Saturday 27th February 2010, an early start ensured a timely arrival at Buckingham for the graduation ceremony. My girlfriend, children and I were looking forward to the day ahead. Weather was not too bad as we spent nearly two hours in the car on the journey to Buckingham.
On arriving at Buckingham, we parked at Chandros Road. Shortly afterwards Dr Julian Richards arrived and after introducing Hils, David and Deanna, we headed for the Anthony de Rothschild Building to ‘sign-in’. Next thing to do was to collect my academic dress for the ceremony, this led to my daughter’s first fit of the ‘giggles’ — but she did say the gown and mortar board suited me.
Next on the agenda were the all important studio photographs. The Mason Building was a hive of activity, graduates from the morning session were getting their pictures taken, and the early birds — like me – were getting the pictures done before the afternoon ceremony.
Graduation Day: Family Portrait
With the photographic session completed, we went back to the Anthony de Rothschild Building, where we met up with Peter Smith and his family – it was good to see Peter’s daughter had the same reaction as Deanna when she saw her dad in his robes!
With the rain beginning to fall, it was time to head up to the Parish Church of St
Peter & St Paul in Buckingham, families and guests headed to the west door, whilst graduands went in via the tower door and were shown to our seats.
The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul – Buckingham
Once all graduands and guests were correctly seated, we waited for the ceremony to begin. Everyone rose as the Academic Procession entered the nave and took to their seats. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Terence Kealey, MA (Cantab), DPhil (Oxon) opened the ceremony with a welcoming address. Then one by one, each graduand was presented to the Chancellor, Sir Martin Jacomb. I stood behind Peter awaiting my turn, and finally my name was called out and I stepped up onto the platform and shook hands with the Chancellor. It was a great feeling, I was so proud to be there after completing my degree, especially as I had my girlfriend, children, Anthony and Julian present witnessing the greatest academic achievement of my career.
Peter Smith and Karl Webb with graduands awaiting the Academic Procession
I then walked down the centre of the church to the marshals, who I was told to follow their instructions as I was to return to the platform to collect the Hologerie Kandahar prize for outstanding achievement in the School of Humanities. Unfortunately I was given conflicting instructions by two marshals; I had to let them know I thought my name had been called out, by which time we were asked by another marshall if I had ‘signed-in’. Quickly, I was ushered to the platform to receive my prize from Professor Martin Ricketts, BA, DPhil, who was relieved that I was present after all!
Once all graduands had been presented to the Chancellor, he then conferred degrees in absentia to those unable to attend the ceremony – which included Aimi Griffiths who passed her degree with a distinction. The rest of the ceremony continued without any delays, it ended with the academic procession, including the new Graduates of the University, parading out of the church.
Outside the church I was able to introduce Hils and my children to Anthony. We then went to the marquee on Beloff lawn where an excellent reception was hosted by the university. During the reception we were seated with Anthony and Julian – we had temporarily ‘lost’ Peter and his family. We discussed the course and future plans for BUCSIS; I also had a long conversation with Professor Ricketts about the course and my next goal of having articles ‘published’ with professional journals.
David and Deanna were delighted to try the sugar cane that Anthony recommended, my daughter had a few more fits of giggles, she thinks the ‘Professor is mad’; he certainly made an impression on her!
After Peter and his family joined us at the table we decided it was time for some public relations. Stepping outside, we asked my son to take a historical photograph of Professor Anthony Glees, Dr Julian Richards and of course Mr Peter Smith MA and Mr Karl Webb MA — the first graduates of BUCSIS.
Professor Anthony Glees, Peter Smith MA, Karl Webb MA, and Dr Julian Richards
Academic Staff and the first Graduates of BUCSIS
All in all, a day that I shall always remember, hopefully this will not be my last graduation, but for now, I will continue supporting BUCSIS wherever and whenever I can. I had some concerns at the beginning of this course, but by putting in 110% effort, reading all the homework and keeping on top of my assignments, I am proud of my achievement and in maintaining a standard expected of a BUCSIS graduate.
Of course, as an endnote I must thank Professor Glees, Dr Richards, my fellow students, family and employers. This course relies on everyone working together, without the nurturing from the staff and the cooperation of our students; I would have found this a steep ladder to climb. My girlfriend and children put up with me being on the laptop every night, and gave me space when I needed to read my homework. My boss authorised my request to start the course, and released me from work so I could attend the lessons and conferences. All of these things enabled me to be successful in achieving my Masters Degree, for that I thank you all.