Michiel Beijen.

“You only get your doctorate once, so you should pull out all the stops”

Life is a party, but you have to put up the bunting yourself. Even more so, when it comes to something as special as your own PhD conferral ceremony, thought Michiel Beijen. The TU/e PhD candidate is arranging for a party tent measuring 12 by 15 meters to be set up Thursday April 5 on the KOE field. Here, he is expecting some 150 people (by invitation only) to join him for drinks after his thesis defense.

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“It's a bit different from most other PhD parties,” replies Beijen enthusiastically when Cursor asks about his plans. The researcher will be defending his thesis this Thursday (about active vibration isolation, a technique that makes it possible to add even more functional components to a single computer chip). Beijen did his research at the Control Systems Technology group run by Professor Maarten Steinbuch (Mechanical Engineering).

The idea for a tent reception was born a few years ago after a weekend away with colleagues. One evening the group went to a big party held in a tent. “Everyone thought the venue was fantastic.” To Beijen, it seemed ‘really cool’ to do something similar after his PhD conferral ceremony.

“I often attend receptions of this kind and they are always pretty sociable events, don't get me wrong - but they are pretty orderly and official. What's more, people often start making their way home as soon as the official part is over - whereas to my mind that's the signal for the party to start. You only get your doctorate once, so you should pull out all the stops.”

The costs of the planned reception (typically paid by the PhD recipient, incidentally) proved affordable; and his supervisors and the Events Team at TU/e (which coordinates all activities held on university grounds) were soon on board. “A little discussion was necessary as this wasn't something they had encountered before. But actually that all went pretty smoothly.”

There is also some talk in the corridors of colleagues who are supposedly organizing a performer to provide live music

Michiel Beijen
PhD candidate Mechanical Engineering

And so on Thursday April 5th a large tent will be erected on the KOE field, where Beijen is expecting to receive some 150 invited guests. Although the details of the program are still being finalized, there will certainly be music. In any event, a former student who now works as a DJ will be responsible for much of the musical accompaniment. “There is also some talk in the corridors of colleagues who are supposedly organizing a performer to provide live music,” says Beijen with a smile.

Pilot

For Karine van den Wildenberg, involved in the Events Team in her capacity at the Conferences department, this is the first time she has ever had such a request. “We are treating it as a pilot, and will see how it turns out and whether people like it. At any rate, we are certainly open to ideas of this kind.”

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