“Dem lebendigen Geist” Campaign

In 2011 Heidelberg University, or Ruperto Carola, will celebrate its 625th birthday to mark its founding in 1386. To ensure the future success of Germany’s oldest university, the "Dem lebendigen Geist. Neue Universität 2011+" initiative was begun in February 2009. The campaign, under the sponsorship of former German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, is intended to garner the much-needed support of university alumni, friends and patrons for the modernization and refurbishment of the “Neue Universität” building in time for the 2011 celebration.

The “Neue Universität”, built in the 1920s with donations from America, embodies the close relationship between Ruperto Carola and the United States like no other structure. Out of dedication to Heidelberg University Jacob Gould Schurman, then U.S. Ambassador to Germany, initiated a campaign in the States to fund the construction of this much-needed building. American students know the “Neue Universität” well, and not just from lectures.  It is where the four-hour German-language competency exam required for entrance to the university is administered, and thus represents the gateway into academic life for generations of international students. In the meantime, this deeply symbolic, nearly 80-year-old building is in dire need of renovation.

The “Dem lebendigen Geist” fundraising project honors the history of this building. In keeping with the tradition of the original campaign, we are asking friends and alumni of Heidelberg University in the United States to support this initiative to breathe new life into the “Neue Universität”. Approx. 10 million euros are needed for the renovation of this building, so important to the university. Through donations large and small, about half the necessary funds have been raised over the last several months.

“Dem lebendigen Geist” is the inscription over the main entrance of the “Neue Universität”. It dates back to literary historian Friedrich Gundolf, professor of German language and literature in Heidelberg and one of the most famous scholars of the Weimar Republic. At the same time, these words also represent the heart and soul of the university and its associates: “To serve the living spirit of truth, justice and humanity”, the credo of Ruperto Carola as expressed by the famous Heidelberg philosopher Karl Jaspers on the reopening of the “Neue Universität” after the Second World War.

Please follow in the footsteps of your fellow Americans who first made this building a reality and support the modernization and renovation of the “Neue Universität”. You, too, can be a part of the future success of this tradition-rich institution.

We are grateful for your support. Your donation is fully tax-deductible.
Heidelberg University Association is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

Please make checks payable to:
Heidelberg Unversity Association
“Dem Lebendigen Geist.”

Please mail checks to
Heidelberg University Association
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017

To pay with credit card using PayPal,
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Please call Heidelberg University Association at

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