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Laudatio for the occasion of the honor colloquium of Hans Hagen

Dear guests, dear Hans,

Surprisingly, I find myself in the place of honour to reflect about your life. I am not one of those who know you for decades - in fact, I am only as old as you are already a professor in Kaiserslautern. It’s obvious that I cannot talk about the way that led you here but I can talk about the way that you lead this group and what you mean to all of us.

Now, how do students feel when they face your group for the first time? For those dreaming of game design it is the cliché place to be, for others - including me - it can be kind of scary:

This group is so huge, full of people from different countries that one automatically expects a very strict management. But as soon as you enter Mady’s office, you will take a different view on that. If she can five her own identity there, with posters of SaMo as well as Hans’s framed awards it can’t be that rigid there.

And indeed, the more one sees, the more one wishes to stay. Many of your students - as well as many from abroad, from other computer science fields, other majors or even other universities, try despertly to join your group. And there are good reasons for doing so:

It offers top level research but avoids being a frigid computer science department where they seek to outperform the other. Instead it is an animated international group of like-minded young researchers that that are growing together.

You advance us but also await advanced results from us. What you do for us and expect from us, varies with our dreams. We needn't succeed on every step of our way: Many of us have gone through crises and lost our will and way. You do not increase pressure on us then. Instead you ask our friends and colleagues what troubles us. You consider and understand our problems and offer your help and advice where needed, but even more importantly you give us time to recover. You really show how to unite success with humanity.

And you were so successful with your group:

Many earned top-positions in industry and 28 have became professors themselves - among them 6 are women.If you take one of our usual semesters more women ever begin their studies in our department. When many of your colleagues considered, “women” as distant creatures that raised kids and made you coffee, you had already won the hearts of the female ministry’s employees of the Department of Education in Mainz - not with flowers but with respect and taking them serious. Respect for all and acknowledgement of achievements may be your greatest gifts.

Loyally you stand by us and fight like a lion for your beliefs. You achieved more in politics than many who do them professionally. ‘Whom among the ministry’s staff don’t about not know you and your grad school? ‘Whom would not worry at least a little if you raised your voice with a shake of the head? They cannot resist your proposals, not only because you know how to persuade but also because you pre-lived your persuasion.

Even though family affairs were not that prestigious in politics then, you supported single parents and couples to combine their parentship with their job. Today, I feel welcome and understood with my little family in Christoph’s group just as much as in yours.

With your own family you mastered a life that anyone can hope for. You said once that behind every strong man there was an even stronger woman. So whenever we honour Hans, we also honour you, Brigitte, because whatever he achieved he achieved with your support.

Let us now drink to you, Hans, and to all of us, that we may once hold your heritage on trust and fight for the same ideas. To you Hans, a professor who really deserves his German title , “Doktor father”.

Susanne Göbel