KTU graduation ceremony – 100th graduating class, famous performers and a surprise

Important | 2023-06-26

More than 1.5 thousand young professionals possessing leadership qualities, ready to apply their knowledge in various fields received their diplomas at the impressive graduation ceremony in Kaunas Žalgiris Arena last Friday. It was the 100th graduation ceremony for Kaunas University of Technology (KTU).

In the first half of 2023, a total of 1,917 graduates completed their studies at KTU. This June, KTU awarded diplomas to 1,589 specialists, including 992 bachelors, 557 masters and 40 graduates of professional pedagogical studies. Among them were 139 international students from 30 countries as well as fifteen PhDs.

The 100th Jubilee class

This year’s celebration was extraordinary, as the KTU graduation was celebrated for the 100th time. Over the last century, since the founding of the University of Lithuania, from which KTU originated, the University has educated and prepared more than 163 thousand graduates for a successful professional journey. Among the famous KTU alumni are the former President, signatories of the Lithuanian Independence Act, members of the governments, a laureate of the International Peace Prize and many others.

KTU Rector Eugenijus Valatka greeting the 100th Graduating Class

“Dear alumni, you are our pride. Over the last few years you have been purposefully pursuing your goals, promoting the name of the University – you have been faithful ambassadors of KTU. We wish you remain in touch with us and your colleagues, build bridges of fellowship and use them,” said KTU Rector Professor Eugenijus Valatka while greeting the 100th graduating class of KTU.

According to the KTU Rector, the doors of the University are always open to graduates; KTU alumni association is an active alive organisation that welcomes new members all the time. After the awarding of diplomas, professionals can foster their relationship with the University by continuing their studies, working or implementing joint projects.

“There is no doubt that this day marks the beginning of your new plans, ideas and opportunities. Don’t let go of your ideals, even if implementing them takes a lot of energy, patience and wisdom. Be responsible, searching and discovering, creating and succeeding in your personal and professional path. On behalf of the University, I wish you to enjoy the simple moments, to experience life as full as possible, and to boldly undertake noble goals,” said Rector Valatka.

Encouraged to practise leadership

On Friday, Žalgiris Arena was packed with graduates and their relatives; in the audience, there were quite a few distinguished guests who came to congratulate the graduates. The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Simonas Kairys, in his speech, wished the heroes of the ceremony to create a more beautiful, better and safer world.

“When you go to University, you think about knowledge, but university is not just about that. In KTU, I especially want to talk about leadership. In good, carefree times leadership manifests itself in various innovations, technologies, sustainability and other terms. However, in hard, turbulent times, leadership must activate resilience, because then there is no time for rehearsals – leadership has to be expressed quickly, clearly and boldly,” said Kairys.

Simonas Kairys, Lithuanian Minister of Culture

He stressed that it is important to use leadership to emphasise the humanity in technology, but also to keep culture in mind, as it is what makes societies more human.

“I know that today there will be a lot of talk about upcoming stage in your lives. However, you probably also feel that today’s world is different and I strongly encourage you not to divide your life into stages, but simply to live and cherish every minute, every day and to find your own place in a fast-changing world,” said the Lithuanian Minister of Culture.

“Magnificent”, the word best befitting the ceremony

Kamilė Adamavičiūtė and Al Akiki Dit Al Mazraani Rizkallah, who were graduating together with the 100th KTU graduating class, greeted their classmates. On the stage, they were sharing the most memorable moments of their study years with the audience.

Al Akiki Dit Al Mazraani Rizkallah, KTU graduate from Lebanon

“Every day I try to learn a new Lithuanian word, and today’s word for me is didingas – magnificent. It’s magnificent to be here. I was advised not to look at the audience, and to pretend that no one was there. But I cannot pretend all these beautiful people aren’t here, I am thankful to you all. I agree that we need leaders, but first of all, we must be leaders of our own life. Otherwise, the diploma will be just a paper,” said Rizkallah from Lebanon, who has just graduated with his master’s in Industrial Biotechnology.

In his inspiring speech Rizkallah thanked to his professors and the supervisor who helped him through the study years, his Lithuanian friends who introduced him to folk music, Lithuanian cuisine (the Lebanese KTU graduate is now fan of cepelinai), and helped with his thesis’ translation.

“The country brought me new experiences, the things that I didn’t dream I could ever do in my life,” said Rizkallah in his speech.

During the celebration, the rock band jautì, singer and songwriter Monika Liu, who represented Lithuania in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, the KTU brass band The BrassBees, the choir of the Nemunas Folk Art Ensemble, and the KTU dance studio MoDance performed on stage.

KTU graduates were also treated to an unexpected surprise – the University gave them as a gift a painting “From a Small Dream – to a Big Future” by the famous artist, also a KTU alumnus Algis Kriščiūnas, specially created for the 100th graduating class.