One month from today, University of Malta graduation celebrations will begin. This year, in three weeks’ time, students who have successfully completed a Bachelor’s or Diploma course in the last two years will graduate – more than 4,000 students. The celebrations in Tal-Qroqq return on the 15th of November, with special arrangements for the students’ guests.
Last year, graduation ceremonies were canceled because of the pandemic.
This year they will be held, with the University bringing together two-year-old students. Over 26,000 people who have completed a course at undergraduate level in the past two years will graduate in 26 ceremonies to be held between mid-November and early December. Students who have successfully completed a Masters or Doctoral level course will graduate in March and April.
As in previous years, each graduate will be given three invitations for guests, who must be vaccinated to enter. The rector of the University, Alfred Vella, explained that guests will not attend the ceremony in the same place as graduates, but inside two tents specially set up on campus where they can follow proceedings on screen.
“We have two tents, which each hold 300 guests while students will be in the gymnasium that can accommodate a lot of people, but there will still be social distancing as required by health authorities for all graduates.”
Hand-shaking will be avoided at the ceremony itself -i.e. between the University administration and new graduates.
TVM visited some toga rental shops which were busy coordinating orders for these ceremonies.
“The demand for gown rentals for graduations has obviously increased because you have two full years being held in 3 weeks so the demand has definitely increased.”
As a result, many businesses are having to make new gowns.
“Sometimes we don’t cope with the demand, so we have to increase our work-load, we have to sew more gowns, especially because of the colors.”
Orders were still coming in until the last moment.
“We rent a lot of gowns in a season, 1500 to 2000, but sometimes we have 500 gowns a day.”
According to owners of these shops, the most popular gowns are for teachers and nurses, but every year there is a surprise element when a course becomes more popular than other courses.