King’s is thrilled to hold Matriculation in person once more, following a year of uncertainty and online events due to the pandemic. Challenging circumstances aside, the 2020 ceremony took place online in a memorable event that saw first year students recite their oath on Zoom.
Matriculation is an ancient tradition that marks the formal admission of a student to a university. The ceremony is focused around the act of signing the university register (in Latin matricula), an act that signals the student’s enrolment in the institution. The ceremony formalizes the joint commitment of the institution to the education of the enrolling student and of the student to their responsibility as a contributing member of the university community.
On September 28 and 29 first-year students will don academic robes and file into Alumni Hall to officially join the King’s community. Second-year students who matriculated online last year are also invited to attend the in-person ceremony so that they may experience Matriculation in its traditional form. For this reason and to allow for continued social distancing, in 2021 King’s will welcome its new students over two ceremonies.
King’s original Matricula dates to 1803. Today’s ceremony, however—including the Latin oath—is much more recent. In fact, the oath was written by Dr. Peter O’Brien, who constructed it based on Matriculation oaths from Oxford, Cambridge and the oldest Scottish Universities.
“I have always appreciated being involved with the Matriculation ceremony,” says O’Brien. “It gives students and anyone else witnessing the events an opportunity to reflect on the privileges and obligations of higher education. It’s a symbol of a long and broad tradition, to be sure, but it can also serve as a signpost for the new directions that university education can and will take individual students and their wider communities.”
A unique experience, Matriculation brings out excitement and anticipation in new students and nostalgia among those in their upper years.
“Matriculation is something every Kings kid knows and loves,” says third-year student Livy Lyle. “After signing your name, you graduate from a confused first-year to a real King’s student. You’re officially in the book […] and you and the school now belong to each other! To anyone doing it for their first time: I wish you luck, and welcome!”
“My matriculation experience set the tone for the rest of my experience at King’s” says fourth-year student Mia Denison. “Dressed in formal robes, reciting Latin, signing the matricula, and surrounded by people who I knew I would spend the next four years with at King’s, it was an exciting integration of both the ancient and new.”
This year is sure to create lasting memories for the first and second-year students who will come together with faculty and administration to celebrate their formal entry into the King’s community, like generations of students.