Jos Reniers

University medal (1981, bronze)

Jos Reniers – universiteitspenning (1981, brons)

The medal has a diameter of 7.5 centimeters, is two centimeters thick and weighs 400 grams. The small work of art was designed by Jos Reniers (1948), who was trained as a sculptor at the Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhoven. He calls himself a sculptor-medal designer. The amount for the medal was raised by the Professor Cobbenhagen Foundation, on the occasion of the 11th 5-year anniversary of the university, in 1982.

At the time, six or seven preliminary studies were on display in Jos Reniers' studio on the outskirts of Helmond. The question he was asked was what moved him before he made his final choice. "I read everything I could about the university, the thick books about history. So my first idea was the book. The book from which the professors seem to rise. But that still seemed too narrative, and of insufficient eloquence. Then I considered things like the lion of Brabant, the city arms of Tilburg, and other heraldic elements. The tree (of wisdom), rooted in the book, could also not convince me... And suddenly it came to me!

The university of humanities and social sciences... The word. Passing on the word, the transmission of wisdom, from person to person. A socially oriented university. That became my starting point.

The result was a token featuring the master, speaking to his students who listen attentively, as if drinking wisdom. It is an intimate composition, the master and students gathered around the book, sitting on wisdom, making it clear that learning is a process of reciprocity. Each needs the other to pass on the word of wisdom. A remarkable aspect of the token is its opening. Reniers: "That came about spontaneously. I needed space, space for the echo of the word. The inscription on the back is in Latin, the ancient language of the universities: Universitas Catholica Tilburgiensis.

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The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.