Learn and Live *
An uplifting day.
It was the ceremony for Open University students who chose to graduate in Scotland. When I worked for the OU graduation was always a highlight of my year. Today I was able to participate again and not only be part of the academic procession but also a guest of the Scottish Director. This means being part of the lunch party. My blip is taken from the room in the Concert Hall where we had our lunch, looking down Buchanan Street.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to attend OU graduation ceremonies at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, the Barbican in London and, unforgettably, in 2009 the Town Hall in Lerwick. Today’s ceremony was in the venue I think best suited to the occasion – the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. The Concert Hall is grand enough to be special but relaxed enough to suit what are always joyous celebrations. Though you always need a hanky up your sleeve. The acoustic is perfect. There’s lots of space for informal milling around and plenty of good places for students and their families to go for a meal afterwards.
This is probably the last OU graduation I’ll attend. I wanted to participate in the 50th anniversary year but the number of graduands with whom I had a personal connection is now very small. Not that that really matters but it adds to the occasion when you know a student and his or her back story. OU students are so dedicated to their studies and deserve all the celebration on offer. I was happy to see a few I'd known cross the stage today.
There were three honorary graduates. This morning's, the author Louise Welsh, said something I found so apt. At lunch I asked if I could repeat what she had said. She kindly agreed. I'm not sure I've got it verbatim but it was along the lines of recognising and capturing joy when you see it. She was looking out over the sea of graduates, their families, friends, employers and whoever else was there to cheer them on and recognised a lot of joy in the auditorium. In an increasingly fractured and difficult time (ie here and now) spotting and holding on to joy is vital.
I'm now on my way home feeling very joyful. I had a really good day, saw lots of friends and former colleagues, enjoyed my lunch and it's Friday.
Wishing you all a good and joyful weekend.
* The motto of the Open University