Today marks the last day of summer graduation. Over the past week (from Wednesday 15 July to Thursday 23 July) this year’s award ceremonies have been taking place in the Turner Sims Concert Hall and the Nuffield Theatre.
After years of hard work, a total of around 5,000 students have donned the hat and robe to receive certificates confirming the completion of their studies. In addition, honorary degrees have been awarded to seven leading figures in business, chemistry, engineering, Jewish history, maritime and poetry, with fellowships awarded to World War II poet, Captain Dennis Wilson from Southampton, and Southampton graduate Professor Andrew Bell, Chief Technical Officer for Defence Science and Technical Laboratory (DSTL).
From modest beginnings, offering a mixture of public lectures on a range of subjects and evening classes in French and chemistry for residents of Southampton, the University has grown into a multi-disciplinary, internationally renowned institution of the twenty-first century, with degrees awarded in a range of subjects from the Faculties of Business and Law, Physical Sciences and Engineering, Medicine, Health Sciences, Humanities, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, and Engineering and the Environment.
The University’s 150 year history has also seen the development of many traditions and the inheritance of a number of legacies. One of the visible legacies, resulting from the incorporation of the activities of the Southampton School of Art into the Hartley Institution in 1867, is “Kelly” the skeleton. “Kelly” was purchased by Mr Dodds, Principal of Art, in France in 1886, and can be seen in photographs with students and staff at graduation ceremonies and other events from the subsequent decades (see above). University photographs also show a much more formal style of dress for students in the early days of the institution, with caps and gowns not only worn during graduation ceremonies, but also required for lectures and for sitting examinations.
Graduation is a special occasion for students. For many it will mark the end of their time at university, a period where many lifelong friendships and relationships are formed. This year’s award ceremonies offered particular testament to the close bonds that can be made:
With their lectures and examinations now behind them, we would like to remind recent graduates that, while they may no longer be studying at Southampton, there are lots way ways for them to remain in touch as part of a global community of over 200,000 alumni. Most importantly, however, we would like to offer our congratulations to all of this year’s graduates and wish them the very best in their future careers!