latine loquendi in Sheldonian

 If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d ever be speaking Latin in the Sheldonian in front of the Vice Chancellor and assembled crowds, I’d have deemed it unlikely.

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.

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