PhD candidates Katerina Shaton (from left), Yury Redutskiy and Eivind Tveter, and professor Harald Martin Hjelle and rector Steinar Kristoffersen during today's garduation ceremony on Molde campus. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Rector’s speech from today’s graduation ceremony

Molde University College’s PhD and master’s candidates were celebrated on campus today. Here is rector Steinar Kristoffersen’s speech from the event:

«Dear graduates of Molde University College

Today, you have earned the right to be proud. But so have we. It is the primary purpose of Molde University College to teach a dynamic and relevant curriculum, which prepares you for the next phase of your careers, whether or not this is your first, most recent or simply for now the last in a series of steps that you take to complete your formal education. This is not a small feat, albeit easily described it is rather hard to actually do.

Steinar Kristoffersen speaking at the ceremony. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

Molde University College have provided an ambience of learning, an environment in which you have had the opportunity to make friends and exchange ideas. You have had the opportunity to meet more than four thousand unique people during your time here, who have come to Molde with the same curiosity, ambition and needs that you did.

If you tell me afterwards that you took advantage of this opportunity for make friends, it will make me even more proud because together we have succeeded twice.

See all the photos from the ceremony and after on Panorama’s Facebook-page.

If you did not, do not despair, they will also remember their time here in Molde and the shared memories that you have of your time as a student here gives you an unbreakable bond of being alumni at the same university.

There have been many metaphors about education used by speakers far more eloquent than me. One says that the diploma that you have received is just the drivers learning license. Not the real drivers licence, but you know, just the ugly red letter L that is stuck to the back of the car when you practice driving in traffic. Maybe. But I urge you to not let anybody tell you that you still have to learn more to drive like they do, in order to get the real drivers licence. From behind the steering wheel of a car, most peoples self confidence only weakly correlates with their actual, practical driving skills. I guess that goes for university professors too,…

«I am very happy to announce that this year best student award goes to Tatsiana Pekarskaya from Minsk, Belarus. Many congratulations!» professor Svein Bråthen (right) said, when honouring Tatsiana Pekarskaya (left) with the NIMA award. Pekarskaya got the best grades of all the master’s students in logistics. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

There is no doubt that you have reached a milestone. Of course, it will not be the last, and a grain of truth in this story about education and life after university is that it is all quite a bit more inextricably linked after all, than “first study-then have a life” even if this day right now makes a big difference. You will continue to learn throughout life’s different stages, in variable degrees of practical immersion as opposed to theoretical detachment, as well as through feelings, intuition and social skills. And this is my most important point today:

You have probably already seen the fingers pointing at you from politicians, directors and lobbyists, that try make you aware of the needs of continuous re-education in the presence of increasingly rapid changes to technology, society and values. It is frequently stated that machine learning will make half of the employment that we know today redundant. People frequently say that nothing has ever changed more rapidly than today, and then they show you their iPhone.

However, some of you were not even born when Apple launched their first tablet commercially in 1993, which again was less than the time between the first and second world war. The world was continuously changing before the Apple released the iPhone X as well, believe it or not.

Associate professor Dag Magne Berge (left) houred Ida Smenes (right) with this year’s Sølvi Dahls memoria prize for her excellent master’s thesis in social change, organization and management. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

I think that this perspective of change and adaptation is useful, and I hope that the most important lesson that we have taught you here at Molde University College is that education newer goes out of fashion! The fundamental aspect of academic training is that you learn how to reflect abstractly and turn theories into practice and when the theories no longer fit with the realities that you experience, you can go back and improve the theories.

Certain jobs will disappear, and sometimes rapidly, but there is no evidence that new ones do not emerge even faster. As learning humans, you have learnt how to develop new skills, teach adaptations and demonstrate the difference between the obsolete and innovative way of doing things, to others.

Human learning beats machine learning any day.

You have nothing to fear from change as long as your own desire to learn, think and teach is burning inside. And that is only up to you.

Therefore, this is not an ordinary day in June. Your achievements matter a lot to us, even more to you, and please keep the academic candle burning, so that what both have to offer can more easily be make a matter for others as well.

Thank you very much for your attention, not only today but ever since you were matriculated at our Molde University College, and congratulations!»

Graduates and university staff after the ceremony. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø