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Privatuniversität Witten/Herdecke
Privatuniversität Witten/Herdecke

Germany's first private university founded: Witten/Herdecke

The University of Witten/Herdecke opens its doors in 1983 as Germany's first federally-recognized private university, offering classes in the field of human medicine. In 1986, the Bertelsmann Stiftung steps in to help this pilot institution implement modern reporting and management tools to increase cost-effectiveness, in order to provide it with more resources for carrying out research and developing curricula. In another step geared toward ensuring quality and expanding the institution’s facilities, the university, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia sign a contract on April 25, 1989 for a joint partnership. The funds provided by the foundation for an initial five years will be used to cover administrative costs. To mark Reinhard Mohn’s 70th birthday, the Reinhard Mohn Chair in Corporate Management, Business Ethics and Social Evolution is established in June 1991.

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Activities in the library field
A study funded by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on “Erfolgreicher Bibliotheksarbeit in Sparzeiten” (Successful Library Work in Lean Times) is published in 1983. The foundation supports the expansion of library services in hospitals and nursing homes throughout the Rheda-Wiedenbrück region.

Young people and the media
To bridge the gap between youth studies and empirical media research, work begins in 1983 on a broad study on the extent and structure of everyday media use by young people. Commissioned in 1982 by the ARD/ZDF broadcasting stations and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the study “Jugend und Medien” (Youth and Media) is presented to the public in 1986. It strikes a chord with the public while providing leaders in the media world with important input. The Bertelsmann Stiftung in turn learns a great deal about approaches for future project work.

Modern management for top corporate leaders
A colloquium hosted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on September 15, 1983, compares leadership models from German and US companies and inspires discussion on possible starting points for developing dual governance bodies in German business organizations. Following publication of the study’s results, a follow-on study on the work of supervisory boards in Germany is commissioned in 1985 and published in 1987 as “Der Aufsichtsrat im Wandel” (The Supervisory Board in Transition).

Bertelsmann Stiftung introduces Advisory Council
On January 13, 1983, the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Advisory Council convenes for the first time. Its members -- Prof. Friedhelm Farthmann, Dr. Eberhard Witte, Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf and Dr. Gerd Bucerius -- work to ensure the quality of the foundation’s project work.


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