Complementary grads enjoy ‘un-formalities’

Sourdough bread, blue cheese and a hoppy ale could be the perfect refreshments for an informal graduation ceremony.

Yesterday, when the University of Otago food science department celebrated its graduates in an informal outdoor ceremony on the Dunedin campus, new Drs Andrea Warburton, Ryan High and Victoria Purdy, could be said to be the perfect pairing.

The three graduates studied sourdough, blue cheese and beer respectively.

"It’s a good combo for all three of us to be studying at the same time — we have a lot of fun together," Dr Purdy said yesterday.

"Unfortunately, the big ceremony was cancelled but we’re really lucky that we’re all here to dress up and enjoy the day and celebrate together," Dr Purdy said.

Victoria Purdy (left), of Napier, Ryan High, of the United States, and Andrea Warburton, of...
Victoria Purdy (left), of Napier, Ryan High, of the United States, and Andrea Warburton, of Dunedin, graduate from the University of Otago with food science PhDs after studying beer, cheese and bread respectively. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
"The three of us from the department all celebrating together, with shared supervisors as well, is a cool opportunity to hang out and celebrate the last few years."

Formal ceremonies were cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty concerning Covid-19 and there were hundreds of in absentia graduates for yesterday’s ceremonies.

Hundreds of students donned caps and gowns and strolled around the campus taking photographs with family and friends.

In front of the food science department senior lecturer Dr Graham Eyres oversaw a mock parade and a mock capping ceremony to celebrate the success of food science students.

While the pomp and pageantry was missing from yesterday’s "un-formalities", Dr Eyres said the informal ceremony allowed the department to provide a personal touch.

A university spokeswoman said there were 727 in absentia graduates for yesterday’s ceremonies.


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