It is fall convocation time at Brock. I always love convocation as it is an exciting time of the academic year (the sense of ceremony, the proud parents, the happy graduates! Hooray!). This year I’m going to be a bedel for one of the ceremonies. I must admit that until very recently I had no idea what a bedel was, or even how the word was pronounced. When I was first invited to participate in this capacity it was by email, and when I read the word “bedel” in that message I assumed it was pronounced “buh-dell.” Imagine my surprise and sheer delight when I discovered it is actually pronounced more like “beetle.” In the official convocation literature I’m now referred to as Bedel Cronin; I get to stand on a bedel box to hood the graduates and I even attended bedel training today. This is so much fun!
The university does its best to rent academic regalia for faculty based on where they got their degrees. This is very exciting — I love academic regalia. It is at once beautiful (all that shiny fabric!) and bizarre (what’s up with that guy’s hat?!?). I probably should invest in my own set of robes from Queen’s, but they certainly aren’t cheap. Last time I priced this out, it was somewhere in the $600 range. Lemme tell you, if I spend $600 on a single item of clothing I’m going to want to wear the garment in question A LOT! I fear that if I buy a set of academic robes, I’ll have a hard time restraining myself from wearing them all the time. Oh sure, I’d look a little goofy, but it might actually be kind of fun to go grocery shopping in a vibrant red robe.
Anyhow, at bedel training today we were told that if we had academic regalia with big sleeves we’d have to be careful not to hook ourselves on the various stairs and railings of the convocation stage. Apparently this happens a lot. I couldn’t remember the exact cut of the Queen’s robes, but a quick scan of my grad photos (see representative sample below) reassured me that I’m totally going to be a candidate for some sort of physical comedy on stage. Those sleeves are just asking for trouble!!