Laudatio in Celebration of Professor Rolf Ewers on his 75th birthday

Authors: Constantinus Politis


Together with the readers and the editors at the Stomatology Edu Journal we would very much like to congratulate Professor Rolf Ewers on his 75th birthday. Throughout his academic career he has shown visionary leadership in clinical commitment, clinical expertise, innovation and research creating a brand name at the Vienna University. His department was known for its excellence at the top of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery. During and after his academic career he has been the figurehead for many of us and serves as a living example of what can be achieved with intelligence, manual dexterity, perseverance, organisational and political talent, open mindedness and above all a profound understanding of patient care and commitment to each patient. He was born on 01.12.1943 in Litzmannstadt, Poland and attended school in Germany. Thereafter he spent one year as an exchange student in the United States. He graduated from the medical school and the dentistry one at Freiburg (Germany). Again he chose the United States for a surgical assistantship at the Downstate University Medical Center, Brooklyn – New York. His time in the US proved to be an excellent investment. Then he rose to academic prominence to the position of Professor Ordinarius and Chairman of the Department of Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Vienna, in November 1989, a position which he held till 2012. Being a savvy, hardworking and skillful surgeon with an excellent team around him, he came to be in the limelight of craniomaxillofacial surgery performing the first tongue transplantation in the world in 2003. He was granted German–Austrian dual nationality. Together with his wife Hildegund they raised 3 children: Josefine, Stephanie and Elisa. Hildegund is the most underestimated part of his biography. To channel such an academic storm of talent and keep a balance between career and family life takes both IQ and EQ and she perfectly knows how to be the Neck in this succesful Head and Neck combination. It is impossible for the Head not to turn in the same direction as Hildegund. Pursuing an academic career requires great sacrifices to meet the expectations of a University: research, articles, PhD, lectures, teaching, resident training programs, clinical excellence, clinical output and active participation in national and international meetings, boards and journals. All of these tasks to be fulfilled at a fixed and modest wage! Professor Rolf Ewers faced all these challanges without hesitation as if nature had gifted him with a constant stream of creativity and energy. He has written over 600 publications in the fields of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery either as author, senior author or co-author, as well as more than 20 chapters in books. He held more than 760 scientific lectures worldwide, more than 800 student lectures; he is a member of 29 professional associations, of 11 editoral boards of national and international peer reviewed journals. His scientific success is based on medical research. He devoted much of his time and interest in bone replacement materials with porous hydroxyapatite, bone inductive proteins and bioengineered bone production. He was a leader in the development of 3D-reconstruction techniques and computer-assisted intra-operative navigation, augmented virtual reality, and telesurgery.

He has been rightfully and frequently decorated with national and international prizes and awards.

We know he loves reading, bicycling, art, music and the State Opera in Vienna. We wish you and your family the very best in the future: enjoy life!

Constantinus Politis, MD, DDS, MHA, MM, PhD

Professor and Chairperson

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Co-Editors-in-Chief (Europe) of Stomatology Edu Journal