The hat was a symbol of a free and independent man already in ancient Rome. In universities the doctoral hat is a symbol of freedom of research. The Finnish doctoral hat looks like a top hat. The colour of the hat indicates the field of science; violet: theology, burgundy: law, green: medicine, tricolour blue: arts, and dark blue: physical education. All other fields of science, and all the fields of science at the University of Vaasa, have black hats.
The hats are hand-made according to individual measurements. The golden emblem attached to the velvet band of the hat also indicates the university or the field of science. University of Vaasa has its own emblem for the whole university. The emblem is designed by Juhani Vepsäläinen.
The doctoral sword is a symbolic weapon of the spirit in search for and in defense of truth. The sword used at the ceremonies is Finland's official civilian sword. It comes with a scabbard and a black or golden holder. The university's golden symbol will also be on the sword. The person's name and the date of the Conferment Ceremony are etched on the sword. The sword is traditionally carried on the left side.
Conferments of Doctoral Degrees at the University of Vaasa
The Universtity of Vaasa has so far arranged five Conferment Ceremonies. The first Master's and Doctoral Conferenment Ceremony took place in 1988, when the university celebrated its 20th anniversary. On that occasion 7 honorary doctors 10 doctors and 188 masters's were conferred.
The second Master's and Doctoral Conferment Ceremony took place in 1998, as the university celebrated its 30th anniversary. 8 honorary doctors, 31 doctors and 90 masters were conferred.
The third Conferment Ceremony was part of the City of Vaasas 400th anniversary in the year 2006. 12 honorary doctors and 60 doctors were conferred.
The fourth Conferment Ceremony took place in 2011. 10 honorary doctors and 43 doctors were conferred.
The fifth Conferment Ceremony took place in 2018, as part of the university's 50th anniversary celebrations. 9 honorary doctors and 74 doctors were conferred.
ABC of Conferement Ceremonies
Act of Conferment
The actual conferment of degrees and the granting of Honorary Doctor's titles are parts of a festive act of conferment. Speeches and music play an important role in the festivities.
The conferment book is published before the ceremonies. The book includes short CVs and information of the doctors and honorary doctors.
The Conferment officials are the Conferrers of Degrees, the Master of Ceremonies and the Head Marshal.
Conferment Service OR Secular Event
Takes place after the act of conferment. Participants choose's one of the events.
Conferrer of Degrees
A senior professor of each faculty chosen to act as the Conferrer of Degrees.
Excursion to the seaside
An informal excursion on the day after the conferment.
The symbol of the freedom of research.
The symbol of a weapon of the spirit: to battle for what has been scientifically researched and discovered as true, right and good.
Conducts the ceremonies with the Master of Ceremonies. Trains and supervises the marshals working in the Degree Ceremony.
The University honours distinguished scientists or influential members of society with the award of an Honorary Doctorate.
Students/university employees assisting the Master of Ceremonies and the Head Marshal.
Master of Ceremonies
Professor conducting the ceremonies.
The first young doctor to be conferred in the ceremony. Usually chosen according to his/her excellent merits in the field of research.
The Latin name for the doctors who will be awarded degrees in the ceremony.
Honorary doctors and doctors whet their swords with the assistance of their companion or a marshal. Whetting is performed with a grindstone damped with sparkling wine.
Gala Dinner and Ball
A gala dinner with speeches and music is arranged on the evening after the act of conferment. After the dinner, there is a ball with old academic dances. The ball ends to a speech to the rising sun.