‘Despite the distance, we are close’

Online graduation, an event around the globe

graduation ghis

Living in Tanzania but still participate in a festive graduation event and receive your certificate on the doorstep? It happened to international Master’s student Elitumaini Rindano. Students of various Bachelor’s and Master’s honours programmes receive their honours certifcates from Honours Dean Michael Burke in four special online festive events. The Dean gives opening speeches in academic gown from his hometown Middelburg. ‘It is absolutely vital for students in these uncertain corona times to celebrate their hard work and to close off the year with a special event. So we do’

54 students of the Master’s honours programme Young Innovators were the first to have a festive event on 22 June. A direct online connection to Germany, Lithuania, Tanzania, Portugal but also Utrecht made it possible for all students to be present on this special occasion. ‘Despite the distance, we are close’.

Livestream for family and friends

online graduation
Honours Dean Michael Burke

In other circumstances the students would have met in the Aula of the Academiegebouw for a ceremony on 16 June, together with family and friends. Michael Burke: ‘It is quite clear that a graduation is a special moment, not only to the students but also to their relatives and friends. We have created a livestream, in order to have parents, grandparents and friends enjoy this moment together with the students’.

Student Alessia Cappelletti graduated online on 23 June in the interdisciplinary honours Master’s programme GHIS: ‘The graduation did feel like a real celebration, especially knowing that my father was watching the livestream from his home in Italy. Of course online you have to work harder, than offline, to turn everything into a festive event. But everything turned out really well’.

First time for everything

graduation online
Rehearsal with the AV Media productions team

The technical support of the events is done by audio-visual technician Martijn Cober and his colleague Arnold Ehlting. The AV Media productions team of FSC has arranged many online doctoral ceremonies already and they are getting used to the online celebrations. However there is a first time for everything. Martijn: Hosting an online graduation is new to us. The UU Honours College was the first to request the events. Of course it comes with new challenges, but we have succeeded to ensure everybody had a good time!

On the doorstep

The students have received their certificates by post prior to the event. In this way they are able to show the certificates on camera. Burke: ‘Of course it was quite a challenge to have all certificates signed and on everybody’s doorstep, but we succeeded!

Alessia: ‘Although I am very happy with the successful graduation, I do hope that the new students can shake hands in the Academiegebouw next year'.


More information
UU Honours College