AUC's Class of 2019 graduates in Koninklijk Theater Carré

2 July 2019

The Graduation Ceremony for the Amsterdam University College Class of 2019 took place on Monday, 1 July at Koninklijk Theater Carré in the heart of Amsterdam. With more than 265 graduates attending, the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2019 was the largest in AUC’s history. Their accomplishments were celebrated with motivating speeches, personal performances by AUC students and the ceremonial conferring of degrees.

AUC Graduation 2019 - Carre Theater

Photo by Maarten van Haaff

Strength in diversity and authenticity as themes  

The Class of 2019’s ceremony was the fourth time that the event took place in Koninklijk Theater Carré. Hosted by graduating students Sarah Salaymah (AUC Student Council)  and Siem Teusink (AUC Student Association), the ceremony was opened by the entrance of students and the AUC Procession, including academics and invited guests of the AUC community. Once students and guests were seated, Prof. Dr. Murray Pratt, Dean of AUC, took the stage to kick-off the ceremony’s series of speeches, conferring of degrees and various musical performances.

This year AUC was honoured to welcome  Ms. Clarice Gargard, journalist, columnist, UN Women’s Representative & co-founder of Lilith Magazine, to deliver the Commencement Address to graduating students and their guests. In her speech, Ms. Gargard emphasised the need for graduates to recognise their potential and the opportunity that they have in their lives to spark effective change, not only for themselves but also as allies to those around them. Mixing the personal with the political, Ms. Gargard continued her address by discussing the importance of being oneself and remaining authentic even in the face of adversity. She reminded graduates that, even with institutions increasingly embracing ideas such as diversity, there remain many spaces (both social and physical) where much work needs to be done toward having those values become reality, especially when one’s opinion,  viewpoint or even physical presence is seen as dissidence.

AUC Graduation 2019 Hosts on Stage

Photo by Maarten van Haaff

Musical interludes for a personal touch

Following Ms. Gargard’s powerful message, the first of four interludes provided a segue into the ceremonial conferring of degrees. Putting a spotlight on the talent of the AUC student body, four musical performances throughout the evening allowed for graduates to give the event a festive flare. The first interlude featured the 19-person student choir performing an original medley of Roll up your sleeves by Meg Mac, Skin by Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and These days by Rudimental.

Providing a more classical touch, the second interlude saw a piano quintet formed by AUC students Maria Loos, Augustine Schulte-Frohlinde , Nick van der Woude, Joosje Holstein and Tiem van der Deure play a rendition of “Piano Quintet No. 2 Op. 81” by Antonín Dvořák. Saskia Hirsch, a third-year graduating student, also contributed to the ceremony with a beautiful solo performance of Syrinx by Claude Debussy on the flute. A full band consisting of AUC students Marron Loods, Simon de Jong, Jesse Hoogland, Nick van der Woude, Siem Teusink, Steijn Muller and Hannah van Weers rounded out the musical performances with an upbeat cover of “Soul Man” by The Blues Brothers.

AUC Graduation 2019 - Lining Up

Photo by Maarten van Haaff

Graduates walk the stage

The focus of the day remained on the four rounds of the ceremonial conferring of degrees where each of the graduating students had their name read aloud and walked the stage to receive their certificate. Each round began with a brief speech by one of AUC's tutors: Dr. Melvin Schut, Dr. Emma Cohen de Lara, Dr. Michael McAssey and Dr. Ydwine Zanstra. A mixture of three speeches and an original rap, the four lecturers recounted humorous anecdotes, stories from their tutees and how the AUC experience was truly an exchange resulting in mutual personal growth.

AUC Graduation 2019 AUC Procession

Photo by Maarten van Haaff

Encouraging words and concluding speeches

After the final conferring of degrees, retiring lecturer, tutor and former AUC Senior Tutor and Senior Welfare Advisor Dr. Diederik van Werven took the stage to reflect on his years and experiences at AUC while offering graduates some advice in remembering the past fondly while still looking toward the future.   

AUC’s recently appointed Alumni and External Relations Coordinator, Ms. Gerylaine Campos, then delivered a speech to welcome the Class of 2019 to the alumni community, and explained how this community will be active and beneficial in continuing to help graduates by offering them opportunities to stay in touch and guidance for their future careers or studies.   

The ceremony concluded with a speech by the 2019 AUC Valedictorian, Floris Tijhuis. Tijhuis reflected on his individual change during his time at AUC and offered insight into how the diversity found within the AUC community in terms of subjects studied, backgrounds, nationalities, viewpoints and opinions made it such a special community to be a part of. He finished his speech by emphasising how this community helped each other in discovering who they truly are.

The ceremony officially came to a close with the traditional throwing of hats and the ordered exit of the AUC procession, new alumni and their guests. AUC would once again like to congratulate all the graduates on their accomplishments and thank all those who attended, gave speeches and made the graduation ceremony possible.

Published by  Amsterdam University College