Academic ceremony 2021 – ”Science is humanity’s greatest common endeavor of all time”

Last Friday, on November 12, Halmstad University celebrated an academic ceremony. This year the event was stretched out to cover an entire festive week that included both the new professors’ inaugural lectures and not just one, but two grand ceremonies. The atmosphere was very good when the professors received their capes and diplomas and when the new doctors passed over the parnass to enter the research community.

”In today's social climate, it is important to promote freedom of thought, critical thinking, and the free exchange of knowledge. Halmstad University plays an important role in that, which I highly appreciate.”

Monica Karlsson, Vice President of the University Board

At this year’s ceremony, which was the first since 2019, a total of 13 new professors were inaugurated and 12 doctors were conferred. In addition, a new Honorary Doctor – Bertil Allard – was conferred, and associate professors, excellent teachers and colleagues who had completed doctorates at other universities were honoured. In addition, the University’s Prize for Collaboration and Innovation and the Teaching and Learning Prize were awarded. Since the Academic Ceremony was cancelled last year, both the 2020 and 2021 prize winners received their prize at this year’s ceremony.

“It feels fantastic to welcome you today and that we can be here together. We have not been able to escape the fact that we have lived a year and a half in the shadow of a pandemic. I think it is fantastic that Halmstad University has been able to continue with our education and research in a successful way during this time. It has taken a significant and great effort from all our staff. Despite the changed conditions – to study from home for the most part – our students have achieved results that measure up to about the same levels as usual, which is fantastic”, said Vice Chancellor Stephen Hwang in his introductory speech during Friday’s ceremonies.

A person wearing a long dress with a reef on her head being led across a white, circular rug by another person in the same kind of outfit.

Sofie Lundström, PhD in Health and Lifestyle, crosses the parnass, escorted by promotor Thorsteinn Rögnvaldsson, Professor in Computer Science.

Inaugural lectures that planted seeds of knowledge

The professors at a university form its academic backbone. They are the foremost in their field and are therefore expected to take on a great deal of responsibility. The professors will inspire and lead their colleagues and students. In this way, the seeds of knowledge that were planted at the festive week’s inaugural lectures may be harvested in the form of future wisdom.

This year’s inaugural lectures filled two full days and covered everything from biogas to digital learning. Kristina Ziegert, Professor and Vice Chair of the Recruitment Committee, led the participants through the programme:

“The professor’s role is important both in research and education, and not least for the postgraduate education. It opens the possibility for the University's students to become doctors. Through postgraduate education, the next generation of teachers and researchers is created.”

”Today I feel humbled that I, together with my colleagues, have a role to play in humanity's greatest common endeavor – science.”

Måns Svensson, Professor of Sociology of Law

Science is humanity’s greatest common endeavor

Two ceremonies were held on Friday, November 12. In the morning, the professor inauguration took place and new guest professors and adjunct professors as well as new associate professors were celebrated.

The professors’ speech was given by Måns Svensson, Professor of Sociology of Law, who emphasised how the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has pointed out that science is humanity’s greatest collective effort of all time:

“It is a quest to better understand the world we live in. Today I feel humbled that I, together with my colleagues, have a role to play in humanity's greatest common endeavor – science.”

A man wearing a blue cape.

The professors' speech was given by Måns Svensson, Professor of Sociology of Law.

In the afternoon, the conferment of doctoral degrees was held. In addition, attention was drawn to doctors who are employed at Halmstad University but who have defended their dissertations at another university, as well as to excellent teachers. Two prizes were also awarded:

The University’s Prize for Collaboration and Innovation in 2021 was awarded to Olga Torstensson, Malin Bornhager and Muhammad Ahsan Rasool for their work with digital security. They are lecturers at the School of Information Technology at Halmstad University. They are responsible for the University’s Bachelor’s programme in IT Forensics and Information Security, as well as the Master’s Programme in Network Forensics. They also manage the University’s Cisco Academy and provide commissioned education in cyber security and network technology for various authorities, both Swedish and European.

This year’s Teaching and Learning Prize was awarded to Hans Löfgren, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the School of Business, Innovation and Sustainability. Hans Löfgren is a very popular teacher who is passionate about his subject and who always makes sure that the students understand the content of the teaching. He encourages curiosity and asking questions.

A person wearing a shirt, holding up an arm in a celebratory gesture.

This year's Teaching and Learning Prize was awarded to Hans Löfgren, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the School of Business, Innovation and Sustainability.

”Who does not want to say that they have changed the world?”

The University Board, which on Friday was represented by Vice President Monica Karlsson, also wanted to congratulate both the University and those who were celebrated during the ceremonies and others who contribute to the University's success.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate knowledge, education, innovation and societal development. We see a stream of misinformation spreading in society today, and considering that, I think it is very important to work on a scientific basis. In today's social climate, it is important to promote freedom of thought, critical thinking, and the free exchange of knowledge. Halmstad University plays an important role in that, which I highly appreciate”, said Monica Karlsson in the University Board's speech.

A woman on a podium surrounded by flowers, several other people sitting behind her.

The students’ speech was held by the Student Union’s Chair Johanna Sjögren Eliasson.

Research as a driving force for positive societal development was in focus also in the students' speech, which was held by the Student Union's Chair Johanna Sjögren Eliasson:

“Researchers are superheroes who save the world and lead the next generation to a secure future. Today you take the next step in your journey towards making an impression on the world and the reality we live in. Today, you gain a greater impact and can contribute to a changed world and to creating conditions for the next generation and many generations to come. Today, you become someone's role model, someone's hero. Today, you lead the next generation into the world of knowledge. But you also have a responsibility to share the knowledge you create, so that our world can develop, change, and stand strong against the challenges we face. For whom does not want to say that they have changed the world?” she asked the new professors, doctors and associate professors.

Text: Christa Amnell
Photo: Dan Bergmark and Ida Fridvall

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