Een fotomontage waarbij de namen van de nieuwe paden in de richtingaanwijzers staan
Een fotomontage waarbij de namen van de nieuwe paden in de richtingaanwijzers staan

New paths on Radboud campus to be named after students and PhD candidates

Eight new paths on the Radboud University campus will be named after former students or PhD candidates. The University’s proposal was submitted to the municipal council, which agreed to the plans on Wednesday 30 November 2022.

Following the demolition of most of the buildings on Thomas van Aquinostraat and the construction of the Maria Montessori building, among others, the University laid several new paths on the southern part of the campus – and those paths needed names. Below is a list of the names and some background information about the individuals. On the accompanying map you can see where the paths are located.

A map of the Radboud University campus with names and locations of the new paths
On the accompanying map you can see where the paths are located.

Douwine Norelpad

Douwine Norel (Zutphen 1909 – Colmschate 2000), known as Wineke to her friends, studied Medicine in Leiden; she was a student friend and fellow sorority member of Princess Juliana. Her choice to pursue advanced training in surgery was highly unusual at the time; she was the first woman to be registered as a surgeon in the Netherlands (in 1941). During the Second World War, she became a nun and joined the order of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, or the White Sisters for short. After the war, following additional training in tropical medicine in Paris, she left for Africa as a surgeon-gynaecologist. Via Algiers, she reached the French colony of Upper Volta, where she worked in a military-civilian hospital, with the Foreign Legion. In 1956, she left the order and obtained her PhD in Nijmegen on a thesis entitled Anatomy of the trigonum vesicae and the aetiology and treatment of spontaneous and traumatic obstetrical urogenital fistulae. Her PhD supervisor was Professor Lou Stolte. This made Norel the first woman to receive a PhD in Medicine in Nijmegen. Afterwards, she worked alternately in the Netherlands and in Africa. Wineke Norel was known as a vibrant, multifaceted woman of great tenacity, which helped her overcome the resistance she frequently encountered in her life.

Rein van der Veldepad

Rein van der Velde (Sappemeer 1894 – Amersfoort 1982) studied Classical Languages in Utrecht. After graduating in 1918, he began his PhD research under the supervision of Jos Schrijnen, Endowed Professor, and from 1921 onwards Extraordinary Professor at Utrecht University. In the meantime, Van der Velde taught Classical Languages at the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt Gymnasium in Amersfoort. When Schrijnen was appointed Professor – and first Rector Magnificus – of the newly founded Catholic University in Nijmegen in 1923, he continued to supervise the by then far advanced PhD thesis of Van der Velde. This is what made it possible for the new university to hold its first PhD award ceremony already in its first academic year. On 28 May 1924, Van der Velde obtained his doctorate cum laude under Schrijnen's supervision on a PhD thesis entitled Thessalische Dialektgeographie (Thessalic Dialectal Geography). The newspapers were full of the news, especially since Van der Velde was not a Catholic. At the Amersfoort gymnasium where Van der Velde continued to teach until his retirement, he was known as a warm-hearted and enthusiastic Latin teacher.

Fritz Polakpad

Fritz Polak (Nijmegen 1917 – Auschwitz 1943) was a true Nijmegen boy, from a Jewish, musical family. His grandfather and father had well-known specialty shops in musical instruments and musical equipment (radios, gramophones) in the city centre. His mother, who died in 1937, was a pianist, had studied at the Cologne conservatory, taught piano, and was a performing artist. After graduating from the Stedelijk Gymnasium in 1937, Fritz, who also had musical qualities, enrolled in a study programme in Law at the university in his hometown. He was one of the very few Jewish students in Nijmegen at the time and became an active member of the Club of Protestant Students, a fraternity open to all non-Catholic students. By order of the occupying forces and like all other Jewish students in the Netherlands, he was forced to discontinue his studies in 1941. Fritz was rounded up with his father and two brothers in September 1942, transported via Westerbork to Auschwitz, and murdered there in February 1943. His name appears on the memorial plaque in the Aula as well as on the National Holocaust Names Monument in Amsterdam, unveiled in 2021.

M.F. da Costa Gomezpad

Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez (Willemstad 1907 – Willemstad 1966) left for the Netherlands after completing the MULO, and attended the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Nijmegen from 1923 onwards. From 1925 to 1929, he studied Law at the Catholic University in Nijmegen. After studying in Nijmegen, he first spent some time working as a lawyer and prosecutor in the same city. In 1935, he defended his PhD thesis at the University of Amsterdam, entitled The legislative body of Curaçao, viewed in the context of Dutch colonial politics. In this work, the 28-year-old PhD candidate advocated for autonomy and universal suffrage for the people of the Netherlands Antilles. After returning to Curaçao, he campaigned for self-government of the Antilles and became an important politician. Nicknamed ‘Doktoor’, he chaired the Government Council from 1951 to 1954, and is often regarded as the first prime minister of the Netherlands Antilles. He was instrumental in establishing more democratic governance and greater autonomy for the Netherlands Antilles, and was involved in developing the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He also campaigned for the foundation of a University in the Antilles, which was eventually established in 1979, and has borne the name of Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez since 2011.

Gerard Leckiepad

Gerard Leckie (Paramaribo 1943 – Paramaribo 1982) studied Psychology at the Catholic University in Nijmegen in the 1960s and obtained his PhD in 1975, also in Nijmegen, on a thesis entitled Ontwikkeling van sociale cognitie. Een ontwikkelingsmodel voor rolnemingsvaardigheid bij kinderen (Development of social cognition. A developmental model of role-playing skills in children). His PhD supervisor was Professor Franz Mönks. Having obtained his PhD, Leckie returned to his homeland and became a lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Socio-Economic Sciences at the University of Suriname. He was also President of the Association of Research Staff of the University of Suriname. Leckie emerged as a principled defender of democratic and academic values at the University, which were compromised by the military rule of army chief Desi Bouterse from February 1980 onwards. He is known for saying: “The university is here for and through society. And its mission is to provide good education, conduct research relevant to Suriname, and provide services to society.” Although averse to politics and thoroughly convinced of the usefulness of dialogue, Leckie was nevertheless seen as the instigator of student and teacher protests, and fell into the hands of the military regime in late 1982, with fatal results. Gerard Leckie was one of 15 victims of the December Murders.

Ida Groenewoutpad

Little is known about Ida Groenewout (The Hague 1909 – Voorburg 1999). Starting in 1928, she first studied Classical Archaeology and later Law. It is unclear whether she completed her studies; she probably did not get beyond a candidate's degree in Law. She was one of the few non-Catholic, or ‘dissenting’, students in Nijmegen at the time. In the academic year 1935-1936, she was elected President of the Club of Protestant Students, part of the NSC Carolus Magnus. This made her the first female student at Nijmegen University to hold such an important administrative position in a club whose membership was not open to girls only. She married lawyer Gerrit van Nijnatten; the couple had met while studying. During the occupation, the couple provided help to fleeing Jews. After the war, Ida Groenewout continued to champion the position of women.

Boukje en Roos-pad

Boukje Niewold (1978 – 2001) and Roos de Jong (1977 – 2001) were young, talented, promising art history students, eager to learn, and with a multifaceted interest in their studies and in the world surrounding them. On Saturday 30 June 2001, together with their fellow students, led by Jos de Waele, Professor of Classical Archaeology, they were on their way to an excavation campaign in Pompeii when the van they were travelling in went off the road on the Autobahn near the southern German town of Baden Baden. Boukje Niewold and Jos De Waele were killed in the accident; a few weeks later, Roos de Jong also passed away, without regaining consciousness. The Nijmegen academic community was paralysed and shocked. Professor De Waele was a universally esteemed, fatherly lecturer, a gifted archaeologist, and an erudite scholar. Boukje and Roos were, each in their own way, sprightly, promising young adults who enjoyed their studies and life. The world was at their feet. From one moment to the next, they had been snatched from life, broken like flowers in bud.

Boukje Niewold and Roos de Jong represent all students who have died while studying at Radboud University since 1923.


Thea Ivenspad

Thea Ivens (Nijmegen 1906 – Nijmegen 1997) came from an enterprising and artistic Nijmegen family. Her father, Kees Ivens, was a photographer, entrepreneur and city councillor, and her older brother Joris would later become a world-famous filmmaker. As a young girl, Thea Ivens took part in the festivities at the opening of the Catholic University in Nijmegen on 17 October 1923. In 1926, she enrolled in a study programme in Law, which she successfully completed six years later. In the meantime, she was active in student life, among other things by being one of the first women, in 1928-1929, to be on the board of the NSC Carolus Magnus. After graduating, she married fellow student (Classical Languages) and journalist Uri Nootenboom, who died in Zutphen in 1945, just before the liberation (his name appears on the plaque in the Aula). A young widow with six children, Ivens, a resolute, decisive woman, remained socially active (e.g. as a member of the Nijmegen Municipal Council), also at the University, including on the Reunion Council and the Advisory Board of the Nijmegen University Magazine.

Gerard Disveldpad

Gerard Disveld (1928-2002) worked on the Heyendael estate as a gardener (and animal caretaker) from the 1950s until the early 1990s at the very location where the Faculty of Medicine and the St. Radboud Teaching Hospital (which both became part of Radboud university medical center) were founded and developed. Disveld lived on Houtlaan and each day as he went to work, where he was a well-known and respected figure, he took the path that would eventually be named after him. When he took retirement, his colleagues erected the Disveldpad street sign in his honour. This was done outside the municipal regulations, but the sign remained and the path became widely known as the Disveldpad. Now, in 2022, the path’s name has been given official status.

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