June 2022: Carel Stolker’s last speech as Rector Magnificus was buried according to tradition under the ginkgo tree in the library at the Kamerlingh Onnes building.

Rinny Kooi, a plant sciences lecturer and one of the initiators of the tradition, explained how a birch tree had first stood in the same spot but hadn’t survived. The ginkgo, however, is flourishing. Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl and former rectors Douwe Breimer and Paul van der Heijen were given a trowel, and beadle Erick van Zuijlen handed over the waterproof tube containing the speech.

At the reception after the ceremony, student board members interviewed Carel Stolker and invited him to look back at past experiences and look forward to the future. His advice: don’t plan down to the smallest detail but leave a little room for chance. And don’t forget you’re part of a community. Rector Hester Bijl was all too happy to drink to this.

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