Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 5. Wednesday, June 15, 1960
Another capping ceremony is over; it will not be missed for it hardly ever existed. If undignified was the most appropriate term for the graduands' supper, then perfunctory sums up the capping ceremony.
After a lengthy, if well meant, speech, lost time was made up by promptly disposing of the graduands themselves. B.A. graduates were hustled through the rites at a timed rate of 8 seconds each. This was all the personal acknowledgment the University gave for a minimum of three years' study. For a man, the cost of gown and suit is £3/10/-, that's about 12/a second—all with his back-side facing the audience. Diplomas were furtively slipped to graduates in a dark corner of the stage.
Could not graduands center from the side of the stage, receive their diploma from the Chancellor while shaking hands, and descend the centre steps, facing their friends and relations? The presentation would be enhanced by the graduates bowing (or curtsying as the case may be) to the Chancellor as they receive their diplomas.
If the numbers being capped force individual presentation to be sketchy, then is not the solution group graduation, with perhaps short speeches from different speakers to each faculty? Diplomas are awkward to carry the rest of the evening, and could well be posted, in this case.
The singing of the University song indicated clearly that if it is to be retained in future ceremonies, this unfamiliar piece will have to be well rehearsed.