Convocation spotlight on…

Name: Jack Coghill, BMus/78
Position: Multimedia Technician
Department: School for Studies in Art and Culture

How long have you worked on Convocation?

My father, along with another piper and a drummer, played at the 1990 spring Convocation–the very first Convocation with pipers. My mother worked in Admissions Services, and Carleton folks knew that her husband was a piper, so he got the call.

I joined my dad at the 1990 Fall Convocation at the National Arts Centre. We played together for the next ten years or so, until he retired from playing Convocation. Since then, I have been calling on other pipers and drummers.

What is your function before or during Convocation and why is it important?

Piping for the processional and recessional in each ceremony. The music provided by the pipes helps to put a formal, and somewhat emotional “stamp” on the event–similar to a fanfare, or bell ringing.

The one occasion when there was no live music at Convocation was at the 1996 fall ceremony that included the installation of former president Richard Van Loon. Still feeling the effects of “Rae Days,” the Convocation budget was trimmed, including the live music! Because I was working in the Department of University Communications, I was given another role to play; I chauffeured the former chancellor Dr. Herzberg and his wife to the ceremony in a rented limo.

What is it about working on Convocation that inspires you?

First and foremost are the happy students who have successfully completed a major challenge in their lives. The event brings together family and friends and we musicians end up in lots of photo albums as families document the day. I know this first-hand; I am especially proud when I look at the photos of my wife Donna receiving a Senate Medal in 1996.

I am also always inspired by the Convocation address. Some of the memorable honorary grads I have had the pleasure to hear include Alanis Obamsawin, Lister Sinclair, Peter Ustinov, Dan Aykroyd, Peter Jennings and Celia Franca.

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