A ceremonial conferment is the most distinguished celebration of a university. The idea behind the ceremonial conferment is that new graduates and doctors are accepted as full members of their scientific community and introduced to that community. Although universities are builders of the future, conferment ceremonies respect the history and traditions of universities.
Next year’s Ceremonial Conferment of Degrees at the School of Business will be held from 20 to 22 May 2021. During the conferment ceremony, the Conferrer of Degrees confers masters and doctors who have graduated since the 2016 conferment ceremony as well as honorary doctors, jubilee masters and jubilee doctors. A Jubilee Master and a Jubilee Doctor are masters and doctors who were conferred exactly 50 years ago. Hence, the masters and doctors conferred at the Ceremonial Conferment in 1971 are invited to the Ceremonial Conferment in 2021.
The Ceremonial Conferment of Degrees is a long-standing tradition at the School of Business. The year 2021 will mark the 75th anniversary of the first conferment ceremony in the field of business, which was held in 1946.
Three days of celebration
The three-day Conferment of Degrees at the School of Business begins with a garland weaving event hosted by the parents of the young woman selected as the Maid of Mercury. The Act of Conferment takes place on the following day. The Kultasauvallinen (Bearer of the Golden Staff) conferment cantata composed by Uuno Klami to the words of P. Mustapää is played during the Act of Conferment. The Conferrer of Degrees makes a speech to the guests and promovendi. The promovendi then receive a green garland from the Maid of Mercury, representing the laurel wreath placed on the head as a symbol of dedication to science and victory.
‘The Act of Conferment ends with the Finnish national anthem, after which the participants have previously been able to take part in a conferment church service or a secular event. The programme for next spring’s conferment has not been published yet, so there may be some changes to this tradition,’ Coordinator of conferment ceremony Milja Koski tells.
The evening programme consists of a conferment banquet. The banquet includes speeches to the School of Business, the Conferrer of Degrees and honorary doctors, with the honorary doctors and invited guests responding to the speeches. The banquet is followed by a ball. The third and last day of the celebrations is reserved for a herring breakfast or lunch, where the participants can discuss the previous day’s celebrations in a relaxed environment.
The officiants for the next conferment were appointed from the community of professors. They are the Conferrer of Degrees Matti Keloharju, Master of Ceremonies Nina Granqvist and Head Usher Matti Sarvimäki. Rosa Nylén, Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration, accepted the invitation to act as Gratista of the Conferment.
Recollections from Pekka Ilmakunnas, Conferrer of Degrees at our last conferment ceremony
Professor Pekka Ilmakunnas, who served as Conferrer of Degrees at the 2016 event, is also part of next year’s Conferment Committee, which brings continuity to the ceremony arrangements. He recalls that something surprising or an unintentional deviation from the protocol always occurs in the conferment ceremony.
‘For example, there is a certain order in the academic procession, but people may take the wrong position. Fortunately the audience doesn't know how things should go, so generally no one notices the mix-ups. There is also a certain element of anxiety concerning the weather. When the participants are dressed in their best, heavy rain during the procession in particular would have a negative impact on the atmosphere. We have umbrellas ready for the procession, but whenever I’ve been involved in different roles (as Conferrer of Degrees, Master of Ceremonies or father of the Maid of Mercury), the weather has been dry although not always sunny.’
‘At the 2016 conferment ceremony, President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö was one of the honorary doctors. The conferment delegation visited the Presidential Palace well in advance to request his consent to be awarded an honorary doctorate. Prior to the conferment ceremony, we checked the facilities and arrangements at the School of Business and Temppeliaukio Church with the president’s aide-de-camp. The president’s participation in the Act of Conferment and banquet also required some special arrangements. However, everything went well.’
Coordinator of the conferment ceremony, Event producer Milja Koski
Text: Terhi Ollikainen and Pekka Ilmakunnas