Brno University of Technology restores honorary doctorate stripped from Jan Antonín Baťa in 1948

More than 70 years after Baťa's title was rescinded by the university following claims by the communist regime, it has finally been restored

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 21.11.2020 17:16 (updated on 21.11.2020)

Brno University of Technology (VUT) has restored an honorary doctorate given to shoe manufacturer Jan Antonín Baťa, VUT spokeswoman Radana Koudelova has told CTK.

The VUT Scientific Council has overruled a 1948 decision to strip Baťa of the title.

Jan Antonín Baťa headed the Baťa firm in its 1930s heyday following the death of his brother Tomáš, and he was awarded the doctorate in 1937.

In the years following WWII, Baťa was convicted in absentia by Czechoslovakia's communist regime for reputed crimes against the state. Baťa died in 1967 while in exile in Brazil.

"Beyond any doubt, Jan Antonín Baťa is a great entrepreneur who helped promote the Czech Baťa brand in dozens of countries across three continents," VUT rector Petr Štěpánek said.

"He built up a brand whose name is reputed 100 years later. I am glad we corrected this historical fault."

The title was awarded to Baťa for his engineering work in Otrokovice near Zlín, south Moravia, where he helped build, for example, the 50-km long Baťa canal.

VUT's honorary title was awarded also to Tomáš Baťa, Jan Antonín's brother and co-founder of the family empire.

In its 120 years of existence, VUT has given out 67 honorary doctorates. Among the laureates are also Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, first president of Czechoslovakia, architect Eva Jiřičná, and engineer Nikola Tesla.