5 Jul 2010


My younger brother John graduated today from the University of Ulster, at the Magee campus.  It felt very strange to be at the graduation ceremony with my folks; the last graduation I was at was my own, back in 2005.  Actually, the  two ceremonies were separated by exactly 5 years; it feels considerably longer.

The ceremony was graced with the presence of James Nesbitt, the UUC’s new Chancellor, who had the right mix of gravitas and humour.  An honorary doctorate was awarded to Colin Bateman, a local crime fiction author.  I’ve never been a fan of his books, but his acceptance speech was quite humorous.  There was a lovely moment when a degree was awarded to the parents of a student who sadly passed away before graduating, and the entire assembly rose to give them a standing ovation.  I actually really enjoyed being there, and I’m very glad my brother invited me.

Today’s ceremony in Derry was in direct contrast to my own graduation at QUB.  The ceremony there came across as very smug, and was incredibly tedious.  Some nobody from industry I had had never heard off before, and have never heard of since, was awarded an honorary degree, and he preceded to bore us to death in his acceptance speech (think Father Ted acceptance’s speech on winning the Golden Cleric…).  People who graduate from QUB have the nasty habit of looking down on anyone who went to to UU; after speaking to some of my brother’s friends today, and hearing about some of the work going on at the UU, I can’t see why.

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