Graduation 2015

GradMontage2015Late last month Brasenose College held graduation events, where the majority of our recently-finished undergraduates, and a number of post-graduates, returned to college to mark of their studies. Students and their guests congregated in the morning and had graduating gowns fitted by our Steward, Alan Bennett. Graduation is one of the rare occasions in the life of an Oxford student where they are asked to wear full academic dress. Suitably kitted out, Brasenose students walked in a procession to the Sheldonian Theatre led by Dr Llewelyn Morgan, Tutor in Classics and the College’s Dean of Degrees. The Theatre, a Grade One listed building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built in the 1660s, is the ceremonial headquarters for the University of Oxford, and is where matriculation, graduation and encaenia take place. 

The ceremony itself has retained the same essential features from when degrees were first awarded in Oxford, in the twelfth century. Students are seated, in order of their presentation, with College Deans of Degrees witnessing procedures. At the start of the ceremony the Vice-Chancellor delivers an introductory speech, and then groups of students leave their seats to be formally admitted to their degrees, following in the footsteps of such noted Oxford alumni as John Donne, Iris Murdoch, David Cameron, Aung San Suu Kyi, Stephen Hawking, Monica Ali, Michael Palin, Tim Berners-Lee and many more. Following completion of formal proceedings, Brasenose students returned to the College for a reception, with parents and other relatives joining them.

Reflecting on the whole day our Dean of Degrees commented: "It's a slightly nerve-wracking day for the Dean of Degrees, the big graduation, but a lot of fun, too. I was told I looked a bit like a vampire, and it's not everyday you get to dress up. It's great to see the students who've just finished back in College again, and it's the first of many visits back to the place, to *their* place, they'll make as graduate grown-ups. A good way to start."

Graduation is always a very joyous occasion, tinged with a poignant sadness, as the College says its goodbyes to members of the student community as they move on to a variety of next steps, ranging from full-time employment in wide diversity of professions, to post-graduate studies and travelling abroad. However, Brasenose graduates remain members of College for life, and we look forward to our recent alumni visiting us again. Our Alumni and Development office offer an extensive programme, with events and reunions (called a Gaudy) for alumni in college and across the country, a regular newsletter and an annual report of college goings-on.

The cycle of life continues apace at Brasenose. In just over a month we will be welcoming prospective applicants during our September 18th undergraduate Open Days. Then, two weeks later our new fresher students, just beginning their time at Brasenose College, will move in for the first time.

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