April 06, 2017
He’s not someone who likes to be celebrated, but on his 75th birthday, Michael Bömers made an exception. That was at the end of August 2013, and an item on the agenda of the approximately 70 guests from near and far was a lunch on the campus of Jacobs University, in the cafeteria of Nordmetall College, followed by a tour of the laboratories. “Everyone,” recalls Michael Bömers, “found it very interesting, and there were also a few donations.”
The wine dealer, once a co-owner of the tradition-steeped Bremen company of “Reidemeister & Ulrichs,” has been one of the sponsors since the founding of the international university in 2001. He has now expanded his commitment: The businessman - or more precisely: his "Reidemeister & Ulrichs" foundation - is paying the tuition for one student for at least three years.
The private Jacobs University depends on the one hand as well upon tuition income as a source of funding. On the other hand, admission to a degree program should not depend on how fat the parents wallet is. “Everyone should have the same opportunity for an education,” says Bömers. And sees only one solution to this challenge: “We need scholarships!” The annual tuition for a bachelor student amounts to 20,000 Euro plus food and lodging.
He is leaving it up to the university to decide who gets his scholarship. “They can size up the situation best.” For private people and for companies, Jacobs University offers a number of special programs to promote young talent and perhaps also bind them to the company. In September his protege will begin studying. Bömers will have an opportunity to meet him or her. “I am already looking forward to it.”
He also felt joyful anticipation back then, a good 16 years ago, when he read in the newspaper about the founding of a private university in Bremen. Bömers got to know the American university system while studying at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He got a Master in Business Administration there. That something similar could be created in his home town, “I found it very interesting.”
So Bömers, who was already active among the “uni-friends,” an association for the promotion of the universities and the science location Bremen, attended the founding meeting of the International Universität Bremen at City Hall, which later became Jacobs University. “Since then,” he says, “I have provided both tangible and intangible support.”
He does it because he is convinced that the university is good for Bremen-North, for Bremen as a whole, and because he finds its concept self-evident, such as the ideas of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. “I’ve always thought that it made sense that Jacobs University teaches and does research in an interdisciplinary way.” And then there’s also the internationality. Michael Bömers himself traveled a lot in his life; importing wines from South Africa, California, and Chile. Openness to the world was part of his business. Even today, he maintains contacts to alumni of his university in Charlottesville.
And to this day, nothing has changed about his openness, even though he has long since retired from professional life. Boredom is a stranger to the father of three children. “I’m not able to do all the things I’d like to do.” Together with his wife, he plays chamber music, is politically interested, attends lectures and discussions, and participates in aid to refugees. Once a week, he meets with young people from Eritrea or Ethiopia, speaks German with them. “I find it very satisfying that I can be of help there.”
His next round birthday is already casting its shadow. Next year, Michael Bömers will turn eighty. This time there will be no big party. As we said, he’s not one who likes to be celebrated.
Thomas Joppig | Brand Management, Marketing & Communications
t.joppig [at] jacobs-university.de | Tel.: +49 421 200-4504