In a conferment ceremony held just once every five years by the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Jacobs School of Music Professor Estelle Jorgensen was awarded an honorary doctorate. The ceremony includes electric blue top hats for all doctoral degrees and protocols of a particular kind.
“I was to approach the podium, where stood a very tall man who placed the top hat firmly on my head,” wrote Jorgensen. “I was required to bow to him, and then turn and bow to the audience. No shaking hands! You can see me clad in regulation academic regalia, with a sash from Sibelius and the electric blue top hat!”
Jorgensen’s description continues:
“Following the conferment, a ball at the Helsinki Opera House was conducted in full evening attire, with all those receiving doctorates wearing the top hats. Here, I responded to a speaker on behalf of the honorary doctors. Masters degree women wore white full length gowns, doctoral degree women wore black full length gowns, and men wore full evening attire with tails. It was quite the event lasting three days: a concert on June 1 at the Helsinki Music Center, the conferment ceremony on June 2 that lasted four hours (including a half hour intermission) followed by a parade through the streets of Helsinki (with traffic stopped for the procession) to the Temppeliaukio Church for a festive religious ceremony, followed by a banquet and ball at night, and a picnic to the countryside on June 3.“
Enjoy pictures from the event: