Let's be catalysts for change - Graduation ceremony 2023

2023-11-27 On Saturday, the Leuphana Professional School celebrated the successful graduation of 60 dedicated students from its part-time study programs. Over 200 people came to celebrate the graduates and send them out into their new stage of life.

graduation_professional_school ©Leuphana/Johann Floeter
Graduates and their families at the celebration of the Professional School

For the first time, the ceremony for the english degree programs was held in a hybrid format. Despite the long journey, most graduates decided to take part in the celebrations on site at Leuphana University. Thus, the graduates of the english study programs experienced a combination of present and online elements, which underlined the special character of these programs.

The festivities were opened with a warm welcome speech by Vice President Prof. Dr. Jörg Philipp Terhechte. He recognized the achievements of the students under pressure, especially those graduates who have successfully mastered their studies with children. He also emphasized the academic excellence achieved at the Professional School and underlined that part-time study is by no means an attenuated form of study but rather a unique opportunity to deepen theoretical knowledge with practical experience. From his perspective, part-time study is "the most valuable exchange you can ever have, even with my position as a university lecturer. Why? I meet students who have a professional career and generally want to deepen their theoretical knowledge of what they are doing at university but also put it into practice. And that leads to conversations that would be difficult to imagine otherwise. Another interesting thing about the Professional School is that many of the students start their studies with a very clear goal in mind: 'We want to achieve something very specific'. This is another reason that makes our students so special." Lastly, Prof. Terhechte encouraged the graduates to take action: "You can be proud of yourselves. Stay with us and stay connected."

Absolventenrednerin Vroni Walter ©Leuphana/Johann Floeter
Bestenehrung ©Leuphana/Marvin Sokolis
Leuphana - Professional School - Graduation 23/11 ©Leuphana/Johann Floeter

The highlight of the ceremony were various speeches held by graduates, which offered insights into the diversity of the degree programs and the graduates‘ individual experiences. The speakers‘ emotionality and inspiring words created a festive atmosphere, which emphasized the importance of this milestone for the graduates, their families and the entire Leuphana community.

"It often takes more courage to change your mind than to stay true to it. " Daniela Herweg, who graduated from the program Social Work for Pre-School Teachers, began her speech with this quote from Friedrich Hebbel and recounted a memorable moment from the kick-off event, when she was pigeonholed, based on external characteristics such as red hair, dreadlocks and piercings. "And I also had to realize something during my studies, namely how many such pigeonholes I myself had and still have. And I can assure you of one thing, every single one of these drawers has been opened during my studies. They were rummaged through, they were tidied up, some were redesigned and some even had to be completely abolished. ... If you ask me today what this degree has meant to me, then I can honestly say that it is largely responsible for the fact that my personal pigeonholes have changed completely and, I see society with different eyes." Ms. Herweg finally thanked everyone who had encouraged her to change her mind and emphasized how wonderful it was to leave university with this courage.

In her speech, Dr. Vroni Walter, who graduated from the english degree program Sustainable Chemistry, reflected on the decision to choose a study program and the key desire to make a sustainable impact. She punctuated the reality of the global network and the graduates‘ power to help shape a more sustainable future by translating their acquired knowledge into concrete action: "So let's be catalysts for change, not just in the scientific world but in society. Let's inspire others to see the beauty and sustainability, the elegance and gracious design, and the need for responsible progress. Let's be architects out there for a sustainable future."

Lutz Stratmann, former Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony and now a recent graduate of the LL.M. program for Sustainability Law, addressed the importance of lifelong learning and the need to continuously educate oneself in order to tackle the challenges in Germany, in Europe and worldwide. In order to pass on the expert knowledge required for this, extra-occupational classes at the Professional School are therefore more important today than ever before, but also face the enormous challenge of having to constantly adapt the course content to the pace of change. Stratmann also pointed out that the Professional School has an unbeatable advantage over the College or the Graduate School, because practice and theory, as well as lecturers and students, come together as equals and can thus contribute to the further development of the law. Stratmann spotlighted the topics of climate and technological progress: "Even if the reduction of CO2 emissions in Germany only has a very small global impact, we must help those who cannot help themselves to apply and further develop technologies, which were developed here. " Even though many people are currently justifiably worried about the future, there is still reason for optimism. We have enough intelligence, optimism, creativity and inventiveness to secure a future worth living. In conclusion, Mr. Stratmann pointed out that "our society sometimes seems to me like a frog in a glass of water, that doesn't notice that the water is getting warmer and warmer and misses the moment to jump out of the glass in time." According to Lutz Stratmann, lawyers could help to recognize the pressure and initiate changes more quickly. He recalled the Federal Constitutional Court rulings on climate and the debt brake. Without the Constitutional Court ruling on the Climate Act, many adjustments to the legal framework would not have been made. Mr. Stratmann ended his speech with thanks to his lecturers, the team behind the scenes and good wishes for the Professional School and its graduates.

The program section of the certificate presentation was ceremoniously designed by representatives from the respective degree programs. In personal speeches, they recognized the graduates‘ individual successes and commitment. The presentation of the graduation certificates marked the official completion of the degree program and was appropriately honored and accompanied by applause.

The Leuphana Professional School would like to congratulate all graduates on their outstanding achievements and wishes them every success in their future careers.