1) Where have all the faculty gone?
When the faculty procession reaches the stage, we now go up a central set of stairs. In previous years, the faculty procession would turn left and go to the side of the stage and up a ramp. The pipers, who are in the lead, turn right and pipe the faculty to their places from the other side of the stage. One time, we entered the hall — pipers, marshall, faculty — and made our way to the stage. The pipers went right; I went left and assumed the faculty would follow. When I turned to go up the ramp and onto the stage there was no one behind me — they had all followed the pipers to the other side of the stage.
2) Stay out or go in…
Years ago, when some convocations were held outside, there was tense early morning ritual of deciding whether to do the ceremony “in or out”. I can remember a very anxious outdoor Convocation, when the thunder clouds began to loom over the Steacie Building and creep toward us. We sped up the students a little, cut some speeches short and just made it off the field as the rain hit.
3) Of course we will babysit…
Last last year we had a student, with two small children in tow, who arrived very late for her ceremony. She rushed up to one of the staff and said, “Here. Look after the children. I am going to get my diploma.” We love children — they are all potential students. So the whole team slipped into “special” mode. The student moved to the head of the line, the correct diploma was retrieved and delivered.
4) Have you ever had to use the Mace?
I have never used the mace to bop someone. There is a dent in the head of the mace so perhaps an earlier marshal did hit someone. There are only two previous Marshals of Convocation so the suspect list is short.
5) What is your favourite part of Convocation?
I most enjoy talking to the students just before they have their moment on stage. It is a very special moment for them and it is a privilege to share those few seconds with each one.