Elina Mäkelä is the Spirit of Mercury at the 16th Ceremonial Conferment of the School of Business

She is the daughter of Provost Kristiina Mäkelä, one of the longest serving professors at the School of Business
Kuvassa näkyvät hymyilevät  provosti Kristiina Mäkelä, Merkuriuksen airut Elina Mäkelä ja Ari Mäkelä.
Elina Mäkelä (in the middle), together with her parents Kristiina (left) and Ari Mäkelä, is delighted for having been chosen as the Spirit of Mercury. Photo: Aalto University/Roope Kiviranta

Elina Mäkelä, a newly graduated Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration) and a recent alumna of the School of Business, will be the Spirit of Mercury at the ceremonial conferment organised by the School of Business in May 2022. The appointment was confirmed at an official event organised for requesting her to the role of the Spirit of Mercury on 6 March.

Elina Mäkelä is eagerly looking forward to the conferment ceremony and its fine traditions.

‘The conferment ceremony is the pearl of academic celebrations. It is a traditional, festive and dignified event, and increasingly rare internationally. It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be invited to the role of the Spirit of Mercury and to experience my first ceremony from a front row seat’, she says.

The Spirit of Mercury has various tasks in the conferment ceremony, ranging from guiding the wreath-weaving activities to the speech given at the ‘Sillis’ herring luncheon on the third day of the celebrations.

Elina Mäkelä will be familiarised with her tasks during the spring. She is also planning to prepare for her role by looking at image material from previous conferment ceremonies and participating in dance exercises.

‘I am also planning to buy a good pair of shoes that will prevent me from stumbling’, the fresh Spirit of Mercury says with a smile on her face.

A bright outlook, language skills and organisational skills

Both the conferment ceremony and its preparations are based on long-term traditions. The role of the Spirit of Mercury is given to the child of a professor of senior tenure. This time, Elina Mäkelä, the daughter of Provost Kristiina Mäkelä, Professor of International Business at the Aalto University School of Business, was asked to be the Spirit of Mercury. Therefore, the event for requesting the Spirit of Mercury was held at the home of Elina Mäkelä’s parents, Kristiina and Ari Mäkelä.

Matti Keloharju pitää Merkuriuksen airuen pyyntöpuhetta, ja tilaisuuden yleisö kuuntelee puhetta kiinnostuneena.
In his speech, the Conferror Matti Keloharju (right) talked about, among other things, the characteristics required of the Spirit of Mercury. Next to him, Head Marshal Matti Sarvimäki. Photo: Aalto University/Roope Kiviranta

The Conferrer Matti Keloharju gave a dignified but entertaining speech at the event, in which he asked for permission to invite Elina Mäkelä to be the Spirit of Mercury at the sixteenth ceremony of the School of Business. In his speech, Matti Keloharju explained the origin of the name of the Spirit of Mercury and the characteristics required of the Spirit of Mercury. 

‘The second part of the name Spirit of Mercury comes from the Roman god, Mercury, who was the protector of traders and therefore also a protector of economics and the related professions. In Finnish, the first part of the title ‘airut’, on the other hand, refers to a messenger, a pioneer or a predecessor, or an assistant at a celebration’, Keloharju said.

‘Naturally, the Spirit of Mercury is required to undergo the appropriate training, and they should also have virtues such as a bright and poetic outlook, and the ability to communicate these virtues to the promovendi and their companions. The role of the Spirit of Mercury requires not just nimble fingers and an artistic eye, but also a command of languages and an ability to communicate with the promovendi who represent a variety of age-groups and nationalities. In all of this, it is of great benefit if the organisational and communication skills and internationality of the Spirit of Mercury have been fine-tuned in the most diverse tasks. Among other things, these are the qualities that Elina Mäkelä has.’

Presentation skills and stamina

In her response speech, Kristiina Mäkelä looked back at her long history of conferment ceremonies. According to her, she will be at the top of her career as the parent of the Spirit of Mercury at the ceremony in spring 2022. She expressed her gratitude for the honour shown to her family, and accepted the request to allow her daughter, Elina, to act as the Spirit of Mercury.

‘I am convinced that the critical factors for success in the position naturally match my daughter’s characteristics’, Kristiina Mäkelä said.

‘With regard to presentation skills and language proficiency, Elina has received excellent genes. Student life at the School of Business has provided her with the stamina that is needed in the conferment ceremony.’

The programme also included two powerful serenades performed by the KYL (Helsinki Academic Male Choir) Quartet as well as coffee served at the long table of the beautiful home of the Mäkelä family. 

Kuvassa näkyy KYLin kvartetti laulamassa serenaria juhlayleisölle.
At the event, the KYL Quartet performed works such as Sua tervehdin (I Salute Thee) by G.A. Härtel. Photo: Aalto University/Roope Kiviranta

Ceremonial Conferment of School of Business

The Ceremonial Conferment of Aalto University School of Business was held at Aalto Töölö, in Runeberginkatu, Helsinki, from May 12 to 14, 2022.

Read more about the 2022 School of Business Ceremonial Conferment
Act of Conferment
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