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100th Anniversary of the Catholic University of Lublin

The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (abbreviated as KUL, formerly until 2005 Catholic University of Lublin) is one of the oldest Polish universities. It started its activities on 8 December 1918, shortly after Poland regained its independence. Over the one hundred years of its existence it has become an important centre of Catholic thought, influencing the shape of Polish science and culture. It was the first university that restarted activities after the Second World War. It played a special role during the period of the Polish People’s Republic. Despite the repression, it retained its identity, remaining the only centre of free thought in the socialist bloc, and was referred to as an “island of freedom”. It gave shelter to lecturers and students who had been removed from other universities because of their opposition activities. For almost a quarter of a century, Father Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, contributed to the development of the university as a lecturer in ethics. The fall of communism enabled the rapid development of the university – new departments and degree programmes were created and the number of employees and students increased significantly.

The founder of the university, Father Idzi Radziszewski, encapsulated his mission in the words: Deo et Patriae. The aim of KUL is to educate people to be good citizens inspired by Christian values. Remaining faithful to this task, the university has educated 120,000 graduates. Many of them occupy positions of responsibility, serve the Church, fulfil important social or political roles, excel in business, or co-create culture.

KUL is a university open to the challenges facing civilisation and science in the modern world. It cooperates with almost 200 universities from all over the world. It conducts scientific research in harmony between science and faith. This covers not only fields that are characteristic of a Catholic university, such as theology or philosophy, but also the humanities, law, social science, and recently natural and exact sciences. Over 11,000 students and doctoral students, including a growing group of foreigners, are studying 47 degree programmes.

The importance of KUL in Polish history was recognised by the Senate of the Republic of Poland, which announced 2018 the Year of the 100th Anniversary of KUL. On the reverse of the gold coin is the coat-of-arms of KUL, while on the obverse is the motto of the university “Deo at Patriae” (God and Country), expressing the mission of the university. Next to it is the symbol of the university authorities, and in the background is the organ from the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński Auditorium, in which the most important ceremonies take place. Father Idzi Radziszewski (1871−1922), founder and first rector of the university, is commemorated on the reverse of the silver coin. In the background is the logotype of the eight currently existing faculties of the university. On the obverse is the motto of the university, and next to it the number 100 is a direct reference to the anniversary of the founding of KUL.

Leszek Wojtowicz
The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin