For 19 years already, the city’s administration has been awarding the best graduates of the city’s universities at the atrium of the Commandant’s Office of the Peter and Paul Fortress.

The ceremony brought together students from various universities: technical and humanitarian, academic and specialized. Young people dressed up in their best suits, dresses, and uniforms represented the diversity of higher education institutions in St. Petersburg. As per tradition, the ceremony started with the city’s anthem, which was followed by a speech from Vladimir Knyaginin, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, who congratulated this year’s graduates.

“I have a few wishes for you. Firstly, I ask you to take good care of yourself and your loved ones. It’s especially important in times like these. Secondly, I wish you to be fearless. Don’t be afraid of anything. You’re our future, and you will succeed. And finally, we’ll be happy if you decide to pursue your career in St. Petersburg. We’re proud of you! And if you’re going to work somewhere else or continue your studies at another university, never forget about our city and university. I wish you luck!” says Vladimir Knyaginin.

The best graduates received the Bronze Sphinx to the sound of applause of their classmates, friends, and family. At the ceremony, ITMO University was represented by Anna Voloshina, both the university’s graduate and a current employee.

“Frankly speaking, I’m not used to being in the limelight,” shares Anna. “At the university, I organized various events, so I was always behind the scenes. And now, I am the focus. There are cameras everywhere and even a red carpet. Of course, it is quite flattering, but it is also a bit awkward. This is an amazing tradition, and I hope that it’ll have a long history. I’m happy that even despite the current situation, the event did take place and we all gathered in this beautiful place, right in the heart of St. Petersburg. I’m proud to be one of the top students in St. Petersburg and, perhaps, someday I’ll even brag about it a bit.”

At the end of the ceremony, Artyom Khludin, one of the award’s winners from St. Petersburg State Institute of Technology, delivered a speech on behalf of the graduates. 

“We promise to make you proud, strive for breakthroughs, and achieve great advances in culture, art, and sports, as well as preserve the eternal values that we inherited in St. Petersburg,” he says. 

However, the celebration didn’t end there, and the award winners had the chance to participate in the traditional midday cannon salute at the walls of the Peter and Paul Fortress. 

“The midday cannon salute has always been a mystery to me. No one knows who does it and how it happens. And it’s amazing to be part of this tradition,” shares Anna Voloshina.