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Graduation 2012

Behind the Graduation scenes

10 July 2012

Graduation Week requires preparation and co-ordination right across the University’s Schools and administrative Divisions.  Below, we look at just a fraction of the work involved in making sure the ceremonies run smoothly.

Setting the stage

Graduation begins for the University’s Portering Team on the Friday before the ceremonies start.

The Team’s transit van is filled to the gunwales with 12 leather chairs for the presentation party, two lecterns, the University crest, banners, goody bags for graduates and programmes for the various ceremonies. On top of all that go around 20 ceremonial gowns and enough caps to fit every conceivable head size.

To complicate matters, all these items are kept in different parts of the University campus. The team has to round them all up and get them down to St David’s Hall.

Their duties resume at 7am on Monday morning, when they have three hours to set the stage for the first ceremony. No two ceremonies are the same, so the team have to re-set the stage, between each ceremony.

On Friday evening, the process is reversed. The set is quickly dismantled and loaded back into the transit for re-distribution around the University.

Beaming around the globe

For the Information Services Directorate’s graduation streaming team, graduation marks the culmination of a year of hard work, which will succeed or fail at the touch of a button.

Since 2004, the University’s graduation ceremonies from St David’s Hall in Cardiff have been broadcast live online, allowing families and friends to watch from anywhere in the world if they cannot attend.

Carol Leonard, Service Delivery Manager, explained: “We start preparing for the graduation ceremonies at the start of the academic year, with months of communication and development work. During this time, we liaise with our colleagues in Information Services and the wider University, as well as the external filming company and St David’s Hall staff, to ensure the streaming goes according to plan.”

During each ceremony, the team constantly monitors the sound and video inputs which form the basis of every video stream. The stream also appears live on the giant screen outside the Hall.

You can follow the graduation ceremonies live on-line from and clicking the webcast link.

Starting life-long relationships

For the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Division (DEVAR), Graduation represents a beginning – both with the new graduates and with the Honorary Fellows.

Soon after the University’s exam boards have finalised their results, details of this year’s graduates are passed on to DEVAR by the Registry Division.

The team then prepares a Graduation gift for each graduate and co-ordinate their distribution at the ceremonies. This year’s Cardiff Graduation gift includes a branded USB Card, with information about the Alumni Office’s services and marketing material with alumni benefits for all Cardiff graduates, along with a commemorative wristband.

Shortly after graduation, the team writes to all 6,500 past students – the class of 2012. They will receive a membership card and information regarding the interactive alumni website – The Cardiff Network, as well as details of the services which are available to students after they leave – such as the Graduate Employment Advice Centre.

DEVAR also run a variety of events for graduates in Cardiff, London and around the world to ensure that Cardiff alumni can network and keep in touch with each other wherever they live.