The university of life may do alot of things but it doesn’t make you a Doctor or give you a degree. Here I am a few hundred miles away from home at The University of Huddersfield to receive an Honorary award and become a Doctor of Letters.
From the main part of the university attached to St Pauls Chapel where the graduation ceremony takes place I walk down a covered alley of billowing white silk. It’s like entering a dream where I am fitted with a gown and hat for the occasion and ushered into the side of the Chapel. There resplendent and beaming is The director for the centre of applied childhood studies professor Adele Jones “you were made for it” she says as her dreadlocks cascade onto her professorial gown like black fuses.
In a flurry the chancellor arrives. It’s Patrick Stewart (he of X Men and Star Trek). The last time we shared a stage was in a theatre in the West End at an event called Cries From The Heart. The carrier of the Mace enters holding the golden symbol and leads the procession of university heads to the stage passing the relatives and loved ones and the students graduating today. Once seated awards are presented to each student and all are applauded as they receive their award. And then professor Adele Jones begins a speech
about me and I am stood upon stage while she speaks facing the audience and fighting back the tears.
At some point in the occasion, maybe it was after The Chancellor officially gave me the award or After Professor Adele Jones finished her speech or after I had finished mine, I’m not sure when but someone clapped and then someone else until the ceremony filled with applause then one person stood up and one another until the entire graduation ceremony was standing and applauding. I couldn’t have done any of this without The Journalist who is applauding and laughing.