Students, graduates, lecturers, staff, friends and partners,
Thank you for being here on the day we recognise and congratulate our latest graduating class.
This virtual ceremony is a first. It is as extraordinary as the situation in which the world has found itself and the time in which we are now living.
Indeed, ‘extraordinary’ has become the byword for this period in our history, and first-hand experience both engenders and underscores the conviction that the ordinary, safe world we once knew is a thing of the past.
I am convinced that when we look back at this graduation ceremony in the years to come, we will remember 2020 as ushering in great change in most areas of our communal and social lives.
Those changes, which for the time being lie ahead of us, will also have a direct impact on education, including higher education. They will place a greater weight of responsibility on the shoulders of universities and force them to confront the challenges of the era head-on.
I have said before on a number of occasions that universities must keep up with the times while also looking to the future and staying ahead of the curve.
Modern universities are not sanctuaries in which we spend a relatively short amount of time compared to our lives as a whole, but laboratories and accelerators of lifelong learning which must be trustworthy, irreplaceable partners to each and every student.
This year is also an extraordinary one for me personally. This August I will be bequeathing the responsibilities and obligations of rector, which I have been fulfilling now for two terms, or a total of eight-and-a-half years, to Professor Meelis Kitsing, whom the EBS senate have entrusted with the leadership of the school in the years ahead.
I am glad of the senate’s choice, because Meelis is a man of the world who knows EBS like the back of his hand. This will enable him to both bring the rest of the world to the school and take the school out into the world more than ever before.
I am sure that EBS will continue to flourish in the future. Over the last three decades we have built up formidable reserves in the shape of our values, experience, partners, networks and academic capital to carry us onwards, which our forward-looking vision will also do.
Moreover, our results and the success stories of our alumni are irrefutable proof that the education we offer is internationally competitive and valued by our graduates and their employers alike.
With every year that passes we establish an even firmer footing among the premier league of business universities. Our eagerness to learn is matched by our ability to do so. We critically assess our experiences and give them due consideration. We understand that the future arrives in the present much sooner than anyone expects it to.
We trust that the next chapters in the school’s success stories will be written in the near future by alumni who have viewed this crisis as a much-needed lesson and come out of it all the richer for the invaluable experience it has offered. I am sure that among their number will be students graduating here today.
The time has come then to congratulate those graduates, among whom we find 1 recipient of PhD, 110 recipients of Master’s and 182 recipients of Bachelor's degrees.
I would also like to congratulate their parents, friends and colleagues.
I thank the lecturers and indeed all of the staff at the school for making the studies of today’s graduating class possible and for accompanying and guiding them on their academic journeys. Thank you also for being such wonderful, indispensable colleagues to me during my time as rector.
In my position I have wished a great many things for our graduates. Most have varied from one period to the next, but one wish has remained constant and I will repeat it here today.
In a changing world rife with conflict and in which life rolls on at an ever-increasing pace, I implore you to be mindful of one another, to respect one another, to love one another and to take care of one another. Support those who fall behind and find joy in the success of others.
That way, everyone will do well for themselves.
Thank you all!