Reporter 454, 19 June 2000
It is not often that I am moved to get out my green ink and pen a letter to the editor of any publication, but last week’s installation is worthy of multimedia technicolour with hypertext links and mp3. An inspired blend of the traditional and the contemporary, the ceremony expressed and celebrated ‘new Leeds’ at its very best.
As a sociologist of public culture and collective identity, I would suggest that it more than succeeded in capturing the essence of the University at the start of the 21st century. As a member of the University, I was proud and delighted to be part of it.
The success of the special honorary graduation ceremony held on June 8 is a reminder of how well the University organises such events.
Until the 1980s, such congregations were held annually. More recently, presentations of honorary graduates have been slotted indiscriminately into various (essentially undergraduate) ceremonies in July.
One problem of such arrangements is that students feel that ‘their’ day is hijacked by the grandees. Far better - and far more likely also to give honorary graduands their own special sense of occasion - would be if congregations for the conferment of honorary degrees could be restored as separate annual ceremonies to be presided over by the Chancellor.
The opportunity presented by our now having a newly-installed Chancellor is perhaps the time to reinstate the honorary degree day to the University’s annual calendar of events.
A few bouquets are in order! Congratulations to the person who had the foresight to broadcast the installation of the Chancellor over the Web, and to those who set it up – and congratulations to the press office for making sure we knew all about it.
Despite some of the technical difficulties, we were all able to take part in an historic and very successful day.
Re. Phil Brown’s comments on car parking (Reporter 452): I appreciate his sense of humour about this interminable subject. As someone who administered the University’s parking policy for almost eight years, I always found there were lots of ‘experts’ on the subject.
Needless to say, not many people wanted to take over the job. I left parking behind seven months ago and now enjoy working in the Keyworth Institute.
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