Campus - 18.02.2019 - 00:00 

48 new doctors

On 18 February 2019, the University of St.Gallen awarded 48 Doctor’s degrees. President Thomas Bieger expressed his wish that after graduation, the new doctors should have an open, relaxed and inquiring mindset such as that described by statistician Hans Rosling in his best-selling book Factfulness.

18 February 2019. At the Doctors’ Graduation Ceremony, President Thomas Bieger awarded 48 degree certificates:

  • 28 in Economic Sciences,
  • six in Social Sciences,
  • six in Law,
  • two in Political Science,
  • four degrees of a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Finance, and
  • two degree of a Doctor of Philosophy in Finance.

Courage of curiosity and change
Thomas Bieger congratulated the new doctors on their degrees. “For most people, the doctorate is the last formal level of education. This raises the question: what comes afterwards?” For one thing, the feeling of the double workload in the “rush hour of life” would cease. “Conversely, you may well start to miss something soon: namely being able to continually absorb new knowledge and explore facts with empirical research.” Against the background of fake news, social engineering and nudging, this might soon be a genuine loss. “Up to a certain extent, we appear to have lost the ability to take our bearings from data and facts. This also explains the quest for factfulness,” said Thomas Bieger with reference to the eponymous book by the scientist Hans Rosling, who listed five instincts which prevent us from knowing all the facts and wanting to use them: fear, apportioning blame, the tendency to want to divide the world up into groups, and the instinct of wanting to impress others with numerical dimensions.

Stimulated by Hans Rosling’s ideas, Thomas Bieger provided the new doctors with thoughts for their lives after the doctoral thesis: “Don’t lose your curiosity, not only in your specialist field but in your pursuit of knowledge and facts. Reflect yourselves, how you perceive things when you are looking for data. Treat yourselves again and again to situations and experiences which don’t only provide you with “accumulating learning” but also allow for something transformative every now and then.” With this in mind, Thomas Bieger concluded his address by wishing everyone a private and professional life full of facts.

A welcoming address was given to the new doctors by HSG alumna Dr. Sina Fäckeler, Head of Learning & Development of AXA Konzern AG and founder of the corporate network Corporate Learning 70/20/10. The musical background to the ceremony was provided by Claude Diallo Situation.

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