No student association parade, and a speech by the Minister of Foreign Trade added to the gloom
The official opening of the 407th academic year of the University of Groningen took place yesterday. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was the first ever live-streamed opening event, filmed from the Academy Building and featuring Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag as the keynote speaker, reports the RUG itself.
The theme was ‘Making Connections’ (one assumes from a safe distance), with Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga highlighting the importance of connections within the academic community but also with the world around us.
There was no stately parade of professors, board members and student organisations in the city centre this year, and no large academic ceremony with hundreds of attendees in the Martinikerk.
Instead, we held a public online ceremony filmed from the Aula room, featuring a keynote speech by
Minister Sigrid Kaag and the awarding of the Alumnus of the Year prize to Dr Sander de Hosson. He received the award for the “incisive way in which he calls for attention for the emotional side of palliative care and for making death a topic for discussion amongst medical staff, starting during their training”, says the University. In a series of ‘Corona Talks’, students and researchers took a glance back at the past few months, after which the new UG poet-in-residence was announced.