Humans of IHS: Ruud Frank

Maarten Zeehandelaar

Humans of IHS is a mini-portrait series that features the people who make IHS a unique place. Many urban professionals with common roots describe it as a welcoming, familiar space. But what stands out the most from their experience are the people part of the institute. This is what drove us to create this mini-series: the wish to give others a glimpse of the amazing people that make IHS special.

Ruud Frank is part of the Education Management Office and is in charge of Facilities & Student Support at IHS. His main responsibilities are managing the logistics of the IHS floor and student accommodation and organising events, excursions, and sports days. He started working at the institute in 1999 when IHS was located in the famous Bouwcentrum (also called Round Building) in the heart of Rotterdam. 

A little bit of nostalgia

Ruud is fond of the memories made in the Bouwcentrum. “Back in the round building, we had the opportunity to hold our graduation ceremony at the City Hall with the Mayor of Rotterdam handing out the diplomas.”

He also mentioned the big move from the city centre to the Woudestein Campus when IHS became part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2000. As the Facilities Manager, he oversaw the move and redesigning of the whole 14th floor of the Mandeville building. 

“There were no walls, nothing. It was a big advantage as we had the opportunity to work with architects to shape the floor as we wanted.” 

Ruud also remembers 2003, when the institute underwent serious reorganisation, and 2/3 of the staff was dismissed. He is happy that he managed to keep his job and still work with some colleagues from a long time ago. “I applied for my own job with 3-4 other colleagues, some of them with more experience than me. I guess I was the lucky one.” 

Favourite IHS moments

Ruud highlights the international and informal atmosphere of IHS, both in terms of colleagues and students. “There is never a dull moment at IHS. I am happy to say that I got to know so many different people from all over the world.” He also enjoys organising social gatherings for the students. 

“Students usually come to Rotterdam alone, and they feel a bit lonely at first. Social gatherings are a great way to make them feel at home.” 

When asked about his favourite memory at IHS, he recalled a memorable sports day in 2015.

“As a small institute, we don’t win tournaments often. Luckily, 7 years ago, we had a great group of Brazilian students who helped us win the football tournament! The cup is still showcased in our bar area.”

What does the future hold?

Back then, Ruud helped students in many ways. “We used to accompany participants to doctor’s appointments, pick them up at the airport and teach them how to ride a bike!” Because of the internet, students now need less help settling in as it is easier for them to find information. 

There have been many changes over the years at IHS that Ruud has been part of. The organisation has grown tremendously since its establishment, and a new director has just been appointed as of September 2022. With the 65th anniversary of IHS coming up, Ruud looks into the future full of excitement. 

“IHS is a centre of excellence with so many brilliant people, and I hope it survives another 65 years.”

The Bouwcentrum Rotterdam
IHS graduation in the City Hall
The IHS football team

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