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Conferment ceremony 2019: A tribute to the renewal of knowledge

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The year’s foremost academic event, the conferment of doctoral degrees, took place last Friday in the Hall of the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, where 195 new doctors and 12 honorary doctors were honoured. This year’s theme was knowledge and enlightenment.

In her opening address, Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg emphasized the importance of knowledge and enlightenment in relation to Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary, where the city has placed a focus on education and research.

“To understand how history affects the present, to see connections and to follow the trail from the past to the present is essential if we are to understand our society and our surroundings. I am therefore proud to see that several representatives of the University have reacted strongly to the proposal to remove antiquity from the basic school curriculum. Here we were the critical voice standing up for culture, knowledge and enlightenment”, she said with a special word of thanks to all the new doctors for being the University’s foremost innovators, developers and disseminators of knowledge.”

Her message was that one should always stand up for and defend academic freedom and the values on which the activities of academia are based.

“You are extremely important for the daily defence of a continuing vital democracy,” she said.

12 new honorary doctors

Although the ceremony is primarily for those who have recently completed a doctoral education and have been awarded a doctoral degree, honorary doctorates were also conferred upon 12 persons who have contributed to research at the University.

These included last year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Denis Mukwege, the financier Carl Bennet, the minstrel Martin Bagge, the entertainer Claes Eriksson and the UN assistant secretary general Ulrika Modéer.

In addition, the Vice-Chancellor presented the University’s other awards: The Socii et amicii award to Göran Bengtsson, Gunnar Svedberg’s prize to Simon Källman and Pam Fredman’s prize to Annika von Hausswollf, and the Dean of the School of Economics, Per Cramér, presented the Pro studio et scientia award to Thomas Sterner, Professor of environmental economics.

During the ceremony, which lasted almost three hours, magnificent entertainment was provided by students and alumni of the University’s Academy of Music and Drama and by the University’s Academic Choir.

Mingling, banquet and dance

A total of 1 100 guests had gathered in the Congress Hall to celebrate and honour all those on the stage, and after the ceremony they were invited to mingle and to a grand banquet with entertainment, speeches and, last but not least, dancing to the music of the student dance band, Tongångarne.

The 750 guests at the banquet included the County Governor, Anders Danielsson, Poland’s Chargé d’Affaires, Iwona Jabłonowska, Vietnam’s ambassador, Thi Phuong Dung Doan, Norway’s Chargé d’Affaires, Kirsten Hammel, the parliamentary under-secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Eva Svedling, the Mayor of Gothenburg, Anneli Rhedin, The Director General of the Swedish Higher Education Authority, Anders Söderholm, the Director General of the Swedish Council for Higher Education, Karin Röding, the Director General of Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Ethel Forsberg, the vice chancellor of Chalmers Institute of Technology, Stefan Bengtsson, and representatives from Gothenburg’s business sector.