Campus - 19.02.2017 - 00:00 

68 new Doctors

On 20 February 2017, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) awarded 68 Doctor’s Degrees. In his address, President Thomas Bieger spoke about academics’ responsibility in a time of digitalisation.
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20 February 2017. At the Doctors’ Graduation Ceremony, President Thomas Bieger awarded 68 degree certificates:

  • 48 in Economic Sciences,
  • seven in Social Sciences,
  • six in Law,
  • three in Political Science,
  • three degrees of a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics and Finance, and
  • one degree of a Doctor of Philosophy in Finance.

Digitalisation as an opportunity

"In spite of the fact that scientific circles had issued warnings about serious economic damage, people voted in favour of Brexit," Bieger reminded the new doctors. This result, as well as the result of the US presidential elections, revealed that large parts of the population felt ignored by experts from politics, business, academia and society and left alone by the so-called "elite", and that as a consequence, they increasingly even disregarded scientific advice. A deep chasm had opened in many western societies, said the President of the University of St.Gallen.

"The era of Industry 4.0 is not merely characterised by automatic production. Thanks to digitalisation, machines are also taking over increasingly demanding activities," continued Bieger in his address. The ongoing processes of digitalisation could become an opportunity, but only if they did not lead to a further rift in society. In this development and debate, future academically trained specialists and executives, in particular, would bear a great deal of responsibility. The HSG President told the new doctors that they would have to be aware of the fact that particularly in the social sciences, things could often not simply be labelled right or wrong as a matter of principle; rather, many situations were about consistency. Furthermore, they should also seek a dialogue outside their comfort zone, with people of different opinions and from other social circles, to become involved in politics and, despite all the radical changes, not to overlook the gratifying developments of the past few years and the positive perspectives for humankind in the future.

Enjoying moments of joy

In her address, HSG alumna Dr. Felicitas Morhart, Professor of Marketing at the University of Lausanne, humorously presented a typology of graduates whose personal sensitivities differ from each other after they have received their Doctor’s degrees. Based on her own experience and on the observations of colleagues and her own doctoral students, she sketched five types of graduates and their ways of dealing with the new situation: vain graduates, depressive graduates, bon vivants, relieved graduates and instrumental graduates. She highlighted the last type –instrumental graduates – who made up a particularly ambitious group and should definitely let themselves be inspired by the rather more fleet-footed types. This marked the transition from the humorous to the serious conclusion of her address: that stopping, taking a break and enjoying moments of joy were neuralgic stations on the journey through life. "You should consciously experience these situations whenever they occur – you can't postpone them, they’re often gone too soon," said Felicitas Morhart.

The musical background to the ceremony was provided by the Claude Diallo Situation jazz trio.

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