Plan your finish, or your finish is planned ; An overview of the 800-years old graduation ceremony at the University of Oxford.

1043983_10201523897803109_2012730630_nI am a big believer in finishing what I start, and so June 22, 2013, so having matriculated in Oxford back in October 2011,  I headed back to the city of dreaming spires to partake in the 800-year tradition of an Oxford graduation.

Below is my feeble attempt to capture the amazing event in a few words and pictures.

Wearing this attire -the advanced student gown-in Oxford could mean any of several things: from matriculation, to taking an exam, to attending a formal dinner, to going for a ball, to preparing for graduation.

In my case, it’s preparing for graduation. Being my fourth graduation (I know right), I thought had gotten the hang of the ceremony, but Oxford is in a world of its own.

You show up at your college wearing the advanced student gown, and after a brief talk (during which you have to remove your hood)regarding the very  loooong history of the graduation ceremony , you are handed a bag containing your graduation gown which you are forbidden to wear as you have not graduated yet.

hired gown befre cege alumni welcome

In true English fashion, there is a breakfast of tea and scones, and then you begin the long procession to the Sheldonian theatre.

Of course, it’s not an Oxford graduation unless it rains!

oxford rain

You enter through the Bodleian Library and Divinity School ( where the hospital scene in one of the Harry Porter’s movies was filmed).

real divinity photo(33) divinity

There is a pre-talk by the Vice-Chancellor in English (thankfully explaining what the program will be like.

After much invocation  in Latin( the whole conferment ceremony is conducted in Latin, but the students no longer have to say that much in Latin, thank God)

cnvcatin rm inside sheldonian real divinity

There is a lot of bowing from the waist and curtsying after which the dean says some stuff in Latin which no-one understands, and pleads with the Vice Chancellor who then asks in Latin -Do you swear to uphold the principles of the university of Oxford-to which we reply in Latin-
Do fidum- Yes I swear.

istening t vc

At this point, the VC approves the graduation , then realizes we are not properly attired as graduates and then sends us out for the cloth changing ritual.

We go back into the convocation room ( which is where Nelson Mandela received his honorary doctorate) and replace our advanced student gown with the colorful graduate gown

convocation rms changed t gwn 1014134_10201524946069315_1620397932_n

Then there is more bowing, curtsying and Latin before the ceremony is finally over and we officially become Oxonians!

with cert at cege utside divinity trinity radcliffe entrance divinity certfrom resident cert bycicle bridge 1017101_10201524943829259_834911172_n 1016619_10201524942149217_767709408_n 1006184_10201524942349222_1221512716_n

You can read more about the history of the ceremony here.



About Idris Ayodeji Bello

Afropreneur & Partner, LoftyInc Ltd (Operators of the Wennovation Hub) Leading expert in deploying technology and innovation to drive public sector reforms and enabling good governance. Passionate about bringing about positive change in Africa through innovation and entrepreneurship!
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