On Saturday however, due to some quirks of ‘seniority’ which make Oxford the unique place that it is, I was the Dean of Degrees responsible for offering a group of 25 graduands to the VC.
Having copied out my Latin on Friday, I attempted to memorize it but eventually decided to go with the old ‘writing-it-on-a-card and sticking-it-inside-your-mortar-board’ trick. I am not the only Dean employing that method ( although those who don’t, display the insides of their hats with pride).
Nervously I sat down next to the Deans of Merton and Lincoln who very kindly asked me if I was prepared. The Dean of Merton then reached into his pocket, took out a pen and corrected my hat.
Lucky escape. I apparently had the singular rather than the plural and would have been a Latin laughing stock with so many students behind me.