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Karikó Katalin érkezik Sulyok Tamás társaságában, balról a köztársasági elnök felesége, Nagy Zsuzsanna. Fotók: Sahin-Tóth István, Kovács-Jerney Ádám

The President of Hungary at the gala dinner of SZTE: Katalin Karikó remained true to herself along her success

The President of Hungary at the gala dinner of SZTE: Katalin Karikó remained true to herself along her success

2024. April 16.
5 perc

The management of the University of Szeged welcomed Katalin Karikó, research professor, who donated her Nobel Prize to her Alma Mater, at a gala dinner. The main patron of the event, Tamás Sulyok, President of Hungary, also attended the gala evening at the József Attila Study and Information Centre of the University of Szeged on 16 April. In his welcome speech, the head of state stressed that Katalin Karikó remained true to herself even after reaching the top of the world, returning to where she started from and taking responsibility for her country.

- Katalin Karikó, as a great scientist and a brilliant mind, has recently received most - if not all - of the professional awards and prizes. She was honoured with recognitions that only a few on earth are granted. Nevertheless, there is also scientific work behind it, discoveries that only few are able to do. Contemplating with admiration her decades of determination, which she was able to convert into saving lives in times of need - said Tamás Sulyok, President of Hungary, at the gala dinner in honour of Katalin Karikó at the SZTE TIK on 16 April.

Karikó Katalin és Sulyok Tamás, előttük a köztársasági elnök felesége, Nagy Zsuzsanna. Fotó: Kovács-Jerney Ádám

Karikó Katalin and Tamás Sulyok, President of Hungary and his wife Zsuzsanna Nagy

- Today, although it is unusual for a programme organised by an excellent university, a unique academic centre, I would not pay tribute to the scientist Katalin Karikó, but to a person who is also a world-renowned scientist. To accomplish great deeds, to make great discoveries, is indeed glorious, but to remain true to ourselves being even in the face of success, to look back to where we have come from and to those we belong to, even when we reach the top of the world, that is what is truly wonderful, amazing and fascinating. Only an exceptional person, a noble soul is able to do so - remarked Tamás Sulyok. Katalin Karikó does not owe, but she still gives back. She brings her knowledge home and shares her professional success with us. She brings home what she has earned through her own strength, persistence and effort. Sharing the fruits of her work and her own glory with her country. Her generous donation will never be forgotten by the citizens of the University of Szeged.

Dr. Sulyok Tamás köztársasági elnök

Dr. Tamás Sulyok President of Hungary

The two guests of honour of the gala dinner, the Nobel Prize-winning research professor and the head of state, are linked by the fact that both graduated from the University of Szeged, thus we can say that they came home to Szeged. They both gained valuable knowledge and experiences here that have helped them to advance their careers. At the opening performance of the gala dinner, the Szeged Folk Dance Ensemble performed dances from Magyarszentbenedek.

- When I stand on this stage, I remember how I got here. "Not long ago" I had just passed my first exams, about forty-five years ago. Fifty-five years ago at this very time, I won the Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County Primary School Children's Wildlife Competition and made it to the national finals. Perhaps it all started at that time? - wondered Katalin Karikó, the honoured guest called on stage. "I feel like I am one of you. When I receive awards, I feel that these are not just for me, but for everyone who taught me to read and write, who taught me different subjects here at the university. All the achievements I have made are also theirs. That is why I brought the authentic replica of the Nobel Prize and transferred the prize money to share it with all those who have been part of it, and in my mind with those who are no longer with us, and to inspire future generations," said the Nobel Prize-winning professor, who was deeply touched. - I was so impressed by the love you welcome me with... During the "Nobel Minds", there was only one section where they shared a film, and that was the one of my reception in Szeged. Fantastic! Everyone said that I was celebrated like a singer, a rock star. I am very grateful, I thank you all very much!


Katalin Karikó: "I am so impressed by the love you welcome me with..."

Tamás Sulyok was accompanied to the dinner by his wife Zsuzsanna Nagy, at the main table where Dr. Judit Fendler, Chancellor of the University of Szeged, Prof. Dr. László Rovó, Rector of the University of Szeged, Prof. Dr. Gábor Szabó, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the University of Szeged, Dr. Péter Takács, State Secretary for Health, Dr. Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education, Dr. László Salgó, Government Commissioner of Csongrád-Csanád County and László Wolf, Deputy CEO of OTP Bank were seated as well.

Az SZTE díszvacsorája

At the gala dinner of SZTE

SZTE prepared a gift to Katalin Karikó with a Zorán concert - announced Dr. Judit Fendler. The Chancellor once again expressed her gratitude for the generous donation of the Nobel Prize-winning professor to support the students and researchers of the University of Szeged.

Képek az SZTE Karikó Katalint köszöntő díszvacsorájáról
Photos from the gala dinner honoring Katalin Karikó at the University of Szeged. Photos by István Sahin-Tóth, Ádám Kovács-Jerney.

Written by Imre Vida-Szűcs

Photos by István Sahin-Tóth & Ádám Kovács-Jerney

On the cover photo: Katalin Karikó arrives with President Tamás Sulyok and his wife Zsuzsanna Nagy