Successful first joint graduation ceremony at Halmstad University

Last Friday, the first joint graduation ceremony in Halmstad University’s history took place at Halmstad Arena. Nearly 3,000 students and relatives filled the arena during the afternoon. After some drinks in the entrance hall, the students made a grand entrance to the tunes of Halmstad singer Linnea Henriksson’s very fitting hit song ”Halmstad”. The audience cheered wildly as the curtain went up and all graduating students spread out on stage.

The joint graduation ceremony is a new tradition where Halmstad University gets the opportunity to show the students appreciation and for the students to feel proud of their achievements during their studies. Halmstad University’s Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Hwang, paid a tribute to the students in his welcome speech.

”What an achievement you have accomplished”, he said. ”You should all stand tall and feel proud of your success. You have invested in something no one can ever take away from you, a good education.”

The Vice-Chancellor also highlighted the courage of the international students:

”You have travelled to another country to chase your dream – to get an education which will lead to the career choices you have made. This takes a lot of courage and determination. Not only have you succeeded in your studies in a new academic environment, you have also overcome the cultural challenges which come with living in another country.”

Snow, friendships and fika

Anagha Anand and Dheeran Senthilvel, two international students from India, were invited on stage to talk about their experiences in Halmstad and Sweden. They shared their thoughts on the snowy winters, beautiful beaches, new friendships and Swedish fika.

”A day in Sweden is never complete if you don't have a ’fika’ ”, Anagha Anand explained and the audience laughed in recognition.

In addition to several speakers, the barbershop quartet Charad entertained and a few students were given awards. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Pernilla Nilsson presented the award for Student of the Year, were one student per School was honoured for their achievements.

The students awarded for extraordinary engagement during their studies were:

  • Johan Elwing Malmfelt, Biomechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Programme
  • Amanda Stenholm, Psychology – Sport and Exercise Programme
  • Kajsa Carlsson, Subject Teacher Education Programme
  • Anna Lidén, Enterprise Systems Programme

New award: Alumnus of the Year

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anders Nelson presented the newly established award ’Alumnus of the Year’. Christoffer Lindhe, former Innovation Engineering student, who was the first person to receive this honourable award, received a standing ovation from the audience. When Christoffer was 17 years old, he lost both his legs and one arm in a train accident. Today he runs a successful company which specialises in developing foot prostheses.

The Chair of the Halmstad Municipal Executive Committee, Jonas Bergman, took the opportunity to talk about the collaboration project ’Halmstad hjärta student’ (Halmstad heart student) where the municipality, the Student Union and Halmstad University work together to develop Halmstad as a student city. He also pointed out the importance of the students when it comes to the development of Halmstad as a city.

The closing speech by Hanne Göransson, President of the Student Union, ended the ceremony before the students made a collective exit and received a rose each from University staff.

”Studying at the University is a journey. A journey including blood, sweat and tears”, Hanne Göransson said. ”Frustration, disappointment and perhaps even a broken relationship. But it is also a journey filled with laughter and new relationships – friends, colleagues and perhaps even a partner.”

Text: Rebecca Staver
Photo: Anders Andersson