Schiller International University's 60th anniversary party Skip to main content Skip to footer

60 years ago, Schiller International University was just a dream. Dr. Walter Leibrecht wanted to establish an American learning method that would thrive in Europe. He chose Kleiningersheim (Germany) and started turning his dream into reality: to allow international students to practice American studies immersed in European culture.

Over half a century later, thousands of students have walked through the doors of our global campuses and graduated ready for employment in an ever-expanding, multicultural world.

Observing their growth daily—whether on social media, through networking, or as they leave classrooms with newfound confidence—made us realize that this moment couldn't merely be a date on the calendar. It deserved to be an entire celebration.

Meaning of alumni for Schiller International

During the weekend of June 14, Schiller International University held its inaugural Global Alumni Reunion. The event was spearheaded by our President and CEO, Marta Muñiz, along with our Director of Corporate Communications and PR, Carmen Gómez Menor, and a dedicated team from the Madrid campus, including student volunteers. This three-day celebration began at Schiller's Madrid campus, one of the university's three European locations. A delegation from GEDU, led by Group CEO Dr. Rana, made a special trip to Madrid to attend as honored guests.

For Carmen, fostering a strong relationship with our alumni is vital. 'Strictly speaking, alumni are a university's graduating students. But for Schiller, alumni are a testament to the university's lifelong impact and dedication to developing leaders who make a positive difference in the world. They are our best ambassadors and an essential element of our community, serving as mentors, advisors, and potential employers of our current students.'

Ankur Mehta, Dr. Rana, Marta Muñiz, Otto Sonnenholzner and Alex Mejia in front of a tv with a blue screen

Ankur Mehta, Dr. Rana, Marta Muñiz, Otto Sonnenholzner and Alex Mejia

A historical agreement, another reason to celebrate

Although it was tempting to keep the festivities going on Friday, everyone knew that the main event awaited on Saturday.

On Saturday, June 15, SIU’s Madrid campus opened its doors to welcome alumni from all over the world, celebrating one of the many significant milestones in the university’s history. This event marked the signing of an agreement between Schiller International University and UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, to offer students learning and training opportunities. It was heartening to see alumni witness Schiller’s continued strides toward the future, reflecting on the institution's growth and the accomplishments of our students. Throughout the day, we were treated to insightful talks by experts, showcasing the expertise of our community.

A highlight of the event was "Rewiring Minds," a captivating discussion between Mariano Sigman and Johan Hari on AI, learning and attention, which sparked many thought-provoking conversations. This was followed by "Schiller Live: Stories of a Global Journey," where alumni shared their anecdotes and insights, enriching us with their experiences and perspectives.

Then we set off for adventure, following the footsteps of Marco Polo with Stanley Johnson, before paying a heartfelt tribute to our founder, Dr. Walter Leibrecht. Led by his son, Harald Leibrecht, and Schiller alumni Sonya Holley, the ceremony honored the visionary who brought us together. At Schiller International University, we understand the importance of remembering our origins and are committed to honoring our roots.

In this series of tributes, we couldn’t overlook the great poet Friedrich Schiller, after whom our university is named. The day concluded with an emotional reading of Schiller’s poetry by former Madrid campus professor Paul Isbell, accompanied by virtuoso violinist Cristina Pascual Godoy, marking the end of a truly remarkable day.

A man and a woman are giving a talk about Dr.Walter Leibrecht in an auditorium with a crowd looking.

A tribute to Dr.Walter Leibrecht


The first ever Global Alumni Awards

A few hours later, in the scenic vineyards of Bodega Valazul on the outskirts of Madrid, alumni began to gather for an organic wine tasting, setting the stage for the inaugural Schiller Alumni Awards.

Could Dr. Leibrecht have ever imagined that the school he founded in Germany would grow to shape the lives of future leaders like Otto Sonnenholzer, a former Vice President of Ecuador; revolutionize football through the efforts of Robert Pongracz, a Football Operations Specialist; impact an entire nation like Uganda with the contributions of Patricia Kevine Litho; or step into the world of crypto research with Iñigo Gaston?

Contrarily, did these distinguished nominees, as young students, ever envision that their education would lead them on such remarkable journeys?

We celebrated our achievements by handing out awards, expressing gratitude and acknowledging our collective effort as a team and institution, united by a shared belief that continues to thrive. Following the ceremony, we took to the dance floor, where the music kept our spirits high until it was time to call it a night.

AA group of people receiving an award

Our first ever Schiller Global Alumni Award winners

On the last day, Professor José Pinto organized a guided tour that allowed our alumni to discover the hidden secrets of Madrid while learning about diversity, innovation and visionaries who left their mark. This "learning by living" experience put them in the shoes of Professor Pinto's students.

The weekend was unforgettable, leaving us tired, happy, and proud to be part of Schiller. We eagerly anticipate next stop in Heidelberg in September, to continue celebrating six decades of academic excellence!





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