If you say you go to Penn-State, you mean you are a student of the Pennsylvania State University. Couldn’t we, by this fun analogy, give to our beloved Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University the lovely brief appellation of “Tbil-State”?
Said Tbil-State is ranked number 776 on the list of Best Global Universities, based on its performance in compliance with widely accepted indicators of excellence. And this most prestigious school of Georgia has a new leader: On the 27th of December, the Academic Council of the Tbilisi State University elected its 30th Rector, Academician Jaba Samushia, 51, a well-known Georgian politician and public figure.
The University has a 30,000-strong student body, educated by a 3000-strong qualified faculty, operating within seven departments and 60 scientific centers and research laboratories. Its famous laboratory contains more than four million books and periodic publications at the disposal of its fortunate students and teachers. The University possesses its own publishing house and a newspaper with an 85-year history.
The historic two white buildings of our Tbil-State, making up the hub of its urban campus, shine right in the heart of Tbilisi, triggering the warmest feeling of affiliation in all of us, whether we went to TSU or not. Yes, it is a genuine all-Georgian Alma Mater, so perfectly and expressly reflected in its famous coat of arms, one of the University’s finest attractions, showing a deer nursing its baby doe, and effectively symbolizing the perpetual notion of the nurturing mother of studies.
Keeping up the idea of education, along with the honorable tendency to venerate the founders of Tbilisi State University, come as no accident. The story belongs to time immemorial, and is part of the historically reared and strengthened mindset of this nation, based on the ancient academic processes carried out in this blessed land. This cherished and elevated tradition is still in place and it continues healthily breathing within the walls of the University founded by Ivane Javakhishvili and other Georgian geniuses like him.
Celebrating this year its 105th anniversary, Georgia is poised to have a say, in it this way or that, the notion of TSU being an integral part of our soul, culture and everyday life. No other school will ever be able to take such a moral and spiritual place in the lives of our people, and it needs to be handled with utmost care and calculated subtleness, because the phenomenon of Tbilisi University is not only about education and a subsequent piece of cardboard, called a diploma, but about the unfading intricacies of national pride and mentality.
It all started in 1918, with only 369 students and voluntary attendants, enlightened by just seven full and five assistant professors, three instructors and two scientists. Not exactly a big deal of course, but a huge national endeavor to push forward a young republic beleaguered by revolutionary fluids and warmongering attempts. The famous Harvard started with analogous numbers, though it did so as early as 1636, and currently functions with a $51 billion endowment, making it the wealthiest academic institution in the world. For comparison, Tbil-State spends something like $40 million a year, though the comparison is quite irrelevant at this point, because Tbilisi State University might have much higher specific gravity in our cultural life than Harvard does in America.
Anyways, the main day of celebration of Tbil-State’s 105th birthday, the 8th of February, was full of interesting events: Decorating with wreaths the graveyard busts of the University’s founding fathers at the site of its pantheon; attendance of a mass at the Davit Agmashenebeli Chapel, built and functioning right on the campus; sporting events like street football and a chess competition; a book exhibition and a display of art work created by Tbil-State students and teachers; the dedication of special conference halls, named after well-deserving meritorious professors of the past; the inauguration of a new sports hall; the presentation of a special jubilee stamp; and, finally, a wonderful concert, accompanied by award giving and jubilee speeches. The Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, new alias Tbil-State, continues its full and boisterous academic life, now headed by its young new rector, vigorously working on one of the loftiest of goals, which is rendering our youth, the future of Georgia, a chance to take better care of this nation when their time comes.
BLOG by Nugzar B. Ruhadze