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As part of its 100th anniversary, EM Strasbourg organized an opening ceremony followed by a tribute to resistance fighter Jean-Pierre Lévy

Publié le November 15, 2019, Mis à jour le November 15, 2019

On October 18, EM Strasbourg celebrated its centennial in front of an audience of all ages—composed of lecturers and leading figures from the academic world, students and graduates, past and present deans, as well as representatives of the French Republic and the Resistance—before paying tribute to one of its illustrious students, resistance fighter Jean-Pierre Lévy, Companion of the Liberation, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, and Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit.

100th Anniversary Ceremony

100th Anniversary Ceremony

EM turns 100!

EM Strasbourg’s history dates back to December 11, 1919, when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry founded IECS. In 2007, IECS and IAE Strasbourg merged to form EM Strasbourg Business School—even before the city's three universities merged to form the University of Strasbourg in 2009. While EM Strasbourg has changed its name and, on several occasions, its location, it has never lost sight of its identity over the decades. In his speech, Herbert Castéran, the current dean of EM Strasbourg, explained that since its foundation, the School "has always held firmly to its values". Values such as openness to international relations and companies as well as academic excellence are hallmarks of the School.

The speakers—Sabine Urban, dean from 1980 to 1991, Herbert Castéran, and his predecessors, Hans Tümmers, Gilles Lambert, and Babak Mehmampazir—all praised these fundamental values and this openness to the world. The School’s international outlook truly leaves a mark on students, lecturers, and partners alike, which delights Jean-Luc Heimburger, president of the CCI, Jean-Michel Haget, president of EM Strasbourg Alumni, and, of course, Kevin Mac Gabhann, director of international relations.
Speech by Michel Deneken
Speech by Michel Deneken

Proud and moving testimonials in the form of speeches followed one after the other. Pride in the School's history but also in the personal role each individual played in its development shone through. This was the case for Michel Deneken, chairperson of the University of Strasbourg, who underlined the originality of EM: the only business school in France to be part of a university. Based on the international model, the School’s affiliation to the University facilitates partnerships with universities abroad.

Patrick Hetzel, president of EM Strasbourg, confirms this notion of "double DNA": management and economic development on the one hand and university knowledge on the other. This collaboration allows the School "to strongly promote the European values of humanity and humanism."

Tribute to Jean-Pierre Lévy, an IECS graduate and great resistance fighter

These values, so dear to the hearts of all EM Strasbourg actors, have been deeply rooted in the School's history for several generations. One of their most emblematic ambassadors, Jean-Pierre Lévy, a 1927 graduate of IECS, promoted them throughout his life and heroic career as a resistance fighter by brilliantly distinguishing himself as the founder of Franc-Tireur, a Resistance newspaper that played a key role in one of the Resistance's three major movements. His career as a senior civil servant in the ministère de l’Industrie et du Commerce [Ministry of Industry and Trade] following the Liberation should also be commended along with his great contribution to the Résistance Foundation, which he established.

The journey of this leading figure of the Resistance perfectly illustrates the School's signature: "Be Distinctive," for EM Strasbourg is indeed dedicated to supporting students in their personal and professional fulfilment by emphasizing just how much potential each of us has to accomplish extraordinary things provided we respect these great values. EM Strasbourg’s tribute to Jean-Pierre Lévy was self-evident during the ceremony, which ended with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque in the presence of his family and an audience of leading figures. The Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, Geneviève Darrieussecq, notably mentioned "the honor and respect that we owe to this twentieth-century hero, and that we owe to EM for choosing to honor him in this way."
Reading Jean-Pierre Lévy's memoirs
Reading Jean-Pierre Lévy's memoirs

The tribute was all the more touching as it began with the French Resistance’s anthem, “Le Chant des partisans”, sung, in heartfelt silence, by middle school choir students from Collège Foch in Strasbourg. EM Strasbourg students also participated in the tribute: two of them read passages from Jean-Pierre Lévy's memoirs, and a German student spoke about the importance of Franco-German friendship in her daily life.

While Patrick Hetzel, President of EM Strasbourg, recalled Jean-Pierre Lévy's heroic fight for freedom which conveyed his values of conviction, commitment, and dedication, Bernard Roth, also an IECS graduate and friend of Jean-Pierre Lévy, expressed the extent to which this exceptional man “became his hero.” As for Gilles-Pierre Lévy, the son of Jean-Pierre and president of the Résistance Foundation, he read General Baptiste's tribute to his father attesting to how he had “weighed on events aimed at restoring France's freedom and honor.”

This moving ceremony, which ended with “La Marseillaise” sung in unison, kicked off the festivities that took place throughout the weekend and included Alumni meetings, conferences, and convivial dinners.
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