Trefort Garden Foundation

Trefort Garden Foundation
The Trefort Garden Foundation was established by former and current institute heads of Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Humanities with the aim of supporting the achievement of shared goals that advance the cause of the Faculty in terms of its physical environment (the Trefort Garden), the quality of education, its role as a centre of research and knowledge, its place as an intellectual community as well as a cultural centre.

The Trefort Garden Foundation welcomes all forms of support – whether they be for a specific project or the foundation in general and regardless of whether it comes from our alumni for the achievement of goals they consider important or from committed supporters of the Hungarian humanities, culture and science – which help us achieve our shared goals. These goals are not just those of the country’s traditionally top-ranked, oldest, and biggest faculty with the most wide-ranging educational portfolio, but also those of Hungarian opinion leader humanities intellectuals and those that need to be achieved for the education of future generations. The goals of the foundation listed below complement the aims established by the Faculty’s eternal mission.

  • Development and completion of the Trefort Garden’s IT network.
  • Supporting the development of the Trefort Garden library.
  • Development and diversification of the Trefort Garden’s cultural life through the organisation of cultural events and programmes.
  • Advancing instructor and student mobility at the Faculty of Humanities, developing ties among university citizens.
  • Promoting the continuous purchase of or subscription to major foreign and domestic academic databases and making them accessible to instructors and students.
  • Developing relations between the Faculty and its environment; establishing and developing communication channels (publications, website, etc.)
  • Preparation and dissemination of the Faculty’s publications, brochures and other press materials.
  • Providing equal opportunities to the Faculty’s disadvantaged students.
  • Development of the Faculty’s student and instructor communities; encouragement of students and instructors to live a healthy, sports-filled lifestyle.
  • Implementation of the Green Faculty Programme, support of its goals and related events (landscaping of the Trefort Garden and its conversion into a cyclist-friendly institution, selective waste collection, the promotion of an environmentally-conscious mentality.

The Trefort Garden Foundation is a foundation of Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Humanities. Supporting the foundation means supporting the Faculty. The developments needed to be carried out at the Faculty are designed to improve the conditions of the educational, creative and academic work done here. We consider the foundation to be the official channel through which we can use the support we receive to achieve our goals.

We therefore ask everyone – whether they be a colleague, student, alumni, a supporter from the outside or a friend – to help achieve the goals of the foundation, and with it, those of the Faculty, through the help of their talent, connections or financial contributions. We ask in particular for the support of Hungarians and Hungarian organisations beyond the border, many of whom live and operate outside Europe, which feel they bear a responsibility for the preservation of the Hungarian humanities, the Hungarian language and culture, to donate to the Hungarian hub of this academic field, the number one centre of the training of Hungarian humanities intellectuals, who are a key part of our future.

preamble of the foundation’s articles of association

The progress of societies depends primarily on the extent of progress in material and intellectual culture, i.e. on the amount of knowledge created and amassed by communities. Science is therefore the most important engine of progress of human civilization. Science is the main depositary of the creation and dissemination of knowledge. The rationalism of the Enlightenment placed science on an imaginary pedestal, giving it authority and setting high expectations of it. In the second half of the 19th century, those involved with science viewed their line of work as a means of simultaneously serving their tighter community, their nation and the broader community, humanity itself. The ethos of the practice of science led to the spread of the idea that knowledge has principles, as opposed to interests.

Universities are the most important forums of the acquisition of scientific knowledge. Wherever universities were and are born, venues for the creation (research) and dissemination of knowledge (the highest level of institutional education) were and are soon to emerge. Universities are thus the strongholds of science. Science, as Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály wrote, “is the unrelenting search for truth, which can be neither a maid of theology or a prostitute to politics”. Ideas must flow freely wherever science is practiced, and truth must be spoken. However, in a place that is the scene of the search for and transfer of truth in the atmosphere of the freedom of thought, the need for quality and responsibility are also of key importance. It is his need for quality and responsibility which the instructor and the student aspiring to become an intellectual both have a duty to represent before their narrower and broader environment. Loránd Eötvös, who was once a student, teacher, and eventually the rector of our university, placed heavy emphasis on personal responsibility: “School and education are […] only scientific where teaching is done by scientists […] The matter of the university […] is above all one of personnel, next to which the matters of the organisations and regulations of the university are but secondary.” Just as it is not the desk that makes the one sitting at it great, but rather the other way around, it is primarily a university’s teachers, professional and personnel excellence, that can make it an institution of prestige and excellence.

Despite the new circumstances and the global challenges, opportunities and problems of the open world, certain fundamental questions have remained unchanged. To this day, universities remain the institutions safeguarding the social prestige of science and higher education and the most important venues of the search for and transfer of truth.

We know very well that talent and determination alone are not enough for the practice of science. It also requires the external (institutional, infrastructural and financial) conditions vital for successful research. Those working at the universities of countries lacking in resources or under political leadership that spends less than it should on research and education can attest to the truth of this trivial sentence from personal experience. There was a reason why Loránd Eötvös once wrote: “we often receive [...] fairy tale-like news [...] from far-away lands. Lords, who had their practice of science to thank for the best hours of their lives, industrialists, who found the sources of their industry in the application of science, practically magically create new universities or breathe new life into old ones through their donations amounting to millions.” The financial support of university studies, however, goes further back. In the 18th century, seeing members of the aristocracy take on the burden of financing the university studies of talented young people was no longer uncommon in Hungary, either. Those who took it upon themselves to finance the study allowance or foundation scholarship (the alumneum) were known as the alumni, and these early supporters of science were the ones who influenced the emergence of the so-called alumni movement in the West. This movement of alumni binds together the virtual community of those choosing to support their university in part, out of gratitude to their alma mater.

Wealthy members of civil society can still do a lot to ensure that our universities, including the Faculty of Humanities of our prestigious and storied Eötvös Loránd University, are more effective in serving Hungarians and humanity. The Trefort Garden Foundation mainly aims to reach those whose alma mater is our university’s Faculty of Humanities. But they are not the only ones we wish to reach. We also want to reach out to everyone who considers it important that our donations are guaranteed to serve noble goals from a greater social perspective as well. And the declared goals of the Trefort Garden Foundation meet this criterion, as they aim to ensure that the Faculty, which plays a key role in the training of Hungarian humanities intellectuals, can operate in the modern conditions that allow it to provide its students with a quality education. The foundation aims to promote the education of future intellectuals who are creative, give credibility to the need for quality and responsibility through their own personal example, combine tradition and innovation, think and act in terms of a community and carry with them the desire for continuous modernisation and the courage for innovation.

Those who support the Trefort Garden Foundation do not just support Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Humanities, but also the cause of the future of Hungarian scientism, culture and education.

Dr. Jenő Kiss

Academic