The Ceremony

11 December 2018

The Conferring of Awards ceremony begins with an academic procession that honours graduating students, as it moves from the back of Llewellyn Hall to the stage.

The procession is in two parts.

The first is led by two Deputy Marshals (carrying staves) and they are followed by academic and professional staff of the University.

The second part, the Chancellor's Procession, is led by the University Marshal and two Deputy Marshals. This procession includes members of the University's Council, the Registrar, Deans and Directors of ANU Colleges, Directors of Schools and Research Schools, the Chair of the Emeritus Faculty, the University Librarian, the Master of University House, the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Pro Vice-Chancellors, Heads of Residential Colleges and Halls of Residence, honorary graduands, special guests, the graduating student speaker and the guest speaker. The Esquire Bedel, carrying the silver mace, leads the Vice-Chancellor, followed by the Pro-Chancellor and the Chancellor. At the end of the ceremony, the Chancellor leads the procession from the Hall.

Graduates are individually presented to the Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor to receive a Testamur that certifies the award from which they have graduated. Testamur is a Latin word which literally means "We certify", and was traditionally the first word written on the Certificate. Candidates for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy and higher doctorates are presented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) and will kneel before the Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor to have a hood placed over their shoulders. Presented by the Dean; Master and other Graduate students are presented next with Bachelor graduates being last. The Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor also presents University Medals to the graduates to whom they have been awarded. If there is an honorary doctorate, the candidate is presented by the Vice-Chancellor to the Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor.

Presentation of graduates is followed by staff awards and addresses by a graduating student and the Guest Speaker. There is a musical interlude roughly half way through the ceremony. Finally, the Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor closes the ceremony and the Academic Procession leaves the Hall.

Ceremonial objects

The silver mace, which is the symbol of the Vice-Chancellor's authority, was presented to ANU by the University of Oxford in 1951. It is a replica of the original Oxford mace, made in gold by Benjamin Pyne, the 18th century goldsmith. The mace is carried before the Vice-Chancellor by the Esquire Bedel. The larger end of the mace is carried uppermost in the presence of the Chancellor.

The Chancellor's chair, kneeling stool, mace stand and Marshals' staves were designed and made by George Ingham from the Wood Workshop in the Canberra School of Art, now part of ANU. They feature the University arms, pierced through a polished metal background and a composite structure of timber components. The staves of casuarina torulosa carried by the Marshal and two Deputy Marshals are split at the top to form clips that hold polished stainless steel disks which are pierced with a stylised image of the University arms.

Ceremonial dress

Traditional academic dress is worn at The Australian National University on ceremonial occasions and at formal events in the halls and residential colleges. The wide range of styles and colours of the academic dress worn by staff at ANU reflects the international character of the University.

Academic dress has been influenced by the fashions of everyday attire since the founding of the first European universities in Bologna, Paris and Oxford. Today's dress, consisting of a gown, hood, cap or bonnet, arose out of the lay costume of the early Middle Ages. As academics at the early universities were mostly in religious orders, the garb they wore became the traditional dress for academics.

ANU academic dress is based on the styles worn at Oxford, Cambridge and the University of London. Different styles of gowns and formation of hoods indicate the Degrees of Bachelor, Master and Doctor. The colour of the hood for Bachelor and Master Degrees indicates the ANU Academic College where the award was undertaken. Bachelor hoods have a narrow band of colour; Master hoods are fully lined with colour. Both wear black trencher caps (also known as mortarboards). ANU Doctors of Philosophy wear a black gown faced with blue corded silk, a hood of blue corded silk lined with the same silk, and a black velvet bonnet with blue cord and tassel.

The Chancellor wears a gown of black damask-figured silk trimmed with gold lace and a round black velvet bonnet trimmed with gold lace with a gold cord and tassel. The Pro-Chancellor's gown and bonnet are similar to those of the Chancellor but are trimmed with silver lace and the The Vice-Chancellor's gown is made of black damask silk trimmed with gold lace and a round black velvet bonnet with a gold cord and tassel. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor's academic dress is identical to that of the Vice-Chancellor except that it is trimmed with silver. Other senior staff wear the academic dress for the highest degree they hold. The University Marshal's gown is blue and is faced with gold corded silk and a bonnet trimmed with blue and gold. Deputy Marshals wear similar gowns and bonnets to that of the Marshal, but the gowns do not have collars or lining.

The Esquire Bedel, whose ancient ceremonial role is to protect the Vice-Chancellor, wears a black gown of damask-figured silk trimmed with gold and a black bonnet trimmed with gold, and carries the University Mace. Professors in the University and special guests who do not have their own academic dress wear a black gown with silver facings and bell-shaped silver sleeves and a black bonnet. University Council members other than graduates wear a black Master's gown with silver facings embroidered with the University arms and a black bonnet. Academic staff wear either their own academic dress or a black Master's gown with blue facings and a black bonnet. Professional staff without their own academic dress wear a black undergraduate gown with a black cap. If a person has more than one degree, the dress of the senior degree is worn.