Award of honorary citizenship


Ulrich Thiele is awarded honorary citizenship by the RWTH

Awarding ceremony © Andreas Schmitter Ulrich Thiele (2. from right) is new honorary citizen of the RWTH Aachen. Congratulating him are Dean Schmachtenberg (right), Head of the Senate Professor Kowalewski (left) and the Dean of Faculty 5 for Georesouces and Material Science Professor Preuße.

Iserlohn entrepreneur is a non-material and financial supporter of the university.

RWTH now honored the Iserlohn entrepreneur Ulrich Thiele with the dignity of honorary citizen. This was preceded by the decision of the RWTH Senate to honor the entrepreneur from Iserlohn with this distinction for outside individuals. "Ulrich Thiele has been closely associated with Aachen University for many years. With his support of a non-material and financial nature, he made a significant contribution to improving the situation of students and enriching research activities," explained the Dean of Faculty 5 Georessourcen und Materialtechnik, Professor Axel Preuße, in his laudation. "This honorary citizenship is an extraordinary distinction for me. I feel it as recognition and respect for my life's work, which led me into entrepreneurial responsibility at a very early age. As a medium-sized entrepreneur, I have experienced some dramatic, but also many successful years," said the 70-year-old Thiele at the ceremony.

Thiele studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen University, specializing in production engineering. Due to the early death of his father, he took over the management of Thiele OHG and its sister company Kettenwerke Schlieper GmbH at the age of 27. Since 1998, Ulrich Thiele has been the sole shareholder of the Schlieper company. With great commitment, he expanded Thiele GmbH & Co KG, based in Iserlohn. It developed into a modern medium-sized company with around 500 employees. Subsidiaries were founded in Pittsburgh, USA, and Taiyuan, China. Today, the company is the world market leader in the field of chain systems for conveying and transporting raw materials in the mining industry.

Wide-ranging support

Since the 1960s, the Thiele company - at that time still represented by father August Thiele - has been supporting RWTH in a variety of ways. Research assignments in the field of chain systems in materials handling technology, production and company organization are elements of the very productive collaboration. Since 2015, the non-profit Ulrich Thiele Foundation has financed the endowed professorship "Advanced Mining Technologies," which has since been filled by Professor Dr. Karl Nienhaus. It is dedicated in particular to the development of sensors and autonomous systems in raw material extraction under the guiding principle of "Digital Mining". In addition, numerous excursions by students were sponsored, thus providing valuable insights into the situation of international mining. 

"After my studies, I always kept in touch with my alma mater. Thanks in part to this cooperation, our company was able to develop technically and technologically to the point of market leadership. It offers a demanding academic education, and I like to call it an elite university. The chairs are staffed with outstanding experts, and there is intensive and close contact with industry. If I had to choose my education again today, I would take the same path again," emphasizes the new honorary citizen.