The 65th birthday of Professor Dr Udo Steffens, President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, was celebrated at a birthday reception held at Deutsche Bank on May 12, 2015. The reception was organised by Rainer Neske, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Foundation, and attended by 150 guests, including friends and supporters, current and former members of the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board, representatives from the worlds of politics, business and Frankfurt’s civic community, FS graduates and alumni, and members of the business school’s Executive Board. At the President’s personal request, instead of bringing birthday gifts, guests made donations towards the new Frankfurt School campus and buildings, pledging a total of 79,000 euros to the project.
From Oldenburg to Frankfurt via West Africa
In his welcome address, Rainer Neske outlined the milestones in Udo Steffens’s career to date. He reminded listeners that Udo Steffens first started working part-time for Bankakademie, Frankfurt School’s forerunner, while still teaching at secondary school in Oldenburg. In the 1980s, Udo Steffens travelled to Africa, where he set up and managed a new bookselling, publishing and printing company in Togo as a cooperative development project under the auspices of the church. In Cameroon, he played an advisory role on several projects, and then joined Bankakademie as a full-time faculty member upon his return to Germany. In 1996, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Management and President of the University. Under his guidance, the institution made impressive progress. Bankakademie and HfB were successfully merged to form Frankfurt School, an internationally renowned, university-standard business school with outstanding research strengths. The portfolio was expanded, and the business school earned the right to confer doctorates. Frankfurt School is now established as a strong brand and has been awarded two major international accreditations by AACSB and EQUIS. A large part of the credit for this transformation must go to Udo Steffens.
Frankfurt School, continued Rainer Neske, is still growing steadily; hence the need for the new campus that is currently being built in Frankfurt’s Adickesallee. Rainer Neske stressed the significance of support from Frankfurt School’s Friends and alumni in this endeavour, appealing to guests to open their hearts to Frankfurt School and the new campus, and warmly thanking all sponsors present for their generous contributions.
In turn, Udo Steffens thanked Rainer Neske for all his hard work as Chairman of Frankfurt School’s Board of Trustees, and for organising the birthday celebration. He also underlined the exceptional importance of the varied and extensive support that has so generously been given to Frankfurt School as the institution steadily ascends to ever greater heights. He warmly thanked guests for the donations pledged to the new campus as “birthday gifts” in his honour, concluding that this companionship, sponsorship and support are all expressions of confidence in Frankfurt School from which he himself draws strength and inspiration.
At the subsequent reception, guests met and mingled with friends and acquaintances old and new, as well as long-time colleagues and companions from Frankfurt School. Frankfurt School’s developments and plans were discussed in much detail, while sponsors were able to view representations of plaques acknowledging their generous donations on a temporary model of the full-scale Donor Wall that will eventually stand in the foyer of the new Frankfurt School campus.