Why is graduation held from the Nuffield Theatre and Turner Sims on campus? Many other unis graduate from beautiful buildings in their city (eg solent graduate from guildhall, and WSA graduate from the cathedral). It is frustrating to end many years of hard work with a quick ceremony that lacks the same sense of occasion.
Thanks for getting in touch. I've spoken to the Graduation Team over at the University about this, and their full response can be found below:
"I do regularly review the venues for our ceremonies but so far I haven’t been able to find any suitable alternatives. There are a number of advantages to having them on site: the gardens are absolutely beautiful thanks to the work of the maintenance teams, we can offer receptions and group photos directly after the ceremonies in nearby areas and we offer an efficient park and ride service. It also means the ceremonies, although formal, are quite short, which means most guests and graduands don’t have to stay overnight and incur extra costs: there’s time to travel to and from the ceremony and home. The disadvantages are that some larger cohorts have to be split over more than one ceremony, and the venues do tend to get pretty hot in the summer.
I’ve looked at the Guildhall and the Mayflower in the city: the Guildhall has (in my opinion) particularly poor accessibility for graduands and their guests, the temperature control is worse than our onsite venues, and there is little or no parking apart from West Quay which is a pretty long trek to Guildhall Square, especially if the weather is poor. There’s also limited space for robing and photography and not really anywhere for graduands and guests to gather if it’s wet, nor an area for guests who are unable to gain access to the ceremony anywhere to sit and watch the live stream. The Mayflower has all the same problems but more so! It’s very steep and has limited accessibility. I’ve also looked at St Mary’s football stadium but, unless they allow us to set up a stage on the pitch, they haven’t got a big enough space. The same applies to Ageas Bowl.
I am however actively looking at Winchester Cathedral and will continue to try and source other suitable venues – for instance, if the Guildhall was refurbished I’d be happy to look at it again.
Given the venues we use, we do make every attempt to make every ceremony as memorable as possible. Southampton has formal ceremonies, with a full academic platform and, in the Turner Sims, an organist to play the audience and platform in and out. I’m happy to listen to any ideas from students as to how we can continue to improve them to make the ceremonies and receptions even better – I can’t say I can deliver on every suggestion but I’m happy to look at them."
Hopefully that answers your question - don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!
All the best,
Samuel Dedman (VP Education 2017/18, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monday 4th Jun 2018 10:28am