Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Graduation of Aberystwyth Liberals

Yesterday was a lovely day. The afternoon was spent with Alyson on her birthday and a lovely meal in Aberaeron's Harbourmaster Hotel.

That followed the morning graduation ceremony in Aberystwyth's Great Hall where I sat on stage as Vice-Chair of Ceredigion County Council. It wasn't the first time that I've sat on the stage representing the local community but never have I known so many of those graduating in one ceremony as I did yesterday morning.

The Class of 2011
The author with graduates Tom Lister, Greg Foster
and Heather Lowe
Yesterday saw Amy Brown, Greg Foster, James Grove, Kevin Lennon, Tom Lister and Heather Lowe graduate from the Department of International Politics. They have all at one time or another been active with the Liberal Democrats in Ceredigion over recent years and I was absolutely chuffed to bits to see them graduate (and sitting on the stage, I actually saw their faces, which you don't see sitting in the congregation of students or family members!).

I then saw more liberals in Andy Cuthbert, John Wilson and Steffan John all receive their Masters from the Department and also Owain Phillips who I first met in a Lib Dem training session in Cardiff but who has now moved on to work for ITV Wales/S4C.

The ceremony can be seen here on the University's website -

The Class of 2003 & 2006
There's fewer better sensations that seeing the Great Hall in Aberystwyth full of excited and nervous students with their proud as punch parents and family members watching on from the galleries.

I have sat through the experience as a student on two occasions in that same hall. In 2003, I graduated in Modern History and Politics, just 5 weeks after the sudden death of my father and in 2006 I received my Masters in Modern History. On that latter occasion, I was an Aberystwyth Town Councillor and I made what in hindsight now was the daft decision of appearing on stage as a Town Councillor in my gown on the same day as I received my Masters. It seemed like a novel and rare opportunity to find myself on both sides of the ceremony on the same day. I can't recall whether I was a student in the morning and local authority representative in the afternoon or vice versa but either way, it was too much!

But it has all made me appreciate how magical the day is for the students but also for the family members who have in most cases, travelled far to see the pinnacle of their child's academic achievements.

The Future
Good luck to those who graduated yesterday and indeed all of those who graduate this week and especially to those names above who I have come to know over recent years and who I feel an odd kind of political paternalistic pride towards.

The future my friends, is yours.

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