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On October 3, 2020, the Senate of Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania awarded the title of Professor Emeritus to Professor Dr. János Csapó. Due to the pandemic, the handover ceremony of the diploma took place on June 25, 2021, in Cluj-Napoca, as part of a celebratory senate meeting, the day before which the Faculty of Miercurea Ciuc and the Department of Food Science greeted the professor on the occasion of his 70th birthday in a scientific session.

At the meeting of the Senate, the work of the professor in Transylvania was evaluated by Dr. Sándor Szép, professor emeritus, as follows.

Dear celebrating community, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to pay tribute to our founding professor on behalf of the Department of Food Science at the Miercurea Ciuc Faculty of Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania. Professor Dr. János Csapó joined the group of lecturers of engineering courses launched in Miercurea Ciuc in 2002 at the request of founding dean dr. Szabolcs Lányi, taking up a role in the teaching of the basic subjects of engineering courses and, in addition, in shaping the careers of young people. Initially, he worked as a visiting professor, then from the 2009/10 academic year, after a successful competitive examination in accordance with Romanian law, he worked as a university professor with a ministerial appointment in the Department of Food Science, which he founded in 2006.

He laid the foundation for his multifaceted knowledge by majoring in chemistry at the University of Szeged and in animal husbandry at the Kaposvár College of Agriculture. He received his doctoral degree in 1980 from the Gödöllő University of Agricultural Sciences for his thesis titled “Investigation of the amino acid and protein fractions of colostrum and milk in cattle populations of different genotypes”, while he obtained his Ph.D. on November 17, 1995, when the Doctoral Council of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences declared him a doctor of agricultural sciences, based on his doctoral dissertation titled Colostrum and milk composition of our domesticated ruminants and the analysis of some ingredients.

He began his career in the Central Laboratory of the Agricultural College of Kaposvár. Just like the people living on the edge of the Carpathian Basin, who lived in several countries while inhabiting the same houses, János Csapó also changed his employer several times due to the continuous reorganization and transformation of the College, while working in the same building. In his autobiography, he states about his: “Thus, I worked in the Central Laboratory and the Department of Chemistry-Biochemistry of the Agricultural College of Kaposvár, and then its legal successor, the Kaposvár Faculty of Animal Husbandry of PANNON University of Agricultural Sciences, where I have been the head of the Feed Chemistry Laboratory since 1978. [...] First, I was ranked scientific research assistant, then research fellow and then senior research fellow, I was appointed associate professor in August 1992, and professor in August 1996”. As a result of the magic of the soccer field, his activities expanded in other directions during this time, as he also worked as a soccer referee, continuing the practical application of Brown’s movement first at the edge of the field and then on the field.

His great experience as a scientific researcher and organizer was provided by the College of Kaposvár and several study trips abroad, so when he joined the construction work of the Miercurea Ciuc faculties of Sapientia University in 2002, he was already a recognized professor of his profession. At Sapientia, his first subject introduced was Food chemistry, followed by Biochemistry and, a year later, Analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis. With the advent of specialized subjects, ha made a change and introduced Milk and dairy products in the diet, then Detection of food counterfeiting, followed by Dairy industry technologies, in a curriculum shaped by the lack of teachers.

The transition to the Bologna system has somewhat stabilized the curriculum, so the professor’s role as the person in charge of the subjects has focused on four subjects, namely Food chemistry, Dairy industry technologies, Analytical detection of food counterfeiting in basic and Functional foods in the Master’s program. At the beginning of the agricultural training in Sfântu Gheorghe, he was requested to teach the subjects General and organic chemistry and Biochemistry.

The “legacy” of Professor Dr. János Csapó at Sapientia HUT is diverse. In addition to the introduction of these subjects, he is associated with the editing of the journal Acta Sapiaentiae Alimantaria, which he performed for 12 years (2008-2020), high quality edition and publication of the notes and textbooks of all the subjects he taught, embracing young colleagues (he was the Ph.D. advisor of three Sapientia lecturers) and last, but not least, encouraging departmental faculty to move toward food science research. What I would like to highlight from the legacy are his two subjects related to thesis work, namely: Research methodology in the food sciences (in the undivided program) and Preparation of the thesis. The latter was introduced to food engineering students in the 2006/2007 academic year.

Through this subject we have all learned, both faculty and students, the topic of food science, some basic characteristics of food, starting from texture, basic constituents, their quantitative determination, grouping and, of course, the importance of organizing scientific work, the basic steps of the research process specific to the field.

We have learned that in each case it is very important to formulate the objectives, review the literature, design the experiment, describe the process, record the activities in a notebook or a digital calendar, proper data processing and a concise report. The pioneering work carried out with the first three graduating classes, resulting in more than 80 theses based on laboratory research according to the expectations of the profession, is a testimony to the organizing work of Dr. János Csapó. He stated that a thesis of the appropriate level, in addition to the joint activities of the student and the advisor, also reflects the work of the lecturers of the department, for the preparation of a thesis is a process which highlights the well-done work of the term, but especially the failure which seem to have nothing to do with such an activity. For this reason, he considered it important that all lecturers, even those who are not advisors, understand the importance of training the student in this area and that the necessary competences are not gained in the last semester.

Sapientia owes the establishment of the Department of Food Science to Professor Dr. János Csapó, who undertook its operation under circumstances when the taking of each step depended on someone else. The Scientific Council of the Institute of Research Programs established by the Sapientia foundation and the Faculty Council of the Miercurea Ciuc Faculty of Engineering and Social Sciences also owe much to the knowledge, organizational experience and competence represented by the Professor. Despite the fact that today’s students, cultured in the droid system, are less and less interested in the written word, Professor Dr. János Csapó also fulfilled the legal requirement at Sapientia, providing his students with a minimum of 5 A4 pages/lecture of teaching aid. He did exemplary work in this as well. He formulated his life experience in the field of food chemistry-biochemistry and nutrition sciences in a voluminous book with a great deal of useful advice, which is now being published by Scientia Publishing under the title “The relationship between being overweight, obesity and the diet”.

Although the training of food engineers is approached from another field at the Miercurea Ciuc Faculty (the Professor’s approach is from the direction of Food science, while ours is from the direction of Food processes), based on more than 15 years of relationship I can say that Dr. János Csapó is really committed to Sapientia in Miercurea Ciuc. No matter how tiring the trip is, he has willingly done it and still does it. Ha has also analyzed the institutional culture that had developed many times. He, who mainly loved and practiced discipline and punctual work, and did not like work based on failure to assign tasks and to call to account. This also resulted in letters summarizing his concerns about food engineer training. His formulated and repeatedly stated managerial principle based on his life experience is that “a good leader is not one who does everything instead of the colleagues in the department, faculty or university, but one who organizes the work so that all his subordinates perform his or her work at the highest level, which is then followed and evaluated, and the people are rewarded or punished on that basis.”

During his 48 years of activity, Dr. János Csapó has been awarded several times: “for my outstanding teaching and research activities, I received, among other things, the Territorial Prima Primissima Award, the Szent-Györgyi Albert Award, the Széchenyi Professorial Fellowship and the Charles Simonyi Research Fellowship”, writes in his autobiography. His students from Kaposvár voted him the best lecturer at the university three times. He was honored by the Senate of Sapientia HUT with the Outstanding Educator Award in 2017 and was named Professor Emeritus in 2020. This latest accolade is like a crowning achievement of a long career in which the year 2021 is just a single station, as life goes on.

Miercurea Ciuc, August 12, 2021

Following this, on March 26, 2021, the Rector and Senate of the University of Debrecen also awarded the honorable title of Professor Emeritus to Professor Dr. János Csapó. The ceremonial handover took place on June 5, 2021, in Debrecen, during which Dean Dr. László Stündl praised the work of the Professor as follows:

Professor János Csapó has been doing outstanding teaching and research work at the University of Debrecen since 1992. During his scientific career, he obtained his Ph.D. in 1980, became a candidate of agricultural sciences (HAS) in 1984, habilitated in 1995, then became a doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1996. He has taught subjects related to general, organic, bio- and analytical chemistry, as well as food science and food analysis in both Hungarian and English in several undergraduate and Master’s programs, as well as in three doctoral schools. He wrote twelve books, more than 20 university notes and note supplements. He has more than 42 years of experience in the fields of analytical chemistry, food analysis, novel food production and the analysis of pro- and prebiotics. During his career, he has been the research leader, subtopic leader or participant in more than 50 research projects in the fields of animal husbandry, food science, analytical chemistry and food analysis. He is currently involved in the production of new, health-promoting foods, the research on functional foods, and the study of the effects of pro- and prebiotics. Other research areas: development of new analytical and food testing methods, determination of the biological value of proteins, development of new methods in the field of protein and amino acid analysis. He is currently the advisor of 3 active Ph.D. students.

Debrecen, June 05, 2021

On September 2, 2021, the Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management of the University of Debrecen bid farewell to emeritus professors in the framework of a scientific conference, during which the publishing house of the University of Debrecen published the book titled “Educational, scientific and public life activities of Professor Dr. János Csapó from 1974 to 2020”.

Prof. Dr. János Csapó receives the appointment of Professor Emeritus at the University of Debrecen
(Source: University of Debrecen)

By the Lexica Publishing House, the autobiographical writing of Prof. Dr. Ákos Péter Biacs, spiced with a professional atmosphere, entitled “My Career in the Attraction of Food and Biotechnology” was published. We recommend the book to our readers with the author's introductory words.

Ákos Péter Biacs

My career in attracting food and biotechnology

Eighty is a completely round number (80), when I reached this milestone in my age, the desire arised in my soul to look back and describe everything what I remember (“only the good”). My mother's grandfather, Béla Szira, a high school teacher and writer (he has 5 books, many short stories), and his occurrence of the time he predicted also prompted me to do so for as long as I could. The 75 are not round numbers, yet they have appeared in several professional journals greeting me with a brief appreciation of my career. At our regular meetings with my classmates who graduated with me at the József Attila High School in Buda, I always like to tell small stories from my life, as they know me well, especially the few I went to at the 50th primary school in Sopron street. According to my age, I am more preoccupied with the past than the uncertain future, by the time I was asked if I am already writing my “memoirs?” At our last meeting, I surprised them with a ten-page paper that was welcomed and has been asked several times since when it will be a sequel.

When the coronavirus epidemic spread in Hungary, my wife and I volunteered to quarantine, and this gave us the opportunity to take a bigger breath and write more voluminously. Knowing my intention, Lexica Publishing also encouraged me to write, so I set about it. (Ákos Péter Biacs)

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