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15 December 2006

graduation week at a.n.u.

optimism reigned supreme all over a.n.u. during the past few days. it's graduation week. a number of friends and acquaintances returned to canberra to attend the ceremonies and receive their diplomas from university officials.

my friend ashwin raj says that graduation fever affects everyone in the university in a positive sort of way. there's something exhilarating about misty-eyed parents, siblings, other family members and friends taking snap shots of the graduates across the university. i got infected by the bug so i ended up taking pictures all over campus.

last wednesday, we had the annual graduation dinner at the university house. we got even more excited because romanian sorin daniluc (a direct descendant of count dracula-just kidding), uni house’s student-fellow for a number of years, had just submitted his phd dissertation. considering how faithfully sorin had defended the interests of students when he sat as student-fellow and as member of several university-wide committees (as representative of the a.n.u. postgraduate students association), it amazes me how sorin managed to complete his dissertation rather unscathed.

i was quite impressed with the master of ceremonies during this year’s graduation festivities. names of graduates (particularly the non-anglo ones) were pronounced correctly for a change. actually, i expected this because a member of the graduation committee had called me up days ago to help them pronounce the names of graduating students from the philippines. i can only imagine the amount of effort the committee exerted to make sure that all graduates are properly introduced as they walk onstage. they must have called dozens of other phd students to verify the pronunciation of foreign-sounding names.

by sheer coincidence, i caught topnotch ateneo/u.p. alumna, former diplomat, now canberra-based lawyer marlene agmata-tucker minutes before she formally received her master of laws diploma during the late afternoon ceremony. she brought along her husband michael and daughter marian. i was so happy for marlene because she has been working full-time as a lawyer for the federal government while attending to her postgraduate studies. she is also a hands-on wife/mother and core group member of the philippine studies group at a.n.u.'s department of political and social change. her energy is just amazing. now i am pushing her to go for a phd. after saying this, she nearly fainted.

compared to graduation ceremonies at the university of the philippines (u.p.), australian ceremonies tend to be more laidback and understated. back home, we have animated performances from graduates and their friends, particularly those who come from the arts and humanities courses. at a.n.u., i didn’t see theatre groups, political activists and pep squad members reigning over and stealing the limelight from the graduates. for instance, what makes graduation at u.p. diliman’s college of arts and letters (up cal) more colorful is that only god knows what will happen next. the element of surprise has become integral to up cal ceremonies. you can’t even afford to blink because there’s drama and comedy happening even along the fringes.

still, graduation at a.n.u. has its own charm. while it closely resembles ceremonies at oxford or cambridge, a.n.u. has a very strong representation of colored and aboriginal people crossing the finish line. many of these graduates come from emerging families and economies. “ivy league” universities in america and elsewhere can possibly learn a thing or two from australia’s national university.

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while dressing up minutes before graduation dinner

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high table led by professor john richards (university house master and dean/director of the a.n.u. college of engineering and computer science) and his wife glenda during graduation dinner at the great hall

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orange pudding dessert

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i was talking when one of my friends took this shot during coffee and tea at starbucks in civic immediately after we all had dinner

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(kingston) canberra-based dentist michael tucker, daughter marian and michael's filipina-australian lawyer-wife marlene agmata-tucker minutes before marlene got her LLM degree from a.n.u.

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australia is so laidback:
someone left the graduation rites wearing his academic gown on a bike

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view of telstra tower from a.n.u. campus during graduation

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along the university avenue: graduates here come from all shapes and races

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4 Comments:

Blogger Citizen of the World said...

Hi. Thanks for linking to my site (dylan gozum, under Identities). The link, however, goes to a blog that is not mine :-) My 1st time here. I hope you are well.

Dylan Gozum
Radioactive Adobo
+
Superpasyal

Wed Dec 20, 04:12:00 PM 2006  
Blogger wendell said...

dylan,

apologies! i interchanged your links with that of the person whose name came before you. holiday cheers!

w.

Wed Dec 20, 09:03:00 PM 2006  
Blogger GENIUS IS JUST ANOTHER MOUSE! said...

Wendell, de nada. My profuse appreciation for the gesture.

Maligayang Pasko mula sa Pilipinas! Mabuhay po kayo!

Thu Dec 21, 01:54:00 AM 2006  
Blogger wendell said...

thanks again for dropping by. happy holidays!

Thu Dec 21, 10:24:00 AM 2006  

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