Finland 100 Elevated Ceremonial Conferment of Doctoral Degrees
​Vice Rector Kalle-Antti Suominen led the doctors of philosophy and technology of the Faculties of Humanities and Mathematics and Natural Sciences in academic procession from the Concert Hall to the Cathedral.

​In his Conferment Ceremony speech, Rector Kalervo Väänänen reminded the audience that the history of the University of Turku is tightly connected with Finland which is now celebrating its 100 years of independence.

– On 3 November 1917, only a month before Finland's declaration of independence, Turku Finnish University Society was established. Less than three years later, the Society founded the University of Turku.

He also pointed out that the University's fundamental task is to produce new knowledge and transfer it in different ways to the needs of society.  The most important and by far the greatest way to transfer new knowledge to society are the newly graduated Bachelors, Masters and doctors who enter working life.


This year, 136 doctors were conferred in the celebration. In addition, the faculties and Turku School of Economics appointed altogether 12 persons as their honorary doctors who have made significant contributions to science and society. In his speech, Rector Väänän said that he believes that honorary doctors' life's work and achievements in different areas of life provide an encouraging example and inspiration to all the new doctors.

Honorary Doctor of the Faculty of Medicine Makoto Nakao (in the middle in photo) is the CEO of GC Corporation which is one of the largest companies in the world manufacturing biomaterials for oral healthcare.


– For me, this is the most significant personal recognition that I have received, said Mr. Nakao, who has received several international honours and awards from business sector, science communities and governments.

He reminisced that he started collaborating with the University of Turku in 1999, and the co-operation has grown even more close after the founding of the Stick Tech company. One of Mr. Nakao's closest partners in co-operation is Professor Pekka Vallittu, Director of Turku Clinical Biomaterials Centre, who pointed out that the company lead by Mr. Nakao controls a large part of the global processing, manufacture and marketing of oral biomaterials. Vallittu hopes that the close co-operation will give the University's researchers information of the needs of the industry early on and even indirectly.


The Ceremonial Conferment of Doctoral Degrees has long traditions. The celebrations were organised already during the Royal Academy of Turku, which was founded in 1640, and the first ceremonial conferment of the University of Turku was organised in 1927. At the time, the University had only two faculties, the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, whereas now there are six faculties and Turku School of Economics. Vice Rector Kalle-Antti Suominen said in his Conferment Ceremony speech that, for years, multidisciplinarity has been the common thread in the Strategy of the University of Turku.

– Combined with internationality and openness, multidisciplinarity gives the University the best possible base from which to advance education and free science and to provide higher education based on research, said Suominen.

He also encouraged the new doctors to challenge the current truths.

– Economy controls our thinking for a great extent – but does it have to be the guiding principle for our actions? Securing the survival of human race is facing global challenges – but, in addition to problem solving, is there also room for pure thirst for knowledge? Researchers have come down from their ivory towers in order to interact more and more with the rest of society, which is a good thing for both the researchers and society. However, at the same time, we have to take care that we do not lose our ability to look further and see more widely, said Suominen.


A large crowd gathered to watch the academic procession from the Concert Hall to the Cathedral. Newly conferred Doctor Jussi Lehtonen said that the procession was a great part of the Ceremonial Conferment that was also visible to the public. For the doctors, the procession is a unique occasion as people line the streets and children are waving to them.

After the service at the Cathedral, Jussi Lehtonen and Doctor of Philosophy Tuija Lehtikunnas laid wreaths of conifer sprigs on behalf of the conferred doctors on the grave of Henrik Gabriel Porthan and on the monument of the fallen soldiers.


The Ceremonial Conferment of Doctoral Degrees continued in the evening with a banquet in Turku Castle.

>> University of Turku Confers 12 Honorary Doctors

Text: Erja Hyytiäinen
Photos: Hanna Oksanen, Erja Hyytiäinen
Translation: Mari Ratia

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Published date 5/30/2017 10:30 AM ,  Modified date 5/30/2017 10:40 AM