Thanks to this concept students could be joined by friends and relatives as long as they all remained in their own car. It was a memorable event: the blowing of car horns was added to the customary applause creating an ecstatic atmosphere.
“It was a hearty and unique moment in which to take leave of our students” said Prof Pierre Van Damme, the epidemiologist who has become a household name during the corona crisis. “Everybody stuck to the rules. We are proud of our students. It was an incredible party. The corona crisis made the university think out of the box.”
Prof Van Damme was even prepared to consider a repeat, but preferably without a corona crisis. The university felt that after completing up to six years of studies students couldn’t be treated to an online graduation. In this way students could team up with friends and relatives and enjoy a special event.
The event conjured up the atmosphere of a drive-in movie theatre rather than a university graduation ceremony. Cars had been parked in the shape of a crescent all pointing towards the stage where students, in bunches of six, could come and collect their diploma. Friends and relatives could follow the speeches via their car radio. Drinks could be ordered via WhatsApp and these were served by waiting staff on roller skates.