Off-topic: Graduation Day!
July 21, 2009
I hesitate to inflict these images on SV-POW! readers, but I have to post them somewhere if only so I can point my family to them; and who knows, maybe some of the rest of you will enjoy the amusing hat.
Last Friday (17th July), I drove down to Portsmouth, with my wife Fiona, to graduate — the consummation of my Ph.D programme. I’d expected to be issued with a sober black robe and one of those hats with a flat square on top, but I was unprepared for just how silly the kit would turn out to be:
In fact, I looked less like a palaeontologist and more like a member of the Spanish Inquisition. Which, I’m sure I need not point out, was the last thing I’d expected.
My supervisor Dave Martill was there for the ceremony, also dressed up as a silly person; and Darren came along in civvies to say hello before the show, and to meet up afterwards at the reception at the Department:
Also present and graduating was Portsmouth pterosaur maven Mark Witton, but I don’t have a picture of him in regalia, as he turned up too late to have his photo taken — wise man.
As I sat through the very, very long ceremony — if you’ve never listened through a list of 600 names being read out and watched 600 people walk up on stage and shake hands with the pro vice chancellor, you don’t know the meaning of the word “party” — I became bored enough to read the programme cover to cover, and so I discovered that photography during the ceremony is strictly forbidden. Fiona, however, did not realise this, and so I am able to show you this actual photograph of me caught in the act of graduating:
We doctoral graduands got special treatment: not only did we shake hands with the pro vice chancellor — as though this were not thrill enough — but we also had the titles of our dissertations read out. As mine sounds rather vague (“Aspects of the history, anatomy, taxonomy and palaeobiology of sauropod dinosaurs”) I was left wishing that I’d stuck with my original title.
After the ceremony it was back to the department for nibbles and also to — finally! — pick up the printed-and-bound copies of my dissertation, which until then I’d not seen in the flesh. Apart from the two mandatory copies (for the University and Department libraries), I had four printed — one each for me, Dave, Darren and Matt. Those of you not fortunate enough to have received one of the printed copies can assuage your lust for my dissertation by buying it in mug form:
I’m not quite sure what made me think this would be a cool thing to do, but anyway I did it, and this is now my first-choice mug as I make my way through the numerous cups of tea that, as an Englishman, I am obliged to drink each day. (And yes, you really can buy one of your very own.)
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