This edition of the Santander-sponsored prize includes a research grant

Award presented on 1 March during the official celebration of the university's 731st anniversary

For more information about the University of Coimbra Prize, see

Lisbon, 25 February 2021. PRESS RELEASE
José Tolentino de Mendonça, Portuguese cardinal, poet, essayist and theologian, was announced as the winner of the 2021 University of Coimbra Prize (sponsored by Banco Santander) on 25 February, by the University's rector, Amílcar Falcão.

Considered one of the most important science and culture awards, this year the Prize includes a Santander research grant. The award will be presented on 1 March by rector Amílcar Falcão, during the official celebration of the university's 731st anniversary.

According to Pedro Castro e Almeida, country head of Santander, "the bank is extremely honoured to participate in the presentation of the University of Coimbra Prize do cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, a leading name in the world of culture, a constant observer of the winds of change around the world, particularly as regards social issues. A unique figure that crosses the border of religion, and Portugal."

"I am happy to announce the winner of the 2021 UC Prize, cardinal Tolentino de Mendonça. He is an incomparable figure, an example of culture, with an inclusive social vision that had a direct impact on the jury, who unanimously voted for him. Despite other noteworthy applicants, cardinal Tolentino Mendonça stood out for his unquestionable reputation in Portugal and elsewhere", said the rector Amílcar Falcão.

Born in Machico (Madeira) on 15 December 1965, Tolentino de Mendonça has a PhD in Biblical Theology from the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. A priest since 1990 and the archivist and librarian of the Holy See since 2018, he was named cardinal by Pope Francis on October 2019. In addition to a long academic history, the winner is the author of an incredibly rich cultural and literary body of work.

Commander of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (2001) and of the Military Order of Sant'Iago da Espada (2015), Tolentino de Mendonça presided the Day of Portugal organizing committee in 2020 and gave an unforgettable speech, which has been published as the book "O que é amar um País". He spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and said that it "forces us, as a community, to reflect on the condition of elderly people" and "means strengthening the inter-generation pact".

Created in 2004, sponsored by Santander Universities and supported by the Global Media Group, the annual UC Prize (€25,000) chooses a Portuguese figure with a particularly important and innovative role in the spheres of culture and science.

For the first time in its history, the Prize is dividing its total amount of €25,000

into two parts: €10,000 for the winner and €15,000 for a Santander research grant to be awarded to an area chosen by the winner. "Given who the winner is, we believe it will be an area of inclusivity, striving to respond to society's needs in such a hard year when humanity, the theme of the 23rd Cultural Week at University of Coimbra, is extremely well represented by such a winner", explained Amílcar Falcão.

The university's rector chaired the jury, with Inês Oom de Sousa, an executive at Banco Santander Totta, and Domingos de Andrade, director of Global Media and general managing editor of the newspapers DN and JN and the radio station TSF, as the vice-chairs. The jury included Sofia de Menezes Frère (head of Santander Universidades), Inês Cardoso (director of Jornal de Notícias), Luís Neves (vice-rector of the UC and lecturer at the School of Science and Technology of the UC), Pedro Costa Gonçalves (lecturer at the Law School at the UC and member of the UC's general board), Matilde Lavouras (lecturer at the Law School at the UC

and member of the UC's management committee) and Jorge Castilho (chair of the UC Alumni Association).

For more information and the list of previous winners of the University of Coimbra Prize, see

Santander and its commitment to education
Through Santander Universities, Santander in Portugal undertakes to promote the best practices in response to the challenges posed by Portuguese society. The bank is already a leading promoter of higher education in Portugal, with partnerships with 50 higher education institutions. The bank invests more than €7 million in Corporate Social Responsibility every year.

Banco Santander has a strong commitment to progress and inclusive and sustainable growth, boasting a consolidated commitment to higher education that sets it apart from other financial institutions worldwide. It has invested more than €1,800 million in academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universities and awarded over 430,000 scholarships and financial aid since 2005.