Laurie Taylor Column

July 11, 2003

From: The office of the vice-chancellor

Subject: Degree convocations

It has been brought to my attention that several of last year's 48 degree ceremonies finished after the scheduled time and thereby deprived some parents of the opportunity to visit the strawberry tent. In order to avoid a recurrence of this misfortune, the Degree Day Logistics Committee (myself and the bursar) has devised the following measures:

The Formal Procession

The traditional procession of senior members of the university into the Great Hall is very time-consuming. This year, therefore, all members of the procession will be required to proceed at a gentle trot. (NB Our rehearsals suggest that this enhanced speed may cause the university mace to slip from its ceremonial cushion. This year, therefore, the mace will be held aloft in the manner favoured by the bearer of the Olympic torch.)

The Naming of Graduands

In previous attempts to expedite proceedings, we have omitted the first name and the gender of individual graduands during their presentation. This year, we will be making further economies by calling students two by two.

(NB Care should be taken to exclude alphabetical couplings with extra ceremonial resonances eg Ball and Chain, Blair and Campbell, Such and Swallow.)

Chancellor's Handshake

Our analysis shows that the proceedings are also greatly slowed by the practice of allowing graduands to shake the hand of the chancellor after receiving their scrolls. This year the handshake will therefore be replaced by a faster (and more progressive) form of salutation - the "high five" (demonstrations are available in the robing room before each ceremony).

Orchestral Piece

The traditional playing by the University Orchestra of "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons will be replaced this year by a performance of the exciting first four notes from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

I hope all this is clear and I look forward to glimpsing you at one of the new expedited ceremonies, The vice-chancellor (signed in his absence by Mrs Dilworth)

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