Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

Yesterday was Graduation Day for our students - undergraduates, and postgraduates including PhD students. The undergraduates have only recently completed their studies, taking final examinations in May. But the Masters students finished their taught courses last year, then worked on their dissertations until September. So, apart from the two of them who started PhDs with us we haven't seen them since September (or in some cases since before then) so it was nice to see them, and in some cases their parents too.

It is always great to see students on Graduation Day, dressed up in suits and posh dresses. Some of them are unrecognisable at first glance having spent most of their student days appearing before you in t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. And it can be painfully funny watching the girls tottering along the cobbled streets in their high-heels .

This year it was very hot in the hall. I'm told that it was the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures outside reaching nearly 34 degrees. It seemed much hotter inside despite the air conditioning, but then we were also in suits and gowns. A couple of staff had to leave during the ceremony as they were feeling unwell.

Victor Crispin was there for his last ever Graduation Day. During his speech, which thankfully was shorter than usual, he talked about the fact that he would be retiring, and said that the university, like all the graduates, was well prepared for the future. That was his theme.

There was just one Honorary Degree awarded yesterday, to a member of the local NHS Trust who had also been involved in nurse training with the university, as well as a lot of local charity work. Well deserved I think. So no celeb sportsmen or entertainers this year!

After the ceremony we went for a buffet lunch and for the presentation of the prizes. It has been a bumper year again with more Firsts and Upper Seconds than ever before. Simon Smart was there to handover the newly renamed and now rather more generous award for the best final year performance. He also took the opportunity to chat to all the prize winning students as he is looking to offer jobs to some of them.

The university photographer seemed to take an age while taking pictures of all the prize winners. The room we were in seemed to have very ineffective air-conditioning and after several glasses of champagne I was getting very sleepy. So it was a relief to get outside even if it was hot and very still there too.

The Graduation Ceremony kind of marks the official end to the academic year, although we still have his year's Masters and PhD students to supervise through the summer. That reminds me, I must make some appointments with the Masters students I am supervising for next week or things will get behind schedule.

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