RWTH Graduation Celebration with 5,000 Guests

18/09/2017
Graduates toss their caps in the air Andreas Schmitter

The graduates experienced a joyous departure from the alma mater at the Aachen Dressage Stadium.

The graduates of the nine faculties entered the full stadium in Aachen Soers to the grandiose sound of the Koninklijke Philharmonie Bocholtz and shining sun. Of the 1,200 men and women, 300, who were being honored for particular achievements, could be clearly recognized by the orange tassels on their caps. The applause of parents, family, friends, and RWTH faculty and staff resonated from the stands.

"A degree at RWTH is difficult and challenging," emphasized Ernst Schmachtenberg, RWTH rector. "Thus, the celebration is not just a 'Day of Liberation' for the graduates but also for parents." This was Schmachtenberg's last Graduation Celebration as Rector of RWTH, as his term in office ends August 2018. The Rector also praised Aachen's lord mayor, Marcel Philipp, for the close collaboration, in paricular the city's efforts to improve the housing situation for the growing number of students.

Photos from the 2017 Graduation Celebration

Philipp expressed his desire for many of the graduates to remain in the region. There are not only large well-known companies, but also a series of "hidden champions," that can motivate the young adults to remain in Aachen. RWTH Chancellor Manred Nettekoven and Vice-Rector Malte Brettel moderated the graduates' procession and also congratulated them. The chair of the RWTH AStA, Justus Schwarzott, also wished graduates all the best.

Engineering Award Recipient Address Young Academic Talents

This year's Engineering Award recipient, Manfred Weck, shared experiences from his long professional career in his keynote speech to the graduates. Due to health reasons, he was unable to give the speech himself. His successor at the RWTH Laboratory for Machine Tools WZL, Christian Brecher, gave the speech in his place. Weck dedicated 36 years to the topic of machine tools in research and teaching, including many years as professor at WZL. He experienced many technical changes over the course of his career, including automatization. However, these were nothing compared to what "you will encounter in your careers. You must be prepared for that early on." It is only a question of time, till we have computers or machines, whose intelligence is almost equal to that of humans. This will turn the professional world around, presenting new jobs requiring the high level of education the graduates possess. Their education at RWTH has kept them up to date in technology and current findings. Weck emplored the graduates to continue learning throughout their lives.

Despite this excellent foundation, the graduates do not possess all the knowledge or skills to take up certain positions. "Remain authentic and don't be afraid to admit your shortcomings but with the intention of closing the gaps," said Weck to the graduates. Those, who will eventually assume management positions, need knowledge in management, planning, and business administration. Employee management and staff leadership are particularly important. "One basic rule always applies: treat your employees as you would like to be treated."

Light-Hearted Framework Program

The framework program included a performance by RWTH students Florian Schreiber and Eris Jansen, whose poetry slam performance cleverly and colorfully illustrated student life at the individual faculties and in Aachen. The secretive lion dance accompanied by drums and performed by the Vietnamese assocation Viet Vo Dao represented RWTH's international orientation. The rock'n'roll dance troupe Rock-la-Chapelle brimmed with life during its tribute to the alma mater and the diverse environment. The end of the farewell event was marked with the spectacular visual of 1,200 caps being tossed in the air against the backdrop of the perfect late-summer weather.