So, at last the day dawned which was the primary reason for our making a trip to the UK at this time of year. After three years of study, finishing in April when he handed in his final assignments, yesterday was the official date of graduation.
Being an organised sort of person, Tim had his suit cleaned and collected the day before, ironed his shirt, and was ready in plenty of time:
Newman University does not have a large hall for graduation, so they rent the Birmingham Symphony Hall for these occasions. It's not a very large university, but is considered one of the best for education-related degrees and teacher training, and has sufficient graduating students that even with the size of Symphony Hall, there were two ceremonies during the day. Ours was in the morning.
So after registrating and sorting out various other things, Tim dressed up in the robes he was renting (at great cost) for the day:
A nice security guard took this photo of us with him:
We were sitting on what's called Level Five of Symphony Hall, so had a good view of the building which we had never been in before (although Tim has been to a few concerts there, including some in which he sung and one in which he played their grand piano).
For twenty minutes or so before the ceremony started, there was an organ recital - doors closed to incoming visitors at 11.15 and the official proceedings began at 11.30, with various important guests and bigwigs processing in, and taking their seats at the front:
The students were all sitting in their robes (but without the hats) in a block in the centre, and after some careful study we did manage to locate Tim, who is right in the middle of this picture, at the end of a row holding the green folder we were all given with the order of service and general information about Newman:
There were various short speeches by different people, and then the actual graduation part where each student walked across the stage to shake hands and receive their certificates was fairly rapid - about ten seconds each, I suppose. This was Tim's moment:
Here he is at the point at which he shook hands and magically became a BA:
The whole thing took a little over an hour and a half, ending with a prayer and then a lengthy procession of dignitaries followed by students. Tim had decided that he did not want to pay (and queue) for official photos, so Richard took some instead, and we were quite pleased with this one:
We did some more photos afterwards, then - to our surprise and delight - bumped into an old friend, who was headmaster at the primary school which Daniel and Tim attended before we moved to Cyprus. So we chatted and caught up with him for a few minutes.
By this stage we were feeling quite hungry; Newman does not provide refreshments (unlike some universities) so we had arranged to go out to lunch with the family - six of us staying here currently - at a local pub/carvery. With the crowds and traffic, and a few minutes when we couldn't even move the car, it was 2.30pm by the time we sat down to eat. Far too late by my body clock, but we had a good meal.
So, it's been quite a year for us seeing Daniel and Becky getting married, and now Tim graduating.