Mrs. Sonja Bata Received TBU Honorary Degree
Mrs. Sonja Bata became the next holder of the TBU honorary degree, conferred upon her by Tomas Bata University in Zlín on 26 April 2012. “We decided to award the TBU honorary degree to Mrs. Sonja Bata in recognition of her long-term support of TBU – from its establishment to the present time, in recognition of her promotion of the University abroad and of her personal contribution to the development of international relations of TBU,” said Prof. Petr Sáha, Rector of TBU.
Sonja Ingrid Wettstein was born in Zurich, Switzerland. One of her ancestors, namely Johann Rudolf Wettstein, signed the Treaty of Osnabruck in 1648 which brought official independence to the country of Switzerland. She studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and planned to become a world-renowned architect; however, in 1946 she married Tomas J. Bata, and so, instead of becoming an architect, she would become the first lady in shoe business. Sonja Bata always shared her husband's visions and determination to rebuild the shoe organization. Together they were travelling all around the world, not only in order to build up the family business but also for non-profit purposes (such as activities connected with the World Wildlife Fund or with the support of the mission of Mother Theresa and her orphans in Calcutta).
Since the 1990s, Tomas and Sonja Bata supported the idea of establishing a university in Zlin. Their enthusiasm and drive together with their positive approach and belief in success helped to speed up the entire process. After the death of her husband in 2008, Mrs. Sonja Bata replaced him as a member of the TBU Board of Governors.
Sonja decided to create a project which would promote the name of Tomas Bata University abroad and launched a lecture series focusing on responsible capitalism. This is an international project alternating annually between Tomas Bata University in Zlín and York University’s Schulich School of Business in Canada.
TBU is not the first higher education institution to cooperate with Mrs. Sonja Bata. In the past she was a member of Boards of Trustees at several Canadian universities. Besides, she was sitting on the Board of a number of public institutions. Mrs. Sonja Bata is currently the Chair of the Bata Shoe Foundation, Director of the Bata Shoe Organization, founder and Chair of the Bata Shoe Museum. As a founder and Chair of the Batawa Development Corporation she is in charge of rebuilding the old Bata town in Batawa, Ontario. Mrs. Bata has received numerous prestigious honours and awards throughout her life for her lifelong achievements, e.g. Officer of the Order of Canada; for her environmental work she was awarded a medal by the United Nations. She has been honoured with a number of honorary degrees by both Canadian and US universities.
“It is a great honour for TBU to confer our honorary degree upon this exceptional lady. Thus, Mrs. Sonja Bata will join Mr. José Manuel Durao Barroso and Mrs. Eva Jiřičná in the Hall of Honorary Doctors of TBU in Zlín,” said Prof. Petr Sáha, Rector of TBU.
Remarks by Sonja Bata [46 KiB]