Johann Wilhelm Gerlach

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Johann Wilhelm Gerlach (born June 7, 1938 in Koblenz ) is a German legal scholar and former president of the Free University of Berlin and the German-Kazakh University .


Gerlach studied law, economics and sociology in Bonn, Cologne, Vienna and Freiburg. After his doctorate and second state examination (1967), he initially worked as a research assistant and academic advisor at the Free University (FU), and since 1972 as a professor of civil law , commercial law and civil procedural law . In 1991 he was elected President of the FU as the successor to the outgoing Dieter Heckelmann and was re-elected for a second term four years later.

In Gerlach's tenure, profound structural reforms took place as a result of the reunification of the Berlin university landscape, which had been separated for decades, combined with austerity measures due to the tight budget situation in the state of Berlin. Since 1992 the Free University has had to cope with losses in the hundreds of millions; the number of professorships fell from 926 to 541 in 2001, the number of financed study places in the same period from 38,915 to 25,122. Despite these massive cuts, Gerlach succeeded not only in maintaining the wide range of subjects at the FU, but also in promoting the establishment of new interdisciplinary and international centers and thus laying the foundation for the later development of the FU into a University of Excellence .

In 1999 Gerlach left office prematurely after a serious car accident. After his recovery he worked in a variety of functions in the field of international university cooperation, including at the DAAD , the German Rectors' Conference and the European University Association . He also advised universities and accreditation institutions in Spain, Chile and Mexico.

From 2007 to 2015 Gerlach was President of the German-Kazakh University in Almaty, founded in 1999 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Information from: Small Chronicle of the Free University of Berlin 1989–2004 - The time of the reunified university landscape
  2. Small Chronicle of the FU Berlin: May 1991. The legal scholar Johann Wilhelm Gerlach is elected as the new President of the FU