by Lesly / Monday, 1 November 2010 /
Thought you might like to see what I do in my day job. Not that it's always so ceremonial. Our convocation, or graduation, ceremonies happen twice a year. This year I took surreptitious photos with my iPhone.
We dress up in our gowns in one of the buildings on campus and then traipse around to the building where the ceremony is held. The students go in ahead of us - they are piped in by a bagpiper, who happens to by my next-door neighbour. (Luckily, she practices with her windows closed). When the students are organized, we make our entry accompanied by an organ. I always feel I am marrying the university as I go down the aisle!
After we sing God Save the Queen, and have the benediction spoken and the honorary graduand makes his speech, the students come across the stage one at a time, and the Dean puts their hood on. The hoods are those strange things hanging down our backs. Traditionally, they were worn by scholars to keep warm in the middle ages, before universities had central heating, but now they are just ceremonial. This year I had a good view.
Sometimes I get stuck behind someone wearing one of those fancy hats and can't seen a thing. Our gowns are determined by the university which granted our doctoral degree. You can't see mine, but it is black with wide red sleeves and red facing down the front. I also wear a red hood lined with white silk. It is not our tradition to wear a hat. At the university where I am now, the doctoral candidates wear gorgeous red gowns with blue and gold trim. You can see them seated in the front row in the photo below. Undergraduates and MA/MSc candidates wear black gowns with hoods that are coloured according to their discipline. In the photo below, everyone has been hooded and the class of 2010 is being applauded. Then it's O Canada, and we're outa there!
Sometimes convocation goes on for a very long time. I amuse myself by looking at the women's shoes - as a result I am always up on the current footwear fashion!
P.S. If you are looking for the giveaway post, go here. Comments will remain open until November 5.