Sara de la Cruz, a first-year IE student, stepped out of the Begoña metro station and was immediately shocked by the euphoric atmosphere that surrounded her. The King had arrived at the IE tower, and students were thrilled by his presence.
On the 19th of October 2021, His Majesty King Felipe VI was present at the Paseo de la Castellana, where he inaugurated the new IE campus in Madrid, a 35-story building in which 4,000 students from all around the world study. The university emerged in 1973 as a business institute. The IE tower is now the tallest vertical tower in Europe and third in the world after the Mode Gakuen Cocoon complex in Tokyo and the Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Sara tells us that walking into the campus felt like going through airport security as police surrounded the area. She walked through the revolving doors and was startled by the metal detectors that awaited her. As she put her belongings through, she sensed the tense yet thrilling atmosphere and heard people whispering to each other, wondering where His Majesty could be at that exact moment.
His Majesty, along with the minister of universities, Manuel Castells, the PP leader; Pablo Casado and the regional President of the Community of Madrid; Isabel Diaz Ayuso, first attended the inauguration speech. The institution’s president, Diego del Alcazar Silvela, presented the new skyscraper with an innovative VR presentation that demonstrated IE’s modernity. Alcazar mentioned that “The IE Institution aims to promote education as a key to sustainable development”.
Once this was over, the King was escorted to the 20th floor, where he marvelled at the beautiful view of Madrid. “Impresionante” (“Impressive”) were his words when analyzing the IE installations. He then walked into class number 20.1, where a first-year BBA class had the pleasure to welcome him. Nicolas Yenes, a BBA student, told us that His Majesty walked around the classroom before asking students what they were currently studying, demonstrating his interest in the subject. “The King seemed rather dazzled by the classroom as well as the views that surrounded us as he kept on raising his eyebrows.” Nicolas was not only impressed by how amiable His Majesty was but also by his impeccable English. He also said, “It was hard to concentrate in class after having the King of Spain walk into your lesson”- but how can we blame him? It is not something that happens every day.
The Monarch later toured through the north and southern terraces where He encountered various excited students, followed by the design studio on floor 22 and the 360-degree classroom where a Building Powerful Relationships lesson was in progress.
He later left the building and met with several students, and also took a group picture. Casilda Suarez de Puga tells us that he let the crowd know that “students should study and have fun as well”. Erika Schoettle, who was present, says that hair stood on end as she heard the crowd repeatedly chanted “Long Live Spain” and “Long Live the King”. The exhilaration continued with Ayuso and Casado as students threw themselves at them, hoping to get a picture. Beatriz Alcaide, a law student, managed to have a short but enjoyable conversation with both politicians as they spoke about her aspiration to be a politician herself.
Felipe VI attended Georgetown University, considered one of the top universities in the world. IE University should therefore be proud to have impressed His Majesty with its purpose and innovative installations.