Last Saturday our daughter Nina graduated in her Masters degree in Education at The Senate House, Cambridge. Nina on the lawn of The Senate House:
The Senate House of the University of Cambridge in the centre of the city is used mainly for degree ceremonies and formerly for meetings of the Council of the Senate. It was designed by Sir James Burrell and built in 1722–1730 by architect James Gibbs in a neo-classical style using Portland stone (on the right of the picture):
The site was previously used for houses, which were purchased by an Act of Parliament, dated 11 June 1720. It was officially opened in July 1730, although the western end was not completed until 1768. The Senate House was originally intended to be one side of a quadrangle, however the rest of the structure was never completed. As you can see from this old print The Senate House (far right) is situated on Kings Parade adjacent to the famous Kings College Chapel.
The interior is a fine room and a splendid setting for the graduation ceremony, 100 feet by 43 feet, and 32 feet high, with paneling and galleries of Norway oak boldly carved. The floor is of black and white marble, and the ceiling is divided into quadrangular compartments richly decorated.
The ceremony itself is quite something, full of solemn occasion - the whole ceremony is carried out in Latin with lots of mortar board doffing before the Vice Chancellor of the University. The degree itself is conferred on the graduand kneeling on a hassock before the Vice Chancellor who is sitting on a grand throne-like chair. Nina at the entrance to The Senate House after the ceremony:
And just to show that Cambridge University is not as stuffy as its reputation might suggest, as part of the university's 800th anniversary celebrations earlier this year, The Senate House and neighbouring King’s College were illuminated with a spectacular lightshow, illustrating aspects of the history of the university: