matriculation

Today was matriculation day for Oxford and all over town scholars showed their true colors. Students at each college participate in official matriculation ceremonies held downtown at the Examination Schools, and attendance is obligatory. So is the dress code. As I promised, here is Alex subfusc:

We made a little error here. Because the good ol’ mortar board is a required element of dress for everyone, he naturally put it on his head. He mentioned that people were staring at him a bit strangely on the bus on the way down to college, but he wasn’t sure why. Later, he discovered the reason. No one is allowed to wear the mortar board until after graduating. You can even be fined for such a thing in Oxford! Apparently the cap is only an accessory that one carries, like the prayer book in old-fashioned weddings. As Alex says, The Things They Don’t Tell You.

Norah, Goat, and I were very proud of him. 

The first thing was an official photograph of all matriculating Kebleians on the college quad at 10:40 a.m. sharp. Things came off rather punctually, either because this is England or because this is probably the only time the students will ever be allowed on the grass. Alex told me the best part was when the crowd of incoming undergraduate and graduate students were instructed to queue up according to height. I remember doing this activity with second graders. They were surprisingly good at it. I hear it proved a bit of a challenge for these Oxford scholars. 

Can anyone spot Alex in this picture?

Norah and I came at the end to have a picnic lunch with Daddy before the processional. 

At 1:15 Alex had to return to the Keble College chapel. Due, no doubt, to the top-secret nature of the ancient ceremonies, matriculation is not open to the public so I was not invited. Norah and I took the bus home for naps.

In the chapel the Warden gave a short speech about the history of Keble and the Dean of Degrees read a roll call of names. Then the students queued up to walk in a processional across town, down High Street to the Examination Schools for the ceremony. Alex told me that the ceremony consisted of the Vice Chancellor of Oxford University speaking three or four lines of Latin and then giving a short speech about Oxford’s history and the process of matriculation. He then declared the scholars to be members of the University.

And so it begins.

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6 Responses to matriculation

  1. What a precious thing it is for us….to see the Lord’s “moving” you
    along in the process of preparing for a life of scholarship, teaching,
    writing and serving the church and the Lord we love.
    It is not the easiest of lives for so many reasons
    – but just as in each of our callings/ there are some very very
    “high” points and fun along the way. You’ve got to love a “real” university
    with all its pomp and BOWTIES. We wish you wonderful memories in
    these years of ‘incredible work and dividing the labor’ and enough joy
    and courage to make it worth what it will cost. In the end we just want
    to hear “well done” – we feel quite certain that that is exactly what you
    will hear. All the best your 3 almost 4!

  2. therigneys says:

    Fourth row up, 3rd from the right. However, my eyes couldn’t help but go directly to the maroon-head in the crowd!

    I love that Alex looks half scholar-half fancy waiter in his attire! Way to go Goat for making the pictures! Norah wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m sure!

    Also, try and say “matriculating Kebleians” five times really fast!

    We are so proud of Alex! I will have to show Joe this post! Love you guys!

  3. Elena says:

    I have to say, I was secretly hoping the outfit would be a quite a bit more ridiculous-looking, but Alex looked quite dashing!

  4. Miriam Boone says:

    I love that you’ve switched over to saying queued up instead of lined up 🙂

  5. Haley says:

    Found him!

    Also: that’s so strange that no “outsiders” are allowed to attend the matriculation ceremony. Was Alex sworn to secrecy about it, too?

    • Nope, they let him spill the beans. (Unless he was brainwashed into SAYING there were Latin phrases and speeches but really some very different and mysterious rituals took place…Come to think of it, he did come home with a new tattoo…)

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