Spot a conferment procession!
In May and June, there is a unique opportunity in Helsinki to observe the conferment processions of no fewer than four University of Helsinki faculties. The role of each participant in the procession can be deduced from their clothing and accessories.

This year, the University of Helsinki is celebrating the Conferment Jubilee, as the Faculty of Philosophy is holding its hundredth conferment ceremony. It will furthermore be 380 years since the first conferment ceremony at the Royal Academy of Turku. A total of four faculties – the faculties of Veterinary Medicine, Philosophy, Law and Theology – will hold their conferment ceremonies in May and June.

By participating in the academic conferment festivities, extending over several days in celebration of graduation, master’s graduates gain the right to wear a master’s garland and ring, and doctoral graduates the right to wear a doctoral hat and sword. In addition, honorary doctors (link) take part in the conferment ceremony, and the same opportunity is extended to those who were conferred their degrees 50 years earlier. They are known as jubilee masters and doctors. Some conferment ceremonies are exclusively for doctoral graduates.

The conferment event most prominently displayed in the city streets is the procession, whose number of participants usually amounts to hundreds of people. The procession travels from the Main Building of the University of Helsinki to either the Helsinki Cathedral or a secular event and, following these events, back to the Main Building.

Dress code and accessories according to role

Senate Square is the best place to follow each procession, particularly the Unioninkatu side, since they all will emerge from the Main Building facing the square.

When leaving the Main Building, the master of ceremonies, identified by a red sash, heads the procession. They are followed by the conferrer, the ceremony’s highest-ranking individual and, usually, the most senior professor of the faculty. Next up are the jubilee doctors, honorary doctors and doctoral graduates, all of whom can be identified by their doctoral hats and swords. They are followed by the garlanded jubilee masters and master’s graduates.

Doctoral and master’s degree holders clad in evening attire can only be distinguished by their accessories. Doctoral graduates wear black dresses, master’s graduates white dresses.

The University staff section of the procession is led by two beadles wearing cerulean robes and carrying the University’s silver sceptres. They are followed by the chancellor, the rector in their red robe, the vice-rectors, chairs of the University Collegium and Board, the director of administration and the faculty deans.

Next up are members of the Board of the University, current professors, the National Librarian and University Librarian and retired professors, directors of sectors at University Services, docents and, lastly, other staff.

The third section of the procession is headed by the head marshal with their blue sash. They are followed by the official garland weaver and previous holders of the position, often with flowers in their hands. Next up are the garland weavers of jubilee masters, the remainder of the garland weavers, and the companions of jubilee and honorary doctors and doctoral graduates. The procession is completed by invited guests and the rest of the public. 

Join us at the conferment procession!