It’s impressive. It dates from Medieval times, when the graduands (those who have passed the examinations but not yet graduated) would gather before the Masters to graduate to the next level of study.
All graduation ceremonies start with the academic procession, the teaching staff of the university preceding the senior academics, Deans, other senior officers and finally the Vice Chancellor, the Mace and then the Chancellor, or their representative. The Mace is the symbol of authority to confer degrees. The conferment is performed by the Chancellor or their representative. Honorary Degrees are conferred. Yesterday at this ceremony a Doctor of Laws was awarded to Lord Janner of Braunstone, who as Greville Janner served as one of the city’s Members of Parliament from 1970 to 1995. His work continues and he seems tireless, despite reaching his 80th birthday tomorrow (11th July). The honorary Doctor of Letters was awarded to sculptor John Carter, whose work adorns portions of the University.
Yesterday was a grand occasion. The De Montfort Hall was filled, graduands who became graduates, parents, partners, siblings (including a very well behaved less than six month old baby) applauded. Photographs were taken and the atsmosphere of pride exuded by the families was tangible. Those actually graduating have been living with it for a number of years and treated it all as natural at the place that has been their home for a number of years.
So why were we there?
Only one reason. Sandy, my wife, received her MA in Archaeology and Heritage. She’s been doing this by distance learning. Now she has more letters after her name than I do.