Wageningen University & Research: Silver Medal of Honor awarded to UFW chairman Jan Karel Mak at his farewell

For his many years of commitment to the University Fund Wageningen (UFW), Prof. ir. Louise O. Fresco awarded the Silver Medal of Honor to former chairman of UFW Ir Jan Karel Mak. She did this during Mak’s farewell ceremony as chairman of the fund, which took place during the symposium preceding the 104th Dies Natalis of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Mak, also alumnus of Wageningen and Wageningen Ambassador, was chairman of the fund for twelve years and was involved in the board for a total of 17 years.

For his many years of commitment to the University Fund Wageningen (UFW), Prof. ir. Louise O. Fresco awarded the Silver Medal of Honor to former chairman of UFW Ir Jan Karel Mak. She did this during Mak’s farewell ceremony as chairman of the fund, which took place during the symposium preceding the 104th Dies Natalis of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Mak, also alumnus of Wageningen and Wageningen Ambassador, was chairman of the fund for twelve years and was involved in the board for a total of 17 years.

“I would like to call Jan Karel Mak the ideal alumnus. Entrepreneur, businessman, someone who really understands the application of science, and someone who has a huge heart for all things having to do with Wageningen,” said Fresco in her speech. She commended him for his deep involvement with students, including through the Business Skills Program for student boards he initiated, and the various fundraising campaigns over the years. He also committed himself to the realization of the bell tower on campus. “That is why the Executive Board has decided to award him the Silver Medal of Honor, an honor that has been bestowed upon only a very select few in history.” Since the first medal in 1950 it has been awarded a total of 37 times, including to Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Mak was very grateful for this unique honor. “The past seventeen years have been fun, useful and have provided me with a good learning experience. I have immensely enjoyed fundraising and awarding prizes to excellent students, great teachers and fantastic researchers. And I also enjoyed helping students who needed it, at home and abroad, and working with the other board members and staff.” He emphasized that the UFW is ready for the future and wished his successors a lot of fun and success.

Jan Karel Mak will be succeeded by Jacqueline Pieters-Zetsma, former executive at Rabobank. In addition to Mak, two other board members are also saying goodbye: Han Swinkels, who had a seat on the board as a representative of the KLV alumni association, which was dissolved in 2021, and Prof. Dr. Louise O. Fresco, who acted as a representative of WUR. They will be succeeded by Harry Paul as an alumnus and Sebastiaan Berendse as representative of WUR Corporate Value Creation, under which UFW has been organized since the end of 2021.

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