Danya graduated with a first-class honours science degree from Sydney University yesterday. It only seems like a little while ago that he first came down to Sydney and crashed on my couch for a few months.
He’s grown in many ways since then, and it’s a real pleasure to see him honoured for his hard work when the end seemed so uncertain at times. Congratulations, Danya, and may the rest of your studies and other endeavors be as successful.
The ceremony was a bit dodgey in parts, though; two young wogboys in front of us were talking incessantly, playing with the their mobile phones and even playing “rock, paper, scissors” ending with a punch for the loser.
The Prochancellor, who gave the commencement address, managed to tell us in about four ways in 5 minutes that Sydney University is ranked high in educational standings in Australia and around the world. He said little of note apart from congratulating the graduands and admitting them to their degrees and remarking how many advanced maths degrees and university medals there were to award compared to previous years.
The final speaker was even worse. She was introduced as a graduate from 1991, who had been in England and German universities, but her main claim to fame, according to the Prochancellor was that she had raised several million dollars in research funding for the university. I was hoping to at least hear something interesting about her science research; what it was, what (if anything) she had discovered or contributed to her chosen research field. Not a chance.
When she opened her mouth, I was even more disappointed. She spoke. like. this. and she. said stuff that. may have. been interesting. if. she hadn’t stopped for. dramatic pauses every so. often.
It was something about how much a need there is for scientists to solve the world’s problems, whatever they may be. Apparently scientists may be the key to all the problems we have if only we can retain the skills of critical thinking and problem solving.
Danya looked very dapper in his hired suit and graduation gown – sort of like an academic superhero as he strode across the lawn towards us, when we arrived at the great hall, robe flaring in the wind. I’m sure I looked nothing like as good at my graduation.
Unfortunately the weather was quite inclement. After some lunch at Bad Mannors, Kathy, Marissa and I took a taxi back to the motel while Danya started walking back to the University. It immediately began pouring and I hope he didn’t get his testamur soaked in the rain.