On any given day, CERGE-EI is filled with serious people conducting economic research and studying for exams. When it comes to complicated calculus and datasets, CERGE-EI is among the best. But when it comes to throwing a good party, we have a bit less experience. Nevertheless, the Graduation Gala proved that CERGE-EI knows how to do that too! On the evening of June 1st, our beautiful palace rooms, usually the location of lectures and exams, were filled with fun and celebration previously unknown here!
All who attended will agree: the 1st Annual Graduation Gala at CERGE-EI was an unbridled success. We welcomed over 160 guests—students, alumni, faculty and staff, the members of our governing bodies, as well as our donors and other business guests. It was an amazing evening filled with speeches, live music, gourmet food, and dancing.
The Gala started with a champagne reception accompanied by a live jazz quartet. Dressed in their best suits and dresses, most guests were eager to have their ‘celebrity photo’ on the red carpet at the top of CERGE-EI’s regal marble stairwell. An audience gathered to hear welcome speeches by Susan Walton (CERGE-EI Foundation Board member) and Jan Švejnar (a ‘Founding Father’ of CERGE-EI and Chairman of the ESC). Before dinner, guests also heard remarks by CERGE-EI alum Martin Kálovec and recent PhD graduate Peter Ondko.
After an elegant dinner, the Gala continued with remarks by J. Peter Neary (Professor of Economics at University of Oxford and a newly-elected ESC member at CERGE-EI), a touching speech by Dragana Stanišić (CERGE-EI Junior Researcher), and a ballroom dance performance by a professional dance pair. A ‘Surprise Student Raffle’ followed, awarding fun prizes to CERGE-EI students, including boat rides and tennis matches with CERGE-EI faculty members.
The mood shifted from elegance to revelry as the hours passed. With the live band bringing up the energy, everyone was eager to show off their dance moves under the chandeliers and frescoes in the main ballroom. The band eventually had to go home, but an energetic DJ jumped in without missing a beat and kept the music and dancing going until the late hours of the night.
The Graduation Gala establishes a new tradition at CERGE-EI. Once a year, the students, faculty, staff, alumni and affiliates who make CERGE-EI such a successful place deserve a night like this. With each passing year, our Graduation Galas will offer the best opportunity for the CERGE-EI community to reunite and celebrate. Looking forward to next year!
See more pictures from the First Annual Graduation Gala here!