"A medal of honor can be awarded to personalities who have rendered outstanding services to the university for their longstanding and selfless commitment. And you meet these criteria completely," explained Rector Prof. Dr. Winfried Lieber in his laudation. This is why the Senate unanimously approved the award.
Franz Roser had taken over the management of the Senior Service, an initiative bringing together Senior citizens and international students, ten years ago from Gerlinde Kuhnmünch, who had also been awarded a medal of honor at the time. "I very much regret that we cannot celebrate the award this time in a graduation ceremony as we did then," explained the Rector while handing over the silver medal and the Certificate of Honour to Franz Roser. "Gerlinde Kuhnmünch has built up the structures of the Senior Service in which I could practically sit down like in a well made nest," Franz Roser said modestly. But Winfried Lieber replied: "The fact that the Senior Service has developed so well over the past ten years is very much due to your personality an engagment. Since the university brings together students with very different cultural backgrounds, a great deal of empathy, helpfulness and open-mindedness is required. In addition, Franz Roser has recruited many new members for the Senior Service in recent years and the cooperation with the university could not be better, added Lydia Schindler, person responsible for the Senior Service at Offenburg University.
Most recently, around 80 seniors were active in the annually recurring activities of the Senior Service. The joint project of the Offenburg University and the Senior Service Office of the City of Offenburg has been making it easier for international students to arrive and settle in Germany since 2002. Regular activities usually include the Get-Togethers of the University's International Center at the beginning of the summer and winter semester, guided city tours for international students in Offenburg and Gengenbach, a "Kaffeeklatsch" (meeting for coffee and cake), German conversation groups with the participants of the German Summer Language Course at the University, a Black Forest hike for international students in spring, a beer garden get-together or, for some years now, a mini-golf event, as well as a Christmas get-together including home-baked cookies and a performance by the a choir made up out of members of the Senior Service and international student of Offenburg Univesity. Instead of the latter, a virtual St. Nicholas celebration is planned this year.
Franz Roser is significantly involved in the organization and realization of all these activities and always reacts to the changing needs of international students: Because in recent years they have been more interested in short-term, extramural activities with locals than in long-term family ties, he has, for example, initiated a painting course, a cooking course named "Baden Cuisine" and planned an excursion to Baden-Baden to visit the Christian Orthodox Church there. Franz Roser is also always available as a contact person and confidant for the international students. Together with the Senior Service team, he organizes reasonably priced second-hand bicycles, assists in the search for part-time jobs or interview partners for master's theses, proofreads bachelor's and master's theses or letters of application, or accompanies students on visits to the doctor. This often leads to friendships that last far beyond the graduations, so that the Roser couple has already been invited to weddings in several countries.
"I am delighted to be awarded the Medal of Honor and accept it on behalf of the entire Senior Service, because we are a great team in which many friendships have already been formed," thanked Franz Roser and promised with a smile: "But that doesn't mean that I will stop right now.