"You All Have a Great Future Ahead of You."

Graduates toss their caps Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

In the same arena where the amazing horse Totilas gave his farewell performance for the FEI European Championships, around 1,300 graduates from the Aachen university had their grand appearance on September 12, 2015.


Photos from the 2015 Graduation Celebration

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Graduiertenfest 2015

"We anxiously anticipated this day and look forward to a wonderful celebration for all those who worked hard for their degree at RWTH." Student representative Thorben Lorzen, opened the inter-faculty Graduation Celebration with these words. The event took place for the second time at the Aachen dressage stadium. Parents, relatives, friends, and guests from politics and industry applauded from the occupied stands as the students processed by faculty into the stadium. They were accompanied by music from well known classic films such as Star Trek and Mission Impossible, highlighted by the Koninklijke Philharmonie Bocholtz.

RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg congratulated the graduates on their Bachelor, Master, and doctoral degrees. A few of the graduates were honored in the morning for their outstanding achievements. They could be recognized by the orange tassels on their caps among the mass of graduates in the stadium. Some jubilarians, who acquired their doctorate either 25 or 50 years ago, wore silver and gold caps, respectively.

"Society expects you to perform. You are capable of achieving this," said Schmachtenberg. The future holds great tasks that need to be mastered, for example increasing digitalization, which will permeate society entirely. "Capable people will be needed. Remain open, life remains exciting, and you all have a great future ahead of you." Addressing the parents, the rector stated that he as a father knows how they are shaking along with their children and how much support is necessary. "All doors open to those, who successfully studied in Aachen," said Aachen's lord mayor, Marcel Philipp. "I hope that those who leave Aachen, have good memories of the city and RWTH, and maybe even return some time." Svenja Schulze's remarks made the audience erupt with applause: "RWTH Aachen is a pearl in higher education." According to her, graduates acquired valuable knowledge and fantastic skills. "Make something of it. We need good scientists and we need a strong economy." AStA chair Fabian Kommer congratulated the graduates on behalf of all the students and asked the graduates to share the experiences they gathered over their time at RWTH with new students.

Keynote by Aachen Engineering Award Recipient: Professor Franz Pischinger

Professor Franz Pischinger, who received the Aachen Engineering Award for his life's work and contributions to the development of the modern combustion engine the day before the celebration, spoke about his experiences over the course of his work and long professional career. His career began 63 years ago, "the year Queen Elizabeth II rose to the throne in England." At that time, Pischinger received his engineering diploma at TU Graz and had the luck of completing his doctoral studies at his alma mater. Afterwards he worked at various companies and as the director of the institute and professor of applied thermodynamics at RWTH Aachen, before founding the Aachen company FEV, an engineering service provider in the field of drivetrain and automotive engineering. The 85-year-old encouraged the graduates to continue learning the rest of their lifes and not to be timid when it comes to founding their own companies. They don't need to be afraid of the future. There will certainly be changes in the work world due to digitalization and other changes, but "with the skills they acquired in Aachen and a critical understanding, they will help to positively shape the future." Many RWTH graduates have made their way to the top of German companies, recalled Pischinger.

Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven, who moderated the event together with Rector Schmachtenberg, valued the Graduation Celebration as "an emotional moment, an exclamation point at the end of one's studies," that showed that RWTH isn't just a cadre factory. The colorful framework program included the musical tones of the Koninklijken Philharmonie Bocholtz, performances by the Slaker cheerleading group, and the Campus Dance Crew. Emotions were clearly visible as the approximately 1,300 caps were tossed, the highlight of the event, which is unique in its size in NRW. Many thanks go to the sponsors' support, above all Sparkasse Aachen. They and all those involved contributed to a colorful and happy celebration, which will certainly remain in the graduates' memories for a lifetime.

Source: Press and Communications