Doctor Richie

Today 19 April my baby brother Richie graduated from Monash University with a Doctor of Philosophy. I thought my mother might burst with pride and so she ought, as they certainly don’t give doctorates away and as anyone who has ever achieved this qualification will attest, it’s a long long march.

So congratulations Dr Richie on your achievements. You join a select group… 1% of the 1%. It’s something I will never achieve because a. I am not smart enough and b. They don’t hand out doctorates for gift wrapping at a G8 University. I will just unashamedly shine in his reflected glory.

I have always loved a good graduation ceremony with all its pomp and tradition. And Richie’s graduation had a lot of pomp. Monash University Ā held a special ceremony to induct its new and only 8th ever Chancellor Simon McKeon AO and award doctorates to 43 very deserving candidates. There was organ music and the mace and the academic procession and passion fruit macaroons afterwards. Even the Governor of Victoria turned up for Richie.

Strangely I have always been transfixed by academic dress. It’s like gift wrapping smart people. According to the graduation program “the academic dress worn today is a modification and amalgam of the dress worn by scholars and teachers in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It consists of a gown with sleeves of a pattern appropriate to the degree, a trencher cap or bonnet, and a scarf like stole or a hood which is the remnant of the cowl that was once worn to cover the head and shoulders.” (Monash University 2016 XIV).

Monash University adopts the academic dress of the University of Cambridge with the exception of the dress for higher doctorates, where they have gone for an Oxford look.

The gown Dr Richie wore was a black master’s gown faced with peony red and a turquoise blue hood fully lined with peony red and piped with his Faculty colour of old rose. The ensemble was completed with a black velvet bonnet with red peony cord and tassels. The bonnet really looks rather odd but as with the regalia of any exclusive group, it is highly prized.

My wrap features the black of the academic gown and the three colours of university and faculty worn by Dr Richie.The ribbons are placed as an homage to the hood of the gown. I like this wrap because it represents the day with without falling into twee which would never do. The gift is a photo frame because trust me there were a lot of photos taken and I suspect my mother will wallpaper her lounge room with them. Love you Richie.


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