Together with the HSE Academic Secretary, Natalia Savelieva, HSE News Service reminisces about how HSE’s most important award was conceived and how it has changed since it was started in 2001.
The first Golden HSE Award ceremony was held on November 27, 2001 as part of the festivities in honour of HSE’s 9th anniversary. For many years, the visionary and organizer of the award ceremony was Natalia Osipova, who headed the HSE Public Relations Unit at that time.
Is the one that is awarded by your fellow professionals
‘Natalya Osipova came up with the idea of having a Golden HSE Award and enlisted me to assist in preparing for the celebrations,’ says Natalia Sevalieva. ‘When it all started, award nomination applications were submitted to the HSE Academic Council after receiving preliminary approval from the Faculty Academic Council. At the Academic Council, three nominees for the award (in each nomination) were selected by an anonymous vote.’
The winners were chosen by the Board of Tenured Professors. Discussions of each nominee were often heated and final decisions changed several times.
‘Everything was kept in the strictest confidence, and the main task of the tenured professors was not to share any details with their colleagues and to preserve the air of mystery,’ says Natalya Savelyeva.
The 2001 award ceremony was held ‘Oscars style’ with many ‘cinematic’ attributes: short film montages about the nominees were screened and winners were announced with the ceremonial opening of sealed envelopes. There were seven nominations in total: ‘Academic Achievements’, ‘Teaching Achievements’, ‘Contribution to Research’, ‘Student Initiative’, ‘Graduate Success’, ‘Contribution to the Development of the School’, and ‘Contribution to the Development of the Country’.
The main symbol of the Golden HSE – a crow figurine, which is awarded to all award recipients – was devised at the very beginning. Though the statuette now looks quite different, it remains true to the original’s collegiate spirit: the crow’s wings are spread wide and pointed skyward, to new discoveries and achievements.
The Golden HSE Award Ceremony has always been a place to mingle with colleagues of different schools and departments. This is why, according to tradition, collectives such as the HSE Orchestra, the Force Majeure Choir, and HSE Theatre, and student comedy troupes give performances.
‘The idea behind the award is to give everyone due recognition, to acknowledge not only the award recipients, but all of the nominees. After all, very interesting and creative individuals work and study at HSE,’ said Natalia Osipova in an interview in 2010.
Even before the Golden HSE Award was introduced, HSE’s anniversary was celebrated with much pomp. As Natalia Osipova recalls, in 1998, colleagues from different branches performed so many exciting numbers and there was such a full house that many people even made counterfeit tickets to get in!
Despite the fact that the ceremony’s format and main principles do not change, every year it has a new theme. For example, in 2003, the ceremony was held at the Cinema House in the style of a film fest: there were nominations for main roles, supporting roles, and even the best ‘extras’. In 2008, the theme was the 2008 economic crisis, and ceremony guests celebrated the ‘Anti-Crisis Holiday’ with a drab atmosphere of tables covered in newspapers and no-frills herring and pickle sandwiches. In 2009, HSE was turned into a TV Tower with its own 17+ TV channel.
Another tradition associated with the ceremony is the unofficial HSE student anthem, ‘You’ve Gotten Fat’, without which not a single anniversary has been celebrated for many years. The song’s author is Andrei Vershinin, one of the organizers of the first awards and the founder of the HSE Theater.
The Golden HSE has always changed and grown. When it became clear that only teachers and researchers were being awarded, Yaroslav Kuzminov proposed introducing the ‘Golden Person’ nomination for administrative staff.
In 2012, organizers established the ‘Silver Nestling’ nomination – an honorary award for students for academic and research excellence. A little later, the nominations, ‘Golden Link’, ‘Friend of HSE’, and ‘Best Book’ were added. And old nominations transformed into new ones. For example, the ‘Best Student Initiative’ category is now the ‘Iron Egg’.
Looking back, it’s hard to imagine that there are now more employees and students at our Pokrovka campus alone than there were on all 4 of HSE’s Moscow campuses combined!
‘I’ll be honest – back when the Golden HSE was just beginning, everyone at the ceremony was a familiar face. Now I often catch myself thinking that I am an unfamiliar with a lot of people there,’ Natalia Savelieva says. ‘But the main thing about the Golden HSE Award Ceremony remains the same – it’s a great place to see your friends in an informal atmosphere and celebrate your colleagues’ success.’
Over the years, the ceremony venue has changed more than once. It has been held at the Moscow Youth Palace, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Cinema House, the ZIL Center, the RAMT Theater, and other concert venues. But the home of the Golden HSE nonetheless remains the Cultural Center on Pokrovka.
The nomination of candidates for the Golden HSE Award closes on October 29. HSE Life spoke with jury members about why it is important to nominate your colleagues.
In 2019, the ceremony will once again be held at the Cultural Centre of the Pokrovka complex, now freshly renovated. On November 27, we will gather here to recognize the accomplishments of our colleagues. The award recipients and the ceremony programme remain a surprise. You can support the nominees by leaving a comment on the award website.
‘We do not have too many holidays like HSE Day and Golden HSE. I always look forward to the event—and I don’t remember a single time that I went to Golden HSE in a bad mood,’ says Natalia Savelieva.
Text prepared by: Julia Giatsintova, Ivan Chernyavsky, Anna Reznikova