Exactly eight years ago it was me walking across that stage to shake the hand of the great Richard Attenborough before collecting my university degree. (Richard Attenborough is Chancellor of the University of Sussex, by the way, and a very fine Chancellor he is, too). This time it was my wife-to-be’s turn to do the walk. Same university. Same event. Same famous person. Just a different degree.
It was nice to be back at Sussex. And the whole event felt that little bit sweeter when I found out that the Graduation Packs, handed out to the hundreds of guests, included a copy of the latest Falmer Alumni magazine. But this wasn’t just any old copy of Falmer. This one contained my recent interview with the university. It almost felt like a second graduation, a kind-of ‘coming of academic age’. There’s something nice about maintaining this kind of relationship with your university. Sussex’s continued interest in my work feels like an endorsement of my chosen post-degree career path, and comes after earlier comments from one of my former anthropology professors who described me as a “credit to anthropology and a credit to Sussex”. Right now it all makes sense, and everything seems to be falling into place. It didn’t feel like it back in 1996.
All I missed out on on the day was a photo opportunity with Mr. Attenborough. I have one with his famous brother – David (see my Photos page) – and a full set would have been nice. Maybe next time. I’m sure Sussex hasn’t seen the last of me yet.