A degree ceremony at University is a special day for all Students, their Tutors and their families and Oxford is no different. However, some of the Oxford traditions dating back to the twelfth century make the occasion extra special, including the fact that the whole proceedings are conducted in Latin!
The ceremony is held in the Sheldonian Theatre, an exquisite building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1669. It has been used for centuries to host matriculation (formal admission to the University), graduation ceremonies (confirmation of a degree), Encaenia (honorary degree presentations), Congregation (gathered for worship) and classical music concerts.
For the occasion, Students are required to wear full academic dress, including mortar board, their preferred sub fusc (dark suit/skirt, white collared shirt/blouse & black shoes) and their gown.
During the ceremony the students are presented with their degree certificate and they change into the robes (and hood) of their new degree, where different hood colours indicate the significance the degree received.
This year’s ceremony was blessed with excellent weather and the spectating tourists were thrilled to see the procession following the ceremony. The Vice-Chancellor, Bedels & Proctors & Registrar leave the Sheldonian, walk through the Clarendon Quad lined by the Graduates and walk into the Clarendon Building. Proud parents then exit the building searching for their sons & daughters, congratulating them with hugs & kisses & posing for the many photo’s. I did hear one Graduate say that they only went through the ceremony for their parents sake, but I am sure in years to come they will remember the occasion with great pride.
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