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Graduation at Jacobs University: Prepared for the Future
June 15, 2021
It was a dignified, emotional and inspiring online ceremony: the graduation gala of the Class of 2021 at Jacobs University. Via livestream, it brought together more than 340 graduates with their families and friends from all over the world. Keynote speaker Professor Antje Boetius, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, focused on climate change in her speech, stating that the young generation that must now shape change.
The speech by the highly awarded marine biologist had been broadcast from the Bellevue Palace in Berlin. There, at the invitation of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Antje Boetius was part of a high-profile panel at the start of the "Week of the Environment”. Its topic: "This is how the future works." Mankind is at a crossroads, having overexploited the earth for decades. And her own generation is responsible for this, Boetius said. "The future relies on you," she addressed the graduates.
Jacobs University, with its interdisciplinary and research-oriented teaching, had equipped the next generation of academics with all the skills that are in demand today. These include, for example, the ability to work in a team and to cooperate. The graduates therefore know how the future works. 20 years ago, Antje Boetius herself taught at the International University Bremen, Jacobs University’s former name, and helped establish it. "Being part of the founding team was a great experience from which I still benefit today," she said in her welcome address.
The Class of 2021 graduated under pandemic conditions. "This is a very special achievement," praised Andrea Herzig-Erler, Managing Director of Jacobs University. She emphasized that the students have learned to deal with challenges, problems and setbacks and have come out stronger. "You have achieved your academic goal – but more than that – you have personally grown and unleashed your potential for your future private and professional way," said Herzig-Erler.
Professor Thomas Auf der Heyde, Provost and Managing Director of Jacobs University, had a similar view. He offered some personal advice to the graduates: "While your personal commitment and success have been and will continue to be strongly determined by yourself, they are at least equally dependent on the opportunities you are given – by the world around, that is, by the people who surround you. Remember this: that you have been enabled to become who you are because of others."
The diversity and colorfulness of Jacobs University was reflected in the hour-and-a-half online graduation gala, which was masterfully hosted by Jacobs University staff member Daisy Juknischke-Heinsen and faculty member Stanislav Chankov. Families posted messages and photos, the J-Cappella Choir sang "When I'm gone," students re-lived stages of their studies in a film, and staff and alumni sent greetings.
Syed Tallina Tallae, year speaker of the Bachelor graduates, emphasized the cohesion among each other, the special ”Jacobs Spirit“, especially under the conditions of the pandemic. "We help each other, no matter where we come from", she said. "We have gained much more than expertise at Jacobs University, we have forged a bond of respect and friendship, despite all our differences", said the Master's graduates Ishansh Gupta and Saikiran Krishnamoorthy on behalf of their cohort.
The day after the Graduation Gala, the Class of 2021 received their diplomas at several outdoor events, in bright sunshine and in compliance with prevailing hygiene regulations. And of course, the traditional hat toss took place – in smaller groups and with 1.50 meter distance.