Durham University Graduates formally received their degrees in absentia this week, after formal ceremonies were postponed until the summer of 2022. The university recorded a video to mark the occasion which can be found here.
In an email, Vice-Chancellor and Warden Stuart Corbridge told graduating students: “During a year as unprecedented as this one, your achievements are a testament to your hard work and dedication”.
The Vice-Chancellor emphasised that the online ceremony “is not replacing the summer ceremonies. All graduates who indicated a wish to be invited to a rescheduled ceremony during the Congregation & Parchment registration process will receive further information via email in due course.”
“In the meantime, we extend a heartfelt congratulations to you and wish you well in your future endeavours.”
In the video, Professor Alan Houston, Vice-Provost (Education) said “Ordinarily, Congregation occurs in Durham Cathedral. The pandemic has made that impossible this year, but nothing can take away from the significance of this moment. We are just incredibly proud of the achievements of each of our graduating students”.
Chancellor Sir Tom Allen told graduates: “I’m speaking to you from a room in my house, using the tiny lens of a mobile telephone. It’s a rather pathetic and sad substitute for what should have been on this occasion. I refer of course to the week of celebration at Durham: the donning of robs, the gathering of family and friends, a great day of celebration; what is arguably the most important day in your life so far. You’ve been denied all of that: the wonderful joyous and happy moment of sharing it all with family, friends on Palace Green, a joyous, wonderful day that might never be replaced.
“We need to make amends for that if we possibly can. Rest assured, Durham is on the case.”
He added that “This pandemic has been a most frightful time for all of us. But things will have been learnt, positive things will have been learnt, and we need to bear that in mind.
“Durham stays with you, it will be there in your blood, in your feelings, in your experience, and it should be there.”
Sir Allen ended by emphasising that “This world will need kindness almost more than we have ever known in the past. Be kind. Have a wonderful life, enjoy your journey forward, and stay well.”
Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge: “I know that you’ll all want to thank your family members and friends for the support you’ve received this year. I know that you’d like to thank all the members of the Durham community, staff, Professional Services, the Student Union and the colleges; even if you haven’t been able to get to this country and have had the help online, and you will know therefore that you are part of a very special community.
“You can be very proud of all that you’ve achieved in very difficult times. Things will get better, but you will take with you the fundamentals of living in a time that sharpens your sense of what it is to lead an examined life. So, many congratulations, go well, and stay in touch with your University”.
In-person congregation ceremonies are planned to take place between Monday 28th March and Friday 1st April 2022. Additional dates around the Summer ceremonies are scheduled to take place at the end of June to early July 2022.
Image: International Office, Durham University