Today was the Henley Graduation ceremony, which is probably the 11th one I have attended (including my own). There are always two ceremonies, though the timings have been moved in such a way that somehow everyone turning up for the second ceremony got to munching the sandwiches and finger food for those still attending the first one.
The whole of Henley is turned over to the graduation when it happens, and rooms normally set aside for teaching or group work find themselves hosting gownings, photographs, impromptu reunions, creches and myriad other activities that only make sense at Graduation. It really is nice to see everyone enjoying themselves, and family and friends taking in some of the atmosphere of the place. This year Chris Bones remembered to get those graduating to stand and applaud their families, which was really good.
Ironically, since I am no longer the Programme Director and get to sit at the back on the stage, not the front, this was probably the first graduation where I have known big chunks of the graduating members from start to finish on the MBA. Nice to see Ginette Luxford, who has run our MBA in New Zealand for some time, actually picking up hers (at last!!), and great to see two members who are serving RAF officers in full dress uniform, gongs and swords for the day.
The Vice-Chancellor made a good speech, well delivered, I thought. His final message “Be bold and make a difference” was couched in terms which were uplifting.