Glossary

The Conferment Ceremony encompasses a variety of roles. Below is a glossary to clarify the often archaic-sounding terms.

Officiant

An official of the Conferment Ceremony. The officiants are the Conferrer, the Master of Ceremonies, and the Head Marshal.

Swordwhetter

A companion of a doctor promovendus. Despite their name, they do not have to whet (sharpen) swords.

Honorary doctor

The faculty will also be conferring honorary doctorates in the Conferment Ceremony. An honorary doctorate may be awarded to anyone that the faculty deems to have deserved the honour, regardless of their prior educational background.

Gratista / gratisti

The gratista (f.) or gratisti (m.) is the chair of the Conferment Committee. In the ceremony of 2016, the gratisti is Jussi Nuortimo, with Elina Lähdeniemi and Liisa Lähteenaho as his vice gratistas and Jaakko Kalske as his vice gratisti.

Master of Ceremonies

The Master of Ceremonies is responsible for making sure the Conferment Act and other ceremonial events go smoothly. Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology Sarah Green is the Master of Ceremonies in the ceremony of 2016.

Head Marshal

The Head Marshal is the leader of the Marshals and, together with the Master of Ceremonies, responsible for all events proceeding smoothly. University researcher and Docent in social psychology Nelli Hankonen is the Head Marshal of the ceremony of 2016.

Jubilee masters and doctors

Masters and doctors who took part in the Conferment Ceremony of 1966 fifty years ago will be conferred the rank of jubilee master or doctor in the Conferment Ceremony of 2016.

Promovendus (pl. promovendi)

A Master or a Doctor of Social Sciences who will have their rank bestowed upon them in the Conferment Ceremony. As a rule, the promovendi take part in the ceremony with their spouse or other companion, who is also their wreathweaver or swordwhetter and will accompany them in dinners and other festivities. A promovendus can take part in the conferment ceremony also without a companion.

Marshal (herald)

Assistant to the Head Marshal and Master of Ceremonies. Their duties include guiding guests and standing as honour guards. You can recognize them from a broad ribbon worn over one shoulder and a student cap.

Wreathweaver

The companion of a master promovendus. On the day before the Conferment Act, the wreathweaver makes their master promovendus’ laurel wreath by tying or sewing the fresh leaves onto the wreath’s base. This is done under the instruction of the official wreathweaver in the event reserved for it. The official wreathweaver and their assistants will make the laurel wreaths for promovendi participating alone.

Official wreathweaver

On the morning of Flower’s Day, 13 May, the promovendi gather in a festive meeting held in Latin to select the official wreathweaver for the Conferment Ceremony. As a rule, the official wreathweaver is a child of a reputable professor in the faculty of Social Sciences. The official wreathweaver symbolizes spring, youth and faith in the future.

Conferrer

The Conferrer confers or bestows the academic status of master or doctor to the promovendi. The highest-ranking person in the Conferment Ceremony. Professor of Political Science Jan Sundberg is the Conferrer in the ceremony of 2016.

Conferment Act

The Conferment Act is the main event of the Conferment Ceremony where the promovendi are conferred with the academic status of master or doctor. The Act will take place in the Great Hall of the University of Helsinki on Friday 27 May and is undertaken by the Conferrer, who is the longest-serving professor in the faculty of Social Sciences.

Primus master, prima master, primus doctor, prima doctor

The person among the promovendi with the highest grade on their Master’s thesis is called the primus (m.) or the prima (f.) master. Respectively, the person among the promovendi with the highest grade on their Doctoral dissertation is the primus or the prima doctor.

Ultimus master, ultima master, ultimus doctor, ultima doctor

The person among the promovendi with the second highest grade on their Master’s thesis is called the ultimus (m.) or the ultima (f.) master. Respectively, the person among the promovendi with the second highest grade on their Doctoral dissertation is the ultimus or the ultimama doctor.

Conferment Committee

A group of volunteers responsible for organising the Conferment Ceremony, composed of master and doctor promovendi. The committee is led by the gratista (f.) or gratisti (m.).