Stockholm University’s large gold medal 2023 to Robert Weil
The Vice-Chancellor has taken the decision to award Stockholm University’s large gold medal 2023 to Robert Weil. The medal was instituted in 1990 and is awarded to those who have significantly and over a long period of time worked to promote the university, its research or its teaching.
The short story about Robert Weil is that he is a well-known Swedish businessman. As true as this may be, it is hardly a comprehensive description of his work or what makes him unique. Alongside his successful activities as a businessman, above all through investment company Proventus that he founded, Robert Weil has made himself known as a patron of the arts and culture – through the Jewish Theatre, the Berättarministeriet, and Magasin III Museum for Contemporary Art. At Stockholm University, he is one of the founders and central contributor, through both the Robert Weil Family Foundation and Magasin III Museum, of the art space Accelerator, sister institution to Magasin III and a meeting place for the arts, science and society at the university. Stockholm University has happily and gratefully entered into developing this important arena of collaboration. Yet when Robert Weil is honored today with Stockholm University’s large gold medal, it is not primarily because of his financial contribution, however welcome, important, and decisive this may be for the creation of Accelerator. It is for his vision of the university, its inalienable role in the world surrounding academia, and its crucial contribution to the development of society at large, that he is awarded this medal. Over the years, Robert Weil has also made himself known as a fearless and combative debater, standing up for humanistic values. He criticizes companies that fall short of facing the problems of the future. He emphasizes the responsibility of capital owners for the future of society. He highlights the need for the humanities and arts to put a one-sided focus on profit into perspective. Not least, he condemns all politics, regardless of color, that are cowards for antidemocratic currents in society. It is here that he sees one of the university’s main tasks as a counterweight, to further knowledge, education, as well as free and critical thinking. Robert Weil’s insights never remain theoretical afterthoughts – he puts them into concrete actions. He is an invaluable collaborator for a university that strives to realize these ideals. This decision was made by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Astrid Söderbergh Widding, following a presentation by researcher Anna Riddarström, Vice-Chancellor’s Secretariat.