Graduation 2016

gradmontage16bLast week Brasenose College held our annual graduation events, where recently-finished undergraduate and post-graduates return to celebrate the end of their studies. This year the College enjoyed outstanding results for our undergraduate final examinations, with 41 achieved first-class degrees and several being awarded University prizes.

The celebration began mid-morning, when students and guests gathered in the College, and then walked across Radcliffe Square in a long line, to the Sheldonian Theatre, a building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built in the 1660s. The theatre is the ceremonial heart of Oxford, and graduating students will always have a sense of nostalgia about the location, as it is where they will have “matriculated” several years ago. Matriculation is a similar celebration to graduation, only at the beginning of academic courses, where students are formally admitted to the University of Oxford.

The graduation ceremony itself has retained the same essential features from when degrees were first awarded in Oxford 800 years ago or more. Students are lead to the Sheldonian by the College Deans of Degrees, which in Brasenose’s case is Dr Llewelyn Morgan, one of our Classics tutors. Students are then seated, in order of their presentation, with College Deans of Degrees witnessing procedures. At the start of the ceremony the university Vice-Chancellor delivers an introductory speech, and then groups of students leave their seats to be formally admitted to their degrees.

Following completion of formal proceedings, Brasenose students returned to the College for a reception, with parents and other relatives joining them. A marque with seating, a jazz band, canapés and drinks all added to the sense of occasion, and students were able to capture memories with many-a photo of them flinging their mortarboard hats in the air. Our Principal, John Bowers, delivered a poignant speech during the afternoon, where everyone was reminded of the incredible progress students had made during their time in College, and the excitement felt about future possibilities, whether employment, further study or travelling and time out. 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 for alumni in College and across the country, a regular newsletter and an annual report.

Abigail Bradshaw (pictured with her tutor, Dr Dave Popplewell) achieved particularly stunning results for her Experimental Psychology degree; she was awarded the Gibbs prize (for best overall performance in Experimental Psychology across the whole University), the Humphrey prize (for best overall performance in Psychology exams), and a congratulatory First. She commented “the best part of Brasenose is the community here. You feel part of vibrant, diverse College that from the outset supports you through your time here. For me being here is about realising your potential, having fun and meeting great people. My tutor Dave had been absolutely brilliant.” Jess Freedman, who graduated with a 2:1 classification in Math and Stats, captured the mood with her comment “I've been so lucky to be at Brasenose and make such good friends and have the best time!”.

Although remaining students, tutors and staff are always sad to see our final students leave, there is no time for standing still in a college that is constantly renewing itself. In just over a month we will be welcoming prospective applicants during our September 16th 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 and attend their matriculation ceremony during freshers week.

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