50 years Faculty of Economics

Logo 50 Jahre WiWi

In 1972, the Faculty of Economics was founded at the University of Karlsruhe (TH). 2022 - 50 years later, this event offers a special occasion to celebrate and to look back on the faculty's history.

What happened then....

We look back on 50 years of the Faculty of Business and Economics
Portrait Professor Göppl Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Opening of the KD2 Lab 

The DFG-funded Karlsruhe Decision & Design Lab (KD²Lab) in the heart of Karlsruhe is one of the largest computer-based experimental laboratories worldwide. With its excellent infrastructure for economic, neuro- and psycho-physiological experiments in a highly controlled environment, it offers optional conditions for interdisciplinary and internationally recognized cutting-edge research, especially in the areas of human decision behavior, human-machine interaction and social interaction.

The lab has two technically and spatially separated laboratory areas with 40 soundproof and air-conditioned computer cabins, two large team rooms for conducting group experiments, and a Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab.

The idea for the KD2Lab emerged back in 2009 in the course of research by Christof Weinhardt [spokesperson for the DFG project], Marc T.P. Adam and Tanja Schultz [co-spokesperson for the DFG project]. Together with the research groups of Professors Albers, Ehrhart, Ebner-Priemer, Puppe, Satzger, Seifert and Stork as well as Dr. Hey, the KD2Lab was successfully submitted to the DFG. With the support of the DFG, KIT and the state of Baden-Württemberg, physiological measurement equipment (eye trackers, Bioplux devices, etc.) was purchased and the KD2Lab was housed in central premises at Kronenplatz in Karlsruhe. After several years of construction, the official opening ceremony took place in April 2016.

Further information at: https://www.kd2lab.kit.edu/index.php

Stucky's Café' - From student project to Italian coffee bar
Three students, prospective industrial engineers in the 7th semester, developed a concept for a 'small Italian café' as part of a seminar (project management). The Studentenwerk Karlsruhe contributed cash and staff. After finding premises in the collegiate buildings at the castle, a sponsor for the complete furnishing of the coffee bar was still missing for the realization. Dean Prof. Dr. Wolffried Stucky agreed to make a donation for this purpose: Dr. Jürgen Zekeli, who had successfully completed his studies in 1957, donated a sum of money on the occasion of this 50th anniversary in 2007. With this donation and the commitment of the students it was possible to start up 'Stucky's Café' in the winter semester 2008/09. Coffee specialties, various beverages, sandwiches, sweets and snacks for coffee breaks were offered. 
Unfortunately, Stucky's Café no longer exists today. However, you don't have to do without good coffee. Since 2021, there is the intro Café at Kronenplatz, where the WiWi Fachschaft and some institutes as well as the dean's office of the KIT Faculty of Economics are located, which convinces with its coffee specialties and food!
Institutes at the Faculty of Economics 1972
What did the structure of the Faculty of Economics actually look like when you founded it in the winter semester of 1972/73?
Prior to the establishment of the Faculty, there existed six institutes belonging to the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - specifically, the:
  • Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Economic Theory
  • Institute for Economic Theory and Operations Research
  • Institute for Applied Business Administration and Corporate Management
  • Institute for Economic Policy and Research
  • Institute for Manufacturing Economics and Labor Science
  • and finally the Institute for Applied Computer Science and Formal Description Methods, founded in 1971.
These six institutes formed the Faculty of Economics at the time of its establishment.
After the founding of the faculty, the number of institutes initially grew to seven (winter semester 1975/76) and in 1982 to ten.
Today, the research focus at the KIT Faculty of Economics is concentrated in nine institutes, which are described in more detail here: https://www.wiwi.kit.edu/forschung.php.
Then as now, the institutes can be thematically assigned to the four "pillars" of Business Administration, Economics, Operations Research, and Applied Computer Science, which characterize research and teaching at the KIT Faculty of Economics.
Tour Eucor - Cycling Tour on the Upper Rhine
The Tour Eucor was initiated in 1998 by the WiWi student council at KIT, has meanwhile been organized in an own association and has developed into a popular event with more than 120 participants every year. All five Eucor universities are involved: Strasbourg, Basel, Haute-Alsace (Mulhouse), Freiburg and KIT. Eucor - The European Campus was founded in 1989 as an association of the universities on the Upper Rhine. This unique university cooperation at all levels forms the basis for the Eucor tour, which follows the European idea.
As before, the event will be supported by a 14-member student support team of the WiWi student council of KIT, which will take care of luggage transport, break supplies, and lunch on the stages. The Tour Eucor starts and ends at the KIT, the total distance covered in five daily stages is 600-900 km, depending on which of the six performance groups you belong to. Group light blue rides directly along the Rhine, while the top group dark black likes to make a detour to take additional mountains in the Vosges, the Swiss Jura or the Black Forest. The event is not a bike race, it is the common exchange that counts. Participating students, university staff and alumni of all Eucor universities are united by the common will to overcome borders - personal sporting, language barriers, as well as national borders.
Contribution: Tour Eucor e.V.
Party like the WiWis
What would a summer be without the WiWiSo? This year the WiWi student council organized the WiWi summer party for the 40th time. The change of location to the Gerthsen did not dampen the mood and after two years of Corona-related break, the party was once again a great success. But the change of location from the Audimax Foyer to the Gerthsen is not the only change of location that WiWiSo has survived well in the past. Until the WiWi buildings at the castle were vacated in 2016, the popular parties were held on the green space in front of the collegiate buildings at the castle. Before the lawn was transformed into a dance floor, students, representatives of the Mittelbau and professors competed against each other in the "human kicker". Refreshments were available at the Prof. Bar after the games. What could not be missing at the castle, in the Audimax or today in Gerthsen was the Mexican on the drinks list - some things just never change.
Establishment of the industrial engineering degree program

The industrial engineering course as we know it today was introduced at the University of Karlsruhe (TH) in 1969.

However, a purely economics-based course of study had already existed since 1946. Starting in 1947, there were training plans for technical economists and industrial engineers. However, at that time the course of studies had a different orientation: Industrial engineers saw themselves as engineers with additional knowledge of economics. (Cf. Hermann Maurer/Klaus Neumann: Faculty of Economics. In: Fridericiana. Faculty of Economics. Jubiläum 1825-1975, Sonderdruck 1975, pp. 73-83, here p. 73.) This profile has changed over time. With the increased establishment of chairs in business administration, the technical economist was joined by a technical business economist (cf. ibid., p. 73.) According to the 1989 Faculty Guide, the program was introduced "to adapt the education of economists to the developments in business and administration during the last two decades" (Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften/Universität Karlsruhe (TH) (ed.): Fakultätsführer, Karlsruhe 1989, p. 10 f.). Special focus was placed on sound knowledge in mathematics, operations research and applied computer science.

Even today, the industrial engineering course at the KIT Faculty of Business and Economics is characterized by a high proportion of computer science. The aim is to enable industrial engineers to solve economic-technical problems by means of quantitative methods.

The diploma program in industrial engineering was offered in three specializations: business planning, operations research/computer science, and insurance, as shown in the 1989 curriculum in the figure on the right. In today's bachelor's program, students choose their focus of study individually according to their strengths after completing the three-semester basic studies. Students can choose from a wide range of specialization profiles, for example in controlling, energy management, automotive engineering, information security and many others.

Foundation of the Faculty of Economics in 1972
"The Dean [Prof. Dr. Hermann Göppl] announces that on June 13, 1972, the state government approved the change in the basic regulations and thus the division of Faculty V/alt." 
So it can be read in the minutes of the meeting of the Dean's Council of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on June 21, 1972.
Until the summer semester of 1972, the Department of Economics was part of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University (TH) of Karlsruhe. After the Industrial Engineering course had become increasingly popular in the early 1970s, the desire for a separate faculty was great. After intensive discussions, the Faculty of Economics was founded in the winter semester of 1972/73.  
The first dean of the newly founded faculty was Prof. Dr. Hermann Göppl from 1971 to 1973. He also held the chair of Business Administration I and, together with Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Rudolf Henn, was head of the Institute for Statistics and Quantitative Methods of Business Management. From 2004 until his retirement in 2005, Professor Göppl headed the Department of Finance and Banking at the Institute of Finance, Banking and Insurance (FBV).