Review of the IFP School Graduation Ceremony

Interview with Hélène Bourg, Students and Alumni Liaison Officer at the School

Portrait de Hélène Bourg

IFP School has been organizing its traditional graduation ceremony since 2010. The ceremony was only cancelled once in 2020 due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

On 18 September, the School organized the 12th edition of its ceremony, a unique event that brought together two classes. Hélène Bourg, organizer of the event, tells us more.

1.    Can you tell us about the origin of the graduation ceremony? Why did IFP School choose to organize such an event?

In 2010, the School wanted to highlight this pivotal moment in the lives of students at the end of their academic year, when they enter the job market.

Through this ceremony, which brings together an entire class, our objective was also to build up community spirit and consolidate the feeling of belonging to the IFP School alumni network, by giving each of them a memorable experience.

Through the support of its industrial partners, the School has opted for a unique setting by choosing the largest event boat on the River Seine: The "Paquebot" cruise ship of Yachts de Paris.

It was a sure bet, as the ceremony has become a well-established tradition at IFP School. Our students look forward to it every year!

On average, the ceremony attracts over 500 participants: graduates and their families, members of the School’s staff, as well as VIP representatives from IFPEN and our industrial partners.

2.    How does the ceremony traditionally unfold?

The IFP School graduation ceremony is traditionally held in mid-June to allow as many future graduates as possible to attend. Students, their families, teachers and industry representatives are welcomed by a team of volunteers, usually students who are members of the Students' Office (BDE) of the current class.

After the traditional speeches by IFP Energies nouvelles’ CEO and the Dean of IFP School, the graduates are invited to step on stage as their names are called. Applauded by families from all over the world and by the entire graduating class, they receive a commemorative medal from the Center Directors and/or their program managers.

All participants then board the Paquebot cruise ship to enjoy a dinner cruise on the River Seine. The journey across Paris is a resounding success with the participants and has genuine cultural interest. It is a wonderful occasion for people to come together and celebrate.

The event culminates in a party organized by the Students’ Office.

3.    So what was new in this 12th edition?

After being delayed several times, the coronavirus epidemic forced us to cancel the ceremony in 2020 to protect the health and safety of everyone.

This year, we were delighted to welcome the graduates of the classes of 2019 and 2020. It was an unprecedented and important event for the School with almost 750 participants! An exciting occasion packed with emotion.

To comply with the measures in force, the ceremony was held in the salons and gardens of the prestigious Pré Catelan Restaurant in Paris. Participants were required to have a valid health pass and to wear a mask at all times in the event area.

Those who did not have a pass were able to be tested on the spot, as a Covid screening unit was set up to carry out antigen tests under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

In addition, the class of 2020, which was deprived of a patronage ceremony due to the pandemic, had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Baptiste Breton, Geosciences Director of Perenco, who represented Mr. Benoît de la Fouchardière, Group General Manager of Perenco and honorary patron of the class.

This ceremony was the culmination of ongoing teamwork. I would like to thank the students and staff of the School who have contributed to its success.

Similarly, this event could not have taken place without the unwavering support of our industrial partners, whom I would also like to thank: Axens, ExxonMobil, Groupe Renault, Perenco, Schlumberger, Storengy, Technip Energies and TotalEnergies.

You can revisit the graduation ceremony in pictures.

Interview conducted by: Meyling Siu