Saint Albert’s Day, much more than just a faculty festival

The faculties of Science and Chemistry at the University of Salamanca, and all of us who belong to them, are currently celebrating the feast of our patron saint, Saint Albert the Great, on 15 November. But who was Saint Albert the Great? It seems that he was a man of science, linked to chemical science, although this aspect of his life is less well known. Manuel Castillo Marcos, a lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Seville, has published a highly informative study of his contributions, with a special section dedicated to his work in chemistry.

José Antonio Cordón, a student recognised with an extraordinary award who is part of the Air Institute

This year, once again, students, teachers, and administrative and service staff in the field of sciences have enjoyed this special occasion, even more so this time, because of the academic value and the human quality of the honorees at the celebration organised by the heads of the two faculties of the University of Salamanca, Antonio Miguel Martínez Graña and María del Mar Canedo. Congratulations!

The San Alberto festivities always bring back memories of my youth. Saint Albert’s Day has always had a very special meaning to me, as it has marked the different stages of my academic and professional life. Having graduated at the end of the last century, I fondly recall my time as an undergraduate student in Computer Science at the University of Salamanca. Those days as a student were full of valuable moments, shared with friends and teachers, and have created lasting memories.

Presentation of the award to José Rafael García-Bermejo Giner (Coti), with the Dean and Vice-Dean for Teaching of the Faculty of Science.

Over the years, my involvement in these celebrations has evolved significantly. I went from being a student without much interest in what I was doing, to falling in love with my studies and becoming a teacher. At each of these stages, St. Albert’s Day has been a unique opportunity to participate in important ceremonies, such as award ceremonies and retirement commemorations, events that symbolise the recognition and celebration of academic and professional achievements within our community and where, year after year, I have had the opportunity to reconnect with my colleagues and classmates. Despite sharing the same school and department, busy day-to-day life often makes it difficult to find time to talk and reconnect. For this reason, St. Albert’s Day has become a valuable time to strengthen those ties, exchange experiences and share both achievements and challenges.

Cándido García de María, Chemistry teacher recognised at the event

Among the teachers at that time was José Rafael García-Bermejo Giner, known to everyone as Coti. He was the one who taught me how to program. A teacher in every sense of the word, who awakened in me an enthusiasm for computer science and to whom I owe a large part of my academic and professional development. Yesterday, on his retirement, he was warmly received by the entire faculty, and especially by the Department of Computer Science and Automation. We miss you dearly!

In addition, Quintín Martín, from Statistics, and Cándido García de María, from Chemistry, were honoured, and insignias were awarded to the graduates who obtained the best academic reports upon completing their undergraduate studies. My sincere congratulations to all of them, they have all proven to be exceptional. Among them I would like to highlight José Antonio Cordón, a colleague at the University and member of the AIR Institute, who was awarded a special mention for his degree in Computer Science. 

Daniel Hernández Ruipérez during the presentation of his paper.

And finally, there was an outstanding lecture on “Mathematics today and its future” delivered by the excellent Daniel Hernández Ruipérez, former rector of the University of Salamanca and Professor of Geometry and Topology, as well as a good friend of mine after I was part of his team for the four years I served as Vice-Rector for Research and Transfer.

Long live Saint Albert!

Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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