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Ponders End alumni attend belated graduation ceremony nearly 40 years on


The Ponderonians at their graduationNearly 40 years after completing their studies, a group of former students from the Ponders End campus of Middlesex Polytechnic attended Middlesex University's Hendon Campus for a belated graduation ceremony.

Alumni from the BA Social Sciences and BA Business Studies classes of 1974 to 1976 returned to Middlesex in August 2013 to finally don their cap and gowns and receive their scrolls from their former course leaders.

Graduation ceremonies were cancelled in 1974 after the Students Union threatened protests as they deemed the use of university funds towards the graduation ceremonies, following a recent visit from the then Education Minister, the late Baroness Thatcher,  inappropriate in light of government cuts to the education budget.

In the immediate years that followed, no suitable venue could be found to accommodate all of the colleges that had come together to form Middlesex Polytechnic in 1973.

"A number of us have been getting together and having reunions over the last five or six years and realised that we had never had a degree ceremony," said event organiser John Thay, who completed his BA Business Studies degree in 1975.

"We decided that we should hold our own ceremony and thankfully we approached the Alumni Association and they came on board and helped us organise the event." 

Following several months planning, ten of the 'Ponderonians' were welcomed back to the University by Anna Kyprianou, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Business School, herself an alumni of the Ponders End campus.

Middlesex was the first University in the UK to offer a Business Studies degree and Barbara Frost, who helped devise the programme and later went on to be Course Leader, attended the ceremony to present John and his former classmates with their degrees.

Former BA Social Sciences course leader Bryan Davies, now the Labour peer Baron Davies of Oldham, was also there to hand his former students their scrolls. 

The event, held in the boardroom of Middlesex University's College Building which overlooks the Hendon campus' flagship Rickett Quadrangle, was also attended by Arthur Hindmarch, former Principal Lecturer in Accounting, as well as dozens of the graduates' friends and family.

"We're not 21 years olds giggling and getting drunk anymore, but it has been a great feeling to wear the gown and the board and finally get the degree," John added.

"In my case I had two of my children here watching me get my degree and it has just been a wonderful experience."

If you are a former Ponders End student from the Class of 1974-76 and would like to join the 'Ponderonians' for their annual reunions, please contact the Alumni Association for more information.

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