The new Board of Governors of RWTH Aachen from left to right (with certificates): Dr. Peter Körte, Dr. Sabine Behrenbeck, Professor Raoul Klinger, Professor Ingrid Mertig, Laura Witzenhausen, Professor Koenraad Debackere and Christoph Schmallenbach. (Missing are Dr. Waltraud Kreutz-Gers, Professor Armin Nassehi and Professor Harald Schmitz.)
Andreas Schmitter

“It's Nice to Give Back to the University”

RWTH alumna Laura Witzenhausen is a new member of the RWTH Board of Governors

After the expiration of the five-year term of office of the third Board of Governors of RWTH Aachen University, a new Board was appointed in November 2022, which will be in office until November 2027. During the constituent meeting of the Board of Governors of RWTH Aachen University, Sigrid Rix-Diester, senior ministerial counsellor, presented the new members with their certificates of appointment for the coming term of office.

The duties of the body include participation in the University Election Assembly for the election of the Rectorate and supervision of the Rectorate’s management activities. The Board of Governors must approve the University Development Plan, the various target agreements, and the Economic Plan of the University. The Board also brings in ideas from various areas of society, such as research and business, to the University. It has an advisory function vis-à-vis the Rectorate.

Four New and Five Existing Members Make up the Board

The new members of the Board of Governors are:

  • Dr. Sabine Behrenbeck (Chair of the Tertiary Education Committee – German Council of Science and Humanities),
  • Dr. Peter Körte (Chief Technology Officer/ Chief Strategy Officer – Siemens AG)
  • Professor Armin Nassehi (Head of the Department of Sociology – General Sociology and Theory of Society at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Laura Witzenhausen (Consultant for System Management/Networks – Amprion GmbH).

Re-appointed for a further term in office were:

  • Professor Koenraad Debackere (Chair of Economics; Executive Director – KU Leuven Research & Development),
  • Professor Raoul Klingner (Director of Research – Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft),
  • Dr. Waltraud Kreutz-Gers (Chancellor of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz),
  • Professor Ingrid Mertig (Professor of Theoretical Physics – Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)
  • Christoph Schmallenbach (Chief Executive Officer – Generali Switzerland Holding Ltd.).

The members of the Board of Governors elected the chair of the Board, Raoul Klinger, the deputy chair, Waltraud Kreutz-Gers, and Christoph Schmallenbach to the Executive Board.

RWTH Alumna Laura Witzenhausen

With Laura Witzenhausen and Christoph Schmallenbach, two RWTH alumni are members of the Board of Governors. Christoph Schmallenbach studied computer science and mathematics at RWTH from 1982 to 1988. He has already been a member of the Board of Governors since 2021 and CEO of Generali Switzerland since 2022.

Laura Witzenhausen is a new member of the Board of Governors. She graduated from RWTH in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering, specializing in electrical power engineering. Subsequently she completed multiple Master’s programs – in Canada, in Norway, and at RWTH.  During her time as a student at RWTH, among other roles, she served as head of the electrical engineering student council and spokesperson for the group of students in the RWTH Senate for many years.  Today, Laura Witzenhausen is a consultant for System Management/Networks at Amprion GmbH.

“RWTH was the center of my life for almost seven years. It feels very good to be back here at RWTH, and it's nice to give back to the University. In my role as a member of the Board of Governors, I want to put the interests of the students first.

The Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine – such challenging and stressful situations also have an impact on students, for example in terms of working conditions and mental health. It is one of the responsibilities of the Board of Governors to address and offer guidance on such issues as well,” says new Board of Governors member Laura Witzenhausen.

Senior Ministerial Counsellor Sigrid Rix-Diester (right) presents Laura Witzenhausen with her certificate of appointment.
Andreas Schmitter

– Authors: Thorsten Karbach, Siba Fitzau