On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management celebrated the official opening of the university’s new campus in Adickesallee, in Frankfurt’s Nordend district. As well as employees, students and their parents, the event was attended by alumni and numerous guests from the worlds of business, academia and politics – including guests of honour like Dr Thomas Schäfer, Hesse’s Minister of Finance, and Dr Alfred Grosser, Franco-German political scientist and commentator.
Professor Dr Udo Steffens, President of Frankfurt School, welcomed his guests in the campus “mall” – the heart of the building – and shared his enthusiasm for the business school’s new location: “This new campus has everything we hoped for and dreamed of. It is a place that is totally focused on communication and openness. A place for encounters and interesting conversations, a place where people can work together, where friends can meet up and relax over a cup of coffee.”
In his speech, Professor Steffens thanked the business school’s employees and sponsors for their enormous commitment to making the project happen. “At this point, I would like to thank all those involved in the project. Everyone at Frankfurt School pulled together, and prior to and during the construction project itself, we were given able advice and support by partners we have worked with closely over many years, such as Professor Dr h.c. Klaus-Peter Müller. Cooperation by the Board of Trustees and Advisory Board was exemplary. In short, such a large-scale construction project could only have been achieved with this level of support. Even our students helped by organising a crowdfunding campaign and other fundraising activities for the new campus. This has been an amazing team effort and reflects the true spirit of our business school,” emphasised Professor Steffens.
Andreas Horchler, political editor for Hessischer Rundfunk, chaired the event. Finance minister Dr Thomas Schäfer welcomed guests on behalf of the federal state of Hesse, congratulating Frankfurt School on the new campus: “The new building has an incredible amount to offer. But above all, it finally provides teaching staff and students with more space. What has been created here is very impressive, on premises previously occupied by the Regional Tax Office (OFD) which the old Präsidialbau building continues to remind us of.” He felt that the new Frankfurt School building represented a new architectural icon for Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub.
Professor Louis Becker, head of Henning Larsen, the architectural practice that designed the new campus, was pleased to see “how the central ‘Zeil of Knowledge’ has evolved into a spectacular open space where people can meet and interact with each other, and develop a true sense of community.”
The keynote speaker and guest of honour for the evening, French political scientist and commentator Professor Dr Alfred Grosser, talked about the similarities and differences between Germany and France – especially those associated with the two countries’ educational systems. He finished with an appeal to the students, alumni and guests from the worlds of business, academia and politics attending the event: “Elites in Europe have a special responsibility – so please, engage with Europe, the cornerstone of our prosperity.” He also underlined how very important it is for students to take a critical, in-depth look at social and economic trends. In his view, well-educated people have a responsibility to help ensure that social inequalities are not further exacerbated.
Rainer Neske, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, shared his conviction that the new campus represents a milestone for the business school. “This is the right place to fulfil our vision of becoming one of the best business schools in Europe,” he said. In addition, he felt that the new campus, with its state-of-the-art facilities, would give students and researchers additional motivation to continue to produce top-level performance. In his view, the building sets a new standard for European business schools.
The interior design of the new campus’s five tower blocks makes reference to the flora of the five major continents. The campus garden is planted with trees such as the Tokyo cherry and eucalyptus. Physically and figuratively, the new building reflects the international orientation of Frankfurt School and its students. This core principle was highlighted at the ceremony. Five students, representing the American, European, African, Asian and Australasian continents respectively, helped to unroll five seven-meter banners that when joined together, formed a complete picture of the front of the new campus with all five towers.
Accompanied by music, aerial silk artist “Silea” then lowered herself down from the third floor in a dazzling display that finished with the mid-air handover of a symbolic, super-sized key to Professor Steffens.
After the speeches and official handover of the keys, a big campus party gave guests the opportunity to meet each other and chat while enjoying culinary specialities from all over the world. Various attractions, including a Frankfurt School funfair and a social media stand where souvenir photos could be printed out immediately, positively invited guests to linger. The tours of the campus were a special highlight, helping guests get to know the new building in more detail and finishing up on the eighth floor’s roof terrace. Here, under a clear night sky, guests were able to admire a magnificent view of the brightly lit Frankfurt skyline, stretching from the European Central Bank to the Messeturm skyscraper.