Professor A. (Tom) Veldkamp has been appointed the new Rector Magnificus of the University of Twente by the Supervisory Board. During the Dies Natalis, on Friday 27 November 2020, Professor T.T.M. Palstra will bestow his responsibility as rector to Professor Veldkamp. Thom Palstra has held the position since November 2016. His term ends this year.
Tom Veldkamp (born in 1963) has served as Dean of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente for almost ten years. In April of this year he passed the baton to his successor. Under Tom’s supervision the former International Educational Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation was transformed into a fully-fledged UT faculty. The faculty is at the global forefront in the field of geo-information and earth observation and its research in the Remote Sensing domain belongs to the absolute top: ITC has been in the top 10 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for several years now.
In his role as Dean, Tom played an important part in the creation and development of various public-private partnerships around the world, in the fields of education, research and capacity development. Over the last few years, University College Twente (ATLAS) and Pre-U, the university’s education programme for pupils in primary and secondary education, have been integrated into the faculty. Furthermore, the new cross-disciplinary and challenge-based master’s programme Spatial Engineering has been initiated. Tom has also been active in various university-wide developments, including the steering group Institutional Audit recently.
Tom has an impressive track record as a scientist. He studied at Wageningen University, where he also obtained his PhD and where he was appointed professor and chair of the department of Soil Inventory and Land Evaluation (later Chair of Land Dynamics) in 2002. His work has been cited more than 21,000 times in other academic publications and Tom is also a frequent speaker on various multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary topics in the field of earth sciences.
Anton Schaaf, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the University of Twente: “As Supervisory Board we are very proud to appoint the new Rector Magnificus from among our own. Tom Veldkamp contributes great administrative experience and has played an important role in ITC’s journey to become a modern faculty, with high-quality education and research and great societal relevance.”
Victor van der Chijs, President of the Executive Board: “We are pleased to welcome Tom Veldkamp to the Board. We are working on an ambitious strategic agenda and are facing tremendous challenges, particularly considering the consequences of COVID-19. It is great that Tom will already be involved with the Executive Board after the summer, so he can get off to a flying start as Rector when his appointment begins. Mirjam Bult and I have got to know Tom as an effective leader and a pleasant person to work with. We are very much looking forward to working together. Welcome aboard, Tom.”
Tom Veldkamp about his new role: “I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to take on this new role in the coming years. I look forward to working with the UT Community to achieve the Shaping 2030 objectives, in which we will also need to incorporate a ‘new reality’. I am grateful that I will be able to continue building on the foundations laid by Thom Palstra, as we have a strong position on a regional level while collaborating successfully on numerous societal challenges in the international arena.”
Thom Palstra, incumbent Rector Magnificus: “I am excited about the decision to appoint Tom Veldkamp as my successor. I greatly enjoyed working with Tom in his capacity as Dean of the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC). What I have learned about Tom is that he is someone who greatly values integrity and constructive cooperation. He is an excellent scientist and an experienced director who knows how to bring ideas to fruition.”