Gert Bechlund CBS’ first Technical-Administrative Emeritus

Skrevet af Bjørn HyldkrogFelix Kasperek, translation - Foto: Jørn Albertus - 15. marts 2012 - 12:440 kommentarer
Gert Bechlund thanks Jan Molin for his speech at his 40th anniversary in January. Joining him in the celebration is Gert’s wife, Ulla Bechlund, along with many other friends and colleagues.

University Marshal Gert Bechlund celebrated his 40th anniversary at CBS on January 1st and retired on February 1st 2012. His retirement does not mean that he’s leaving CBS however; Gert will continue working as University Marshal Emeritus, the first TAS (Technical-Administrative Staff) Emeritus ever.

Mr. CBS has (not!) left the campus
- If it had to happen, then it probably couldn’t have happened in a better way, says Gert Bechlund about his early retirement from CBS.

That’s because his early retirement wasn’t his own decision. During the administrative staff reduction round last year, CBS president Johan Roos instructed the senior management to demonstrate that also they would be affected, and apparently University Marshal Gert Bechlund, former University Director and Campus Director, was considered part of CBS’ senior management. He got an offer he couldn’t refuse.

- I was offered the best terms possible for my retirement and I only have good things to say about the present senior management’s contribution to making my goodbye to CBS as pleasant as possible. A lot of weight was put on the fact that I should continue until after my 40 year anniversary, and on top of that, they had me nominated for the Knight of The Order of Dannebrog, says Gert Bechlund.

So after 40 years, Gert Bechlund, former Associate Professor, former Head of Department, former Dean, former University Director, former Campus Director and now University Marshal emeritus leaves CBS. Or does he? His 40 years of heartfelt dedication and willingness to take on responsibility in order to make CBS bigger and better in every way, that made former Dean of Modern Languages, Søren Barlebo Rasmussen, call him “Mr. CBS” at his 60th birthday reception, are hard to ignore.

Gert Bechlund might not be Elvis Presley, but; ‘Mr. CBS has not left the campus!’

University Marshal (and Associate Professor) Emeritus
Even though Gert Bechlund is no longer an employee at CBS, he’ll be keeping his office on Solbjerg Plads and his duties as University Marshal and project manager for Green Campus at CBS as an emeritus. He will also share an office in Dalgas Have in The Housing Fund for International Students and Guest Researchers at CBS, where he is chief consultant as of February 1st. These two roles will amount to two days of work a week each.

- I solemnly swore to Ulla (Ulla Bechlund, responsible for acquisitions, repairs and courses in CBS’ IT-department and Gert’s wife, red.), that I’d take Fridays off. After I got used to the thought of retiring and realized how many doors opened when this one closed, I’ve started looking forward to all of the time I now have to spend with my family, says Gert Bechlund.

CBS has had a handful of Professors Emeritus in the past, but Gert Bechlund is the first TAS Emeritus –at least as such. When he was the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (1994-2000), Gert Bechlund established the concept of ‘Adjunct TAS’, a retirement-title giving the authority to represent CBS in any context and ensuring invitations to all official CBS events. So far there have been only two such entitlements: Rita Voss, who spoke at Gert’s 40 year anniversary, and Thorkil Kristoffersen (also known as ‘Stoffer’).

A passion for academic leadership and development
The emeritus-diploma itself has, in addition to University Marshal Emeritus, ‘lektor emeritus’ (lektor being the Danish word for Associate Professor) written on it in parenthesis, perhaps to keep the position of Professor Emeritus sacrosanct. The presence of the Associate Professor title pleases Gert Bechlund who has always sought to keep his identity as an academic and researcher.

- One of the very satisfying aspects of my work at CBS has always been that I, being an ex- Dean, have been part of as many university evaluations as I have. It’s been extremely inspiring to be a ‘tourist of university development’, something that has allowed me to gain a very profound insight into the research and an understanding of the different ways of doing things in different places – valuable inspiration to bring home to CBS, regardless of whether it’s been as University Director or Campus Director, says Gert Bechlund.

When asked what in his 40 years of working at CBS has made him the most proud, Gert dwells on the restructuring of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. This restructuring resulted in the biggest and most innovative Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in Denmark and included the much needed modernization of the BSc in Business Administration program and the establishment of the Business Administration and Philosophy study programs (BSc and MSc), along with other combined discipline study programs. One of his only regrets, however, also stems from this period and is regarding the arrogance that the business economics faculty showed towards their language faculty colleagues.

Out of the fire, into the frying pan
Gert Bechlund has always wanted the best for CBS. He’s never had any doubt that if you want to make a difference, you must take responsibility and consequently gain influence, all the while accepting the price of this responsibility: the beatings you take every once in a while. There have been some big ones along the way: being let go as University Director, as Campus Director and finally being asked to retire before due time to name a few. But…

When talking about Gert Bechlund at CBS (and people do), it is often mentioned that he is an officer of the Danish reserve armed forces. If you want to be a good officer, you have to be a good soldier, and if that involves taking one for the team, then you do that too without complaint. The loyalty to CBS that Gert Bechlund has dedicated his life to build, develop and protect certainly isn’t diminished by this. Despite a hard glint in his eye, Gert Bechlund maintains that the good experiences and the undeniable results of his efforts throughout the years (represented at CBS in flesh and blood as well as in glass and marble) far outweigh the bad ones.

- The only thing that still bothers me to this day is that former University Director Peter Pietras, Charlotte Aller and myself as Campus Director weren’t allowed to restructure the central administration as we were ready to in the fall of 2009, says Gert Bechlund, who looks forward to once again working closely with Charlotte Aller, this time in The Housing Fund for International Students and Guest Researchers at CBS where she’s the Administrative Officer.

Full speed ahead for CBS into the future
CBS’ Marshal Emeritus is more focused on the future than he is on the past. CBS’ Green Campus project needs to be carried forward, the Canteen Committee is still in his domain and now he has responsibility for the housing of CBS’ guest researchers and foreign exchange students, as chief consultant of CBS’ Housing Fund. This means that Gert will still have his everyday life at the CBS that he has contributed so much to building.

- It was always about the people, above all. I’m very happy to continue to have contact and collaboration with the students – my relationship with students is something I thrive on. And even though my involvement will now quietly be reduced over the course of the coming years, it still means a lot to me to be part of CBS, insists Gert Bechlund.

It’s the good experiences and the good achievements that really count. The fact that Gert Bechlund has made a permanent impression on CBS in numerous ways was obvious at his 40th anniversary reception where a mere ‘300 of his closest friends and colleagues’ gathered to pay tribute to him. That he will continue to be a standard bearer for CBS tells its own story.

The not-so-good experiences? Being the last man standing and living well makes up for a lot.