Reading the Collections, Week 27: University Calendars and the office of Bedellus

Our colleagues in Special Collections at the University Library have written a blog about the recently retired Bedellus, John Jardine, who many of our recent alumni will remember John fondly as he was the person placing the hood over their heads at graduation ceremonies. The post investigates the history of the role of the Bedellus and John’s predecessors over the years.

Echoes from the Vault

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At the end of July, John Jardine, University Bedellus, retired after 29 years’ service with the University. In that role as mace-bearer, almost the personification of the corporate identity of the institution, John was one of the key figures in University ceremonies in this most traditional of institutions. He was the University officer who placed the hood over the heads of thousands of new graduates after they had been capped by the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor. With his mace, John was on duty each Sunday for Chapel where he led the academic procession. He held this ceremonial role alongside his considerable responsibilities as Senior Janitor of the University, in line-managing uniformed staff in Estates and working closely with the University Security Manager. Throughout he maintained a cheerful calm competence, and anyone who has been marshalled by him as he formed up a procession at graduation will remember his dry wit…

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