Get involved with our winter graduation ceremonies

The winter graduation ceremonies will be taking place from 8-19 December.

graduation students outside

Graduation is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students and we are calling on our staff community to join us and help create a wonderful and memorable experience. 

We are looking for staff from across our campus to carry out two key roles to support the smooth running of the ceremonies and all colleagues are invited to help. No previous experience is needed and full training will be provided.

Details of the roles, how to sign up, along with the dates and times available, can all be found here. The timings listed provide an indication of when staff would need to be available. Those who sign up will be contacted to confirm arrangements. Further details will then be shared including information about the available training sessions.

The deadline for signing up is Tuesday 21 November. 

Thank you in advance to all our staff for their support. Please check with your line manager first and if you have any questions, get in touch with the Graduation team at

If you would like to meet with the Graduation team to discuss in more detail about what’s involved and to see some of the locations being used this December, meet at the entrance to the Great Hall on Thursday 16 November at 11am where colleagues will show you around.

Roles available 

Here are the different roles available for staff to choose from and a breakdown of some of the responsibilities involved: 

Key Marshals:

  • Checking graduates into the Hall using tickets and name lists
  • Checking for any students who are absent
  • Liaising with presenters who will read names on the stage
  • Guiding graduates from their seats to the stage in the correct order

Front of House team:

  • Welcoming and signposting students and guests to the graduation locations on campus
  • First point of contact for any student or guest questions
  • Supporting the ticket desk in the Parkinson Building
  • Liaising with other staff who support the events

If staff are interested in supporting a specific school’s graduation, the full schedule of graduation ceremonies can be found here

Stories from past volunteers

We caught up with Nicki Sapiro, School Education Service Manager from the School of Music and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, who had given her time to support graduation in the past.

What was your overall experience being involved in graduation ceremonies?

Nicki: I really enjoy being part of the graduation ceremonies and volunteer for them each time, with only a couple of exceptions over the last 20+ years. For me, as a School Education Service Manager, it is always wonderful to be part of the celebration for students in my schools in particular, but I consider it an honour to be part of the process in any ceremony. It was a particular pleasure to work at my schools’ ceremonies with my Assistant SESM and another member of my team taking two of the other marshal roles in July 2023; a real ‘family’ affair!

Do you have any favourite stories or memories that really stand out to you?

Nicki: My very first ceremony, which I think must have been in July 2002 (showing my age now!), was an honorary ceremony, where Dame Judi Dench received her honorary doctorate. It was my responsibility to lead her into the hall, show her to her seat, and then lead her out again at the end. She was really lovely and extremely nervous! I have also met a number of other really exciting and interesting people in the course of working at the ceremonies from both within and outside the university, and developed some really productive working relationships as a result of doing them.

What would you say to colleagues who were thinking of volunteering but who were still a bit unsure?

Nicki: Bite the bullet and have a go! There are some roles that are more pressured than others, so if you are unsure or nervous maybe ask to do some of the less pressured ones to start off with and build up your confidence that way. I think all of the roles are fine but sometimes it’s nice to be able to see others do them a few times before you do them yourself. And if you try it out and really don’t like it you don’t have to volunteer again (but I reckon you will enjoy yourself).

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