The JKU Alumni Club Rings in the New Year

Over 150 guests attended the JKU Alumni Club's (formerly the Kepler Society) annual New Year's reception.

JKU Alumni Club manager Florian Mayer and guests
JKU Alumni Club manager Florian Mayer and guests

Yesterday evening, the JKU hosted the JKU Alumni Club’s (formerly Kepler Society) annual New Year's reception, welcoming numerous Johannes Kepler University alumni as they returned to their alma mater. Over 150 invited guests, including many club members, partners, representatives from the Rectorate, and high-profile representatives from the government and the local business community ushered in the New Year at the JKU Ceremony Room, taking advantage of the opportunity to network and share stories about their time as students at the JKU.

Florian Mayer, managing director of the JKU Alumni Club, remarked: "As an Alumni Club, we consider ourselves to be, among other things, an organization that keeps alumni in touch with each other and with their alma mater, providing space and events to come together. We are delighted to have created this opportunity to welcome alumni to this year’s New Year's Reception."

JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas stressed the alumni network’s importance: "JKU alumni are important university ambassadors and it is important for us that alumni feel connected to their alma mater, even after they have graduated. The traditional New Year's Reception is a wonderful opportunity to both strengthen and renew these ties. I would like to thank the JKU Alumni Club for their important work on behalf of our graduates."

During his opening remarks, Honorary President Gerhard Stürmer also pointed out the JKU Alumni Club’s important responsibilities and just how significant its alumni community is, underlining the association’s impressive development since its inception almost 20 years ago.

JKU Alumni Club President Michael Strugl sent a greeting, thanking all of the supporters and emphasizing that the JKU Alumni Club will continue to be at the JKU’s side as the university – and the JKU spirit - continues to grow in the future, especially among graduates.

The New Alumni Podcast
One of the evening’s highlights included a presentation of the new JKU alumni podcast series, "Hörsaal Ausblicke", featuring alumni from the past and present and hosted by ORF Upper Austria journalist Christoph Kinast and JKU press speaker, Marion Draxler. The first of nine scheduled episodes will soon be available on all of the popular audio platforms.

Learning More About Research at the JKU
During the reception, there were presentations about current areas of research at the JKU. Researchers at the JKU Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) Law Lab are, for example, looking into the legalities of artificial intelligence. Guests tested an AI-based lie detector on-site, a detector that could one day be used in a court of law. In addition, guests also marveled as a self-balancing, Segway robot from the JKU Institute of Robotics did the limbo.

A Social Evening with Friends
Over 150 guests accepted the JKU Alumni Club’s invitation to the event, including numerous university representatives as well as several well-known members of the government and representatives of the local business community, such as WKOÖ Vice President Leo Jindrak, entrepreneur and Honorary Consul Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, and National Council Members Eva Maria Holzleitner and Klaus Fürlinger. During the course of the evening, many guests made new contacts, re-connected with old friends, and enjoyed the various culinary delights, including a special Pralinamo chocolate buffet. Guests also enjoyed some of the past with rarities such as a jukebox, pinball machines, and various types of music and games.

About the JKU Alumni Club
The JKU Alumni Club (formerly known as the Kepler Society) is the JKU’s alumni association intended to provide JKU alumni with an active network and support services. With keywords such as Network - Career - Continuing Education, the Club is a link between alumni and their alma mater as well as to the business community and the wider community. In addition to organizing many events, meetings, tours, and continual education seminars, the Club is also present at the JKU Career Center to provide alumni and students with support services in their respective job searches and job applications. The JKU Alumni Club currently has over 4,000 members in all majors at the university and, outside of Linz, there are local groups in Vienna and Salzburg as well as in several European countries, the USA, and in Asia. Last year, Verbund CEO Michael Strugl took over as Club president, succeeding Gerhard Stürmer who held the position for almost 20 years.

New Name, New Look
At the end of last year and after more than 20 years, the JKU Alumni Club revamped its image and changed its name from "Kepler Society" to the JKU Alumni Club. The new look aims to bring the club even closer to the JKU, both in terms of appearance and language, to be better identified as part of the JKU family. The Alumni Club plans to revise and grow its range of programs and services, thereby completing the full transformation by 2023.