Graduates Fling Their Caps in the Air to Celebrate Their Achievement

graduates throwing their caps in the air Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

A total of 1,300 RWTH students celebrated on Saturday at the University’s annual Graduation Celebration. Hans Peter Stihl, winner of the Aachen Engineering Award 2019, gave them reassurance and encouragement for their future careers.


Photos from the 2019 Graduation Celebration


Even though the ceremony started to the music of the Pirates of the Caribbean, it was not pirates who entered the dressage stadium of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein in the Soers district of Aachen. Instead, around 1,300 graduates came to the arena for the interfaculty RWTH Graduation Celebration for the sixth time. It was another resounding celebration for all, especially for the stars of the afternoon: everyone who finished their degree in summer semester 2018 or winter semester 2018/2019 or received their doctorate. Around 300 of the guests were sporting the Borchers plaque, distinguishable by the orange tassels hanging from their caps in contrast to the predominant RWTH blue. They also received the RWTH Springorum commemorative coin. They were already honored in the morning together with the doctoral jubilarians who had received their doctorate 25 or 50 years before at RWTH. These guests were adorned with silver and gold caps and sashes.

It has become a tradition for all the graduates to enter the inner area of the arena according to their faculty and cheered on by their relatives. They were each accompanied by a suitable melody, intoned by the RWTH Collegium Musicum University Orchestra, under the direction of Tobias, and moderated by RWTH Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven. Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Minister of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia was the first to congratulate the graduates. Lord Mayor of Aachen Marcel Philipp and AStA – University Students’ Committee Chair Marc Gschlössl also followed. RWTH Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger and Professor Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations, who both led the program, were pleased to celebrate the graduates’ success: "You can be proud of this achievement, just as we are.”


Keynote Speech by Hans Peter Stihl, Winner of the Aachen Engineering Award 2019

During his speech, entrepreneur Hans Peter Stihl said: “Never stop applying and implementing what you have been given at RWTH: curiosity and open-mindedness towards new developments and ideas, independent and critical thinking, daring to change conditions that seem set in stone and adapting them to fit new conditions and possibilities, elaborating solutions in a team, preferably across borders and continents... in order to mediate as a responsible person between people, nature, and technology."

Stihl continued: “All you have to do along your path is to keep these skills in mind and consider what you want to best use them for. That is what is so difficult – not to sink into a routine, but to stay awake and open-minded." And: "There is so much to do - use your creative drive, your energy, and your open-minded enthusiasm. And go all in.”

Approximately 5,000 guests enjoyed a variety of creative displays during the two-hour event. This included a performance by the cheerleaders of the RWTH Rockets, stand-up comedy by student Maksim Timofeev, and an excellent mambo number by University Sports Center’s dancers under the direction of Ken Bridgen.

To finish off the event, the graduates and jubilarians, including Rector Ulrich Rüdiger, threw their caps into the air and rejoiced to the hit German celebratory song "Auf Uns".

Source: Press and Communications