The post-doctoral party, karonkka, taking place in the evening of the public examination is an old academic tradition. The post-doctoral party is held in the honour of the opponent and you act as the host or hostess of the party. You can decide the venue for the party. Choose a place that fits your budget and ask for information on good locations from senior colleagues who have already had their post-doctoral party. Based on the university’s instructions, a reservation in university premises is subject to a charge. Reservation forms and price lists are available at Facilities of the University of Eastern Finland | University of Eastern Finland (uef.fi).
Invitations to the post-doctoral party
Traditionally, invitations to the post-doctoral party were not sent before the opponent had given his/her statement on recommending the approval of the doctoral dissertation. Nowadays, however, invitations to the post-doctoral party are sent in advance. It is customary to contact the opponent before the public examination and ask whether you can start the party arrangements.
An invitation to the post-doctoral party should be sent, not only to the opponent and the custos, but also to the supervisor, pre-examiners and co-authors, as well as to anyone else who has clearly contributed to the dissertation. Your companion, parents and close friends should also be included in the guest list. However, the post-doctoral party is not a family party.
It is also customary to invite the persons from the audience who asked questions or made comments at the public examination to the post-doctoral party but, according to an unwritten rule, they are not to accept the invitation.
You may formulate the wording of the invitation, but it should indicate the dress code, especially if you prefer the guests not to wear tailcoats and evening dresses or wish to suggest alternative styles of dress. In addition, if it is customary in your discipline/faculty, you can mention whether you wish your guests to buy a dinner card for the post-doctoral party (to cover costs). However, do not mention the dinner card in the invitations to the opponent, custos and supervisors.
The usual dress code for the post-doctoral party is a tailcoat or an evening dress. The traditional colour used in academic celebrations is black, but other dark colours have also become common. The dress code should be clearly indicated in the invitation.
A ‘dress suit’ in the invitation refers to a long evening dress in black or other dark colour or to a tailcoat with a white waistcoat.
A ‘dark suit’ in the invitation refers to a short, formal dress in black or other dark colour or a dark suit.
You may also choose a dress code that differs from traditions and mention it in the invitations, however, the post-doctoral party in general is a festive occasion and everyone should dress accordingly, i.e. not too casually.
You are the host or hostess of the evening, and the opponent is the guest of honour. The guest of honour sits on your right. The custos, on the other hand, sits on your left. If there are two opponents, the younger will sit on your left and the custos on the next place to the left. Other guests are usually seated in the order of their academic achievements.
You will offer food, drinks and possibly also some other entertainment as well. The dinner will be served after you have welcomed everyone to the party. Speeches should not be given until after the dinner and before the coffee. You should begin the speeches by first thanking the opponent and then the custos. After this, you should also thank everyone else who have contributed to the dissertation, in the order of importance. Finally, you thank your partner or, in the absence of a partner, someone else really close to you. Your speech of thanks should be kept rather short and it should be given without notes.
The opponent will immediately reply to your speech. The opponent’s response is usually light and informal, not too festive nor serious. Should the custos like to say a few words, s/he can do so after the opponent has finished. After this the guests may say a few words in the order they were mentioned in your speech.
After the speeches, the party takes a more informal turn and the guests can enjoy the music, each others’ company, etc. Depending on the venue, you may also move to a different place to continue the evening with each other in an informal setting. The guests may leave after the coffee and speeches.