A remarkable day for Balliol in the Sheldonian

From Floreat Domus Issue: 
10
Issue year: 
2004

The Rt Hon Christopher Patten (1962) marked the start of his period in office as Chancellor of the University by awarding honorary degress at a special ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre on Friday 21 November 2003

[Professor Jasper Griffin, Lord Bingham, Christopher Patten, Sir Colin  Lucas and Andrew Graham in Brasenose College before the ceremony]
Professor Jasper Griffin, Lord Bingham, Christopher Patten, Sir Colin Lucas and Andrew Graham in Brasenose College before the ceremony

Among those made Doctors of Civil Law were Sir Colin Lucas, Master of Balliol 1994-2001 and currently Vice-Chancellor, and the present Master, Andrew Graham. In his presentation the Public Orator, Professor Jasper Griffin (1956), referred to Andrew’s varied career as he moved between the world of academe to that of politics as follows: ‘<span>Virum produco in re oeconomica versatissimum, qui cum hic discipulos sub platano sedentes erudierit, tum Platonis praecepto obsecutus, qui philosophos totam vitam philosophari vetat, prodesse iubet ceteris, in Cavernam autem illam regressus, hominibus usui atque exercitationi deditis subvenit, ea quae in scholis docuerat in foro atque in curia administranda curavit.</span> (The man I now present is a distinguished economist, who at one time taught the subject in Oxford. In Platonic terms, he sat beneath the plane tree of academic seclusion; but after a time he obeyed Plato’s stern injunction that the philosopher should not spend his whole life in theoretical pursuits, but return to the Cave in which political decisions are taken and take part with men of affairs. So Mr Graham set about applying in practical politics the lessons he had taught in the academy.)’

The presentation of Sir Colin began as follows: ‘<span>Quid aptius, quid laetius, quid denique omnibus modis acceptius fieri possit quam ut Doctoratus honoris causa in eum conferatur qui ipse toties in alios gradum contulit confert? prodit vir cuius dignitati, quae insignissima est, plerumque ceteri homines academici cedimus, qui autem hodie superiori dat locum, ut brevi tempore scilicet obsequendo posthac et clarior et ornatior excedat.</span> (What could be more appropriate, more welcome, or in every respect more seemly, than the conferral of an honorary Doctorate on one by whom degrees are regularly conferred on other people? Our next honorand has an academic rank so high that it normally overtops those of the rest of us in Oxford, but today he finds himself out-ranked, so that by temporarily submitting he can emerge all the more highly exalted.)’

Lord Bingham (1954) Balliol’s Visitor, attended the ceremony in his role as High Steward of the University.