The title of Doctor of Dentistry was conferred upon 129 graduates of the Faculty of Dentistry (FOK), including 83 students of the Hungarian programme, 28 students of the English programme and 18 students of the German programme. At the graduation ceremony held in the NET building, the diplomas were presented by rector Dr. Béla Merkely, Dr. Péter Hermann, vice-rector for educational affairs, and Dr. Gábor Gerber, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.

The ceremonial meeting of the Senate held in this 250th anniversary year of the university was opened by Dr. Béla Merkely, the rector of Semmelweis University. In his speech, he noted that the diploma graduates are receiving is valuable in itself, as they have earned it in the course of completing their studies at the 250-year-old Semmelweis University, a leading medical and health sciences training institution of Hungary and Central Europe, but it is also a passport for entering postgraduate training and becoming a member of the Semmelweis Alumni community. The rector noted that the curriculum reform implemented at the university has further strengthened the faculty’s practice-oriented training, allowing graduate dentists to become individuals that are able to think independently and critically, as well as make certain types of medical decisions. “The higher education diploma you have earned in itself authorizes graduate students to practice their profession and treat patients. At the same time, beyond undergraduate training, the faculty also provides several further opportunities for graduated dentists: they can enroll in postgraduate specialist training programs or enter a PhD program,” said the rector.

Dr. Béla Merkely also recalled the extraordinary academic year that is behind us: “In our special 250th anniversary year, we had to cease our celebrations in order to face an epidemic situation that has not been seen in our lifetime, but we banded together to work for our patients, for each other, and learned how we can protect our clinics and departments from the pandemic, as well as how to lead the fight against the coronavirus. So we are closing an extraordinary academic year, during which the pandemic overwrote some of our plans, but I am proud to say that over the past months, every Semmelweis Citizen has proven their worth,” he said. He congratulated the graduates, and wished them strength, diligence and perseverance in their endeavors.

Tamás Hegedűs, a candidate of Doctor of Dentistry, submitted the conferment request and then students took their solemn oath in three languages, promising that they would fulfill all aspects of their duties with utmost diligence. Following the oath, rector Dr. Béla Merkely, vice-rector Dr. Péter Hermann, and dean Dr. Gábor Gerber conferred the title of Doctor of Dentistry upon the graduates by congratulating each of them with a handshake. A total of 129 graduates received their diplomas at the ceremony, including 83 from the Hungarian, 28 from the English and 18 from the German programme. 44 people graduated summa cum laude, 77 cum laude and 8 with a grade of rite.

In the name of graduates of the Hungarian programme, Dr. Tamás Hegedűs held a speech, in which he noted: “If we have learned one thing, it is that dentistry is not just a field of medicine, but also an art, and becoming a master of this art requires will, which we have demonstrated that we have.”

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Dr. Dimitrios Antoniadis and Dr. Roxanna Mandana Akrami spoke jointly on behalf of the graduates of the English language programme. They recalled the work and experiences they had during their studies, and expressed their thanks to the university staff, and their families and friends, who unfortunately could not be at the event in person under the current circumstances. “We sacrificed what we were for what we wanted to become, and that we have done today,” said Dr. Akrami.

Dr. Nikolaus Bodoczi represented the graduates of the German language programme, noting that students have learned much more than just dentistry, including the importance of perseverance, and the need to continuously improve and expand their knowledge.

Several awards were also presented at the ceremony to students, for their excellence in academic and research activities.

Dr. Gábor Gerber, dean of the faculty, greeted the newly conferred Doctors of Dentistry in his speech. “The fact that you have received your diplomas today proves that you are the kind of people who not only dream of success, but are willing to work for it as well,” he said, noting that the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic caused only a two week delay in the graduation ceremony. He recalled the curriculum reform that was initiated in the 250th anniversary year, noting that this is the first graduating class that is receiving its diploma based on the new curriculum. He said that the around 900 students studying at the faculty come from 37 countries. “It is no surprise that the Semmelweis diploma you are receiving is well-regarded in many countries, as it certifies that its bearer is prepared to treat patients in accordance with evidence-based medicine,” he stated. Dr. Gábor Gerber noted that as of today, the graduates have become ambassadors of the university, who are expected to promote the recognition and acclaim of medicine and Semmelweis University. “I assure you that the university will always keep its doors open for you and will give you all the support you need to succeed in your profession,” he said.

The graduation ceremony was held with the fullest adherence to the currently required safety measures, while the relatives and friends of the graduating students were able to follow the proceedings via an online live broadcast.

For the complete photo gallery, please visit our Hungarian site for the report on the event.

Ádám Szabó
Translation: Tamás Deme
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University