Better late than never – 2020 and 2021 doctors finally get a ceremony

- in Aktuell, In English, News

On Friday the 6th of May, a doctoral degree conferment ceremony was held for all the PhD:s who got their degree during the pandemic. Lundagård reported from the event.

The doctoral degree conferment ceremony, also known as ‘doktorspromotion’ in Swedish, is an annual ceremony to celebrate the new doctoral graduates from nine different faculties of Lund University. The new doctoral graduates receive their insignia which are the hat or laurel wreath, the ring and the diploma. “The insignia are important academic symbols – for deep knowledge, knowledge that is felt and changes our world.” says the vice-chancellor Erik Renström in his ceremonial speech.

The ceremony is considered to be the faculties’ most important academic celebration. This year, however, Lund University hosts two separate ceremonies. The one on the 6th of May was for doctors who were not able to participate in the 2020 physical ceremony and chose not to participate in the 2021 digital ceremony. And the ceremony on the 3rd of June will be for the 2022 jubilee and honorary doctors, as well as doctors who publicly defended their doctoral thesis from 26 May 2021.

Lars Trägen together with his husband
Martin from the Wende artillery regiment.
Photo: Azin Khosravi.

A cannon salute for the new doctors is a part of the ceremony and the day starts with the test shooting of the cannon in the Lundagård park around ten o’clock. The shots are carried out by the Wende artillery regiment which does not have any active military duties anymore. “The regiment exists no more, this is an association in the remembrance of the regiment.” says Lars Trägen who is a member of the regiment. He then proceeds, “The year 1820 was the first year we had cannons at the ceremony.” The regiment prepares to carry out two shots for presenters and jubilee doctors, one-shot for the honorary doctors and three shots for all the new doctors within a faculty. During the test shootings, special to this year, the regiment fires an additional cannon salute in honour of the upcoming Lundakarnevalen.

At precisely 12:00, the doors of the main university open and the new doctoral graduates, who are dressed in all black, make their way to the Cathedral where their families and other members of the ceremony are waiting for them. The doctoral graduates are seated in front of the podium which symbolizes the seat of the ancient Greek gods. The ceremony begins with the vice-chancellor Erik Renström addressing the new doctors who form a very international audience, “Where you come from does not matter, as long as you strive for free academia and a free society and are ready for the rigours required to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.” 

Most of the ceremony is conducted in Latin other than the vice-chancellor’s speech and an oration delivered by one of the new doctors. Cajsa Sjöberg who is a herald and associate professor of Latin writes “…when the activities at our university began just over 350 years ago…Latin was the English of the time…” in the information booklet given to the audience during the ceremony. The new doctors are invited to the podium one by one and given their insignia by the presenters with the following Latin words:

Salve! (Greetings!)

Accipe pileum, insigne libertatis! (Receive this hat, symbol of freedom!)

Ecce anulus, sincerae fidei pignus! (See this ring, pledge of true faith!)

Ecce diploma, doctrinae virtutisque testimonium! (See this diploma, testimony to learning and merit!)

Vale! Praeclarissime Doctor! (Fare well, most brilliant doctor!)

A new doctor at Lund University
receives the doctoral hat.
Photo: Azin Khosravi.

The second line is read as Accipe lauream! for the doctors from the Faculty of Philosophy because they receive a laurel wreath instead of a hat. The Faculty of Philosophy is today divided into the faculties of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and the School of Economics and Management. These wreaths are brought in by the wreath-bearers who are little girls dressed in all white. 

After the ceremony, Lundagård got the chance to meet up with some of the new doctors. Hui Zaho, who got her doctoral degree in media and communication back in 2020, says “We have a different tradition of celebration in China, it is really good for us to experience this in the Swedish way. For me it is a very special experience”.