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Medic Graduation to be Held in Marquee, Not Albert Hall

Aug 12 2009 11:04
Kent Brockman
The decision to hold the 2009 BSc medic graduation ceremony in a marquee, instead of the Royal Albert Hall, has caused uproar amongst graduands.
This year's graduation ceremony will be held in a tent... slightly more lavish than this one.

UPDATE (17/08/2009): Live! has received the following statement from ICSMSU President, Anil Chopra:

"On behalf of ICSMSU I would like to express my anger at the changes made by Comms to the BSc Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony has been moved from the 21st October in the Royal Albert Hall to the 26th October in a marquee on the Queen's Lawn. Not only do students feel that their graduation (and hence their degree) has been de-valued by being moved to the Queen's Lawn but they will also not be able to graduate with their colleagues who have completed their final year. Furthermore, students were notified of the date change too late - a number of students' parents are now unable to watch their sons & daughters graduate as they had previously arranged to take time off work or had booked tickets to fly across continents so that they could be here for the 21st. This is great shame and has caused a great deal of upset amongst graduates."

Imperial College's events office yesterday sent emails to all students in the Faculty of Medicine that have completed their integrated BSc course this year.

Previously, BSc Medics have graduated in the Royal Albert Hall with other students.

The email told students that "this year the Medicine integrated BSc graduation ceremony will take place on Monday 26 October at 15.00 in the marquee on the Queen?s Lawn and will be followed by a champagne and canapé reception".

The email also outlines arrangements for class cancellations, as the ceremony will be held on a Monday afternoon.

Students had previously been under the impression that the ceremony would be held within the Royal Albert Hall, alongside other students celebrating their graduation.

The announcement has led to complaints from many students, whom are both disappointed at the move and angry about the decision to hold the ceremony on a Monday; thus interrupting their continuing studies.

One angry student told Live!, "I don't know any other uni that does graduations in their garden".

I don't know any other uni that does graduations in their garden.
Angry Medic

Medic student, Victoria Gibbs, said that she couldn't "see what's changed this year that means we had to be moved", continuing, "the most annoying thing is the lack of explanation or apology".

Live! contacted the Events Office at Imperial, who assured us that in future graduation ceremonies will continue to be held at the Royal Albert Hall.

A spokeswoman said, "Imperial's graduation ceremonies will continue to be held in the Royal Albert Hall as always. The only change is that medical students on the MBBS/BSc course will no longer attend both their BSc and their MBBS graduations in the Hall. Instead they will have the opportunity to celebrate their integrated BSc graduation in a special ceremony held in the marquee on the Queen's Lawn. They will be able to graduate in the Royal Albert Hall at the completion of their MBBS".

Former Deputy President (Education & Welfare), Hannah Theodorou, commented on the debate on her facebook page.

Medical students on the MBBS/BSc course will no longer attend both their BSc and their MBBS graduations in the Hall.
Imperial College

She pointed out that the students in question will still get a chance to graduate at the Albert Hall at the end of their studies, saying that she was "slightly entertained by her grumbling year". She referred to sitting through the other students receiving their degrees as "most boring experiences of my life, despite the stunning location".

Imperial College has sent a follow-up email to graduands, explaining the reason for moving the ceremony.

The email says that "due to the popularity of Imperial's graduation ceremonies, we have reached capacity in the Royal Albert Hall and, naturally, we wish to protect the quality of the day for all graduands and guests".

It continues, "we have therefore developed a new BSc ceremony which will be focussed purely on medical students. This will be followed by a reception identical in quality and style to those held after all College graduation ceremonies".

ICSMSU are yet to comment on the announcement.

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Discussion about “Medic Graduation to be Held in Marquee, Not Albert Hall”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Aug 12 2009 13:02

As Hannah points out, they'll still get to graduate in the Albert Hall, they'll just have to wait til the end of their studies. Like everyone else does.

At least this way, when they do eventually get there, the ceremony will be that little bit shorter and, hopefully, the urge to spontaneously combust out of sheer boredom won't be as strong.

Aug 12 2009 13:46


By the same logic we should put any Scientists/Miners/Engineers in the marquee if they plan on doing a PhD in IC afterwards.

Then again I got my graduation this year and I heard the medics have a tradition of applauding everyone meaning the whole thing takes too long.

Aug 12 2009 14:28

Once medics are mainly on the postgraduate course then they will have 2 ceremonies, provided they studied their undergraduate course at Imperial and not elsewhere.

Aug 12 2009 16:01


Anything that makes the ceremony shorter is fine by me...

5. medic   
Aug 12 2009 16:14

Aug 12 2009 23:45

BSc; Joke degrees, do people actually fork out to go to graduation?

Aug 13 2009 10:53

The students get to go to the ceremony free of charge. It costs ?20 per ticket for additional tickets for family members - two tickets guaranteed.

Aug 13 2009 19:42

We came to Imperial under the misapprehension that we would get to graduate twice at the RAH. I personally find it dispicable and a disappointment that this should have been changed without consulting the students involved. As someone who will gain my BSc next year, for which I fully anticipate working very hard for, I find it insulting that some people see it as a joke. Like any degree it is an achievement and does not deserve to be under-valued!

Aug 13 2009 19:49

I'm surprised to have had my status posted on this story but I suppose it doesn't make a huge amount of difference. I'm sure the medics would be just as disgruntled if we started graduating everyone after their BSc/BEng in all the other faculties making the ceremony twice as bloody long! A specialised ceremony on the Queen's Lawn is more than the Engineers or Scientists get after completing their bachelors if they are continuing on to a higher, still undergraduate, qualification. Bring on the onslaught!

Aug 13 2009 23:11

What the hell? This is an absolute OUTRAGE. A Bsc is just as good as the other degree and considering some people drop out afterwards this may be all they get - their last memory of imperial will be a stupid joke ceremony under some soggy make shift tent in a blinkin' field.

If this part of the course is not going to be valued as much as other degrees then WHY ARE YOU FORCING US TO DO IT?? Hmmmm? SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!

This better have been sorted by the time I finish my Bsc because if it's not in a proper hall then I won't bother turning up at all. God's sake what's happening you've barely got any traditions to preserve stop getting rid of what you do have.

11. Fonzie   
Aug 14 2009 01:10

Hannah is completely spot on.

12. Hannah   
Aug 15 2009 01:20

It's not to do with the value of your degree, it's to do with what you're registered to complete as a degree while you're here. If you're registered on an MBBS, you should have the big fancy graduation at the end of that. If you're registered on an MEng, again you wait the four years until you've finished. If you only want to study to BSc level, that's fine- you get the pomp and circumstance of the Albert Hall when you've finished your degree. The same rules should apply to everyone.

13. n/a   
Aug 17 2009 09:30

"dispicable"? Ha ha ha.

I don't see why anyone should get two grad ceremonies in one course. Not sure why they're offering the marquee at all - they should simply scrap the luxury, unnecessary intermediate ceremony and save money. (Could probably fund a language course from the savings...)

Aug 17 2009 10:24

Hannah I didn't see you boycott your BSc ceremony on the grounds it's too fancy.

15. Alice   
Aug 17 2009 12:35

"soggy make shift tent in a blinkin' field"

Lol, I'd love to see that quote printed on the marketing material advertising the queens lawn marquees to corporate clients.

14. I think the point is she just wouldn't have winged if it were somewhere less fancy... I'm guessing you knew that and just fancied being mean.

Aug 17 2009 19:06

@ n/a

I'd be more than happy for them to scrap the second ceremony if they were to scrap the extra year that goes with it. As it is we spend exactly double the length of time at university as our contemporaries so it seems quite fitting that we should have the two ceremonies in honour of this. Give us some respect for the rigors of our course and our ultimate aim.

17. To 16   
Aug 17 2009 23:24

I didn't realise medics were around for 8 years these days!

Anyway, I think that to expect respect for the "rigors" of what is probably one of the easier courses at Imperial (academically speaking, not in time spent obviously) goes a long way to explaining why some people are not too upset that the medics will have a separate ceremony.

Especially as every year the medics seem so overwhelmed with just how much harder they've worked than everyone else they insist on clapping every one of their colleagues, thereby adding about an hour to an already boring ceremony...

18. n/a   
Aug 18 2009 10:35

Since when does spending twice as long to learn half as much warrant extra respect? ;-)

Does spending twice as long also mean that you should have two beds per medic in your halls rooms in honour of this? Or maybe twice the number of meals a day?

On the other hand, if spending double the time at uni would mean you get charged double the income tax rate after graduation, that would be quite fair, I think... ;-)

Aug 19 2009 12:46

How ridiculous to suggest that medics learn less than other students, do you live in a hole?

Aug 26 2009 14:15

There aren't enough medics backing up each other on this forum, the non medics are certainly giving us a lashing, and it's just not on.

It is simply unfair that in previous years medics have been able to graduate in the RAH for the BSc and for some bizarre reason they can't next year. No proper explanation has been given. If the reason was that medics clap too much, then everyone could be politely told not to do that so much if it meant they could still graduate at the RAH

Those that aren't medics have no idea how it feels when you get to the end of year 4 and you see your scientist friends graduate and earning at least 20k, paying off their student loans whilst you have to endure long hours in hospitals in training and worry about your mounting debt. I can't believe someone here has the cheek to say we don't work hard, we have so much to memorise and being surrounded by illness in hospital is not so good on our emotional well being, that takes a lot of getting used to. Every med student ends up doing at least 1 summer resit and has hurdles to overcome, it is certainly not easy.

I can't believe there are scientists out there that still seem to have a problem with the medics belonging to Imperial. I've made a huge effort to hang out with you guys, in ICU Choir and I feel let down by your nasty comments.

Finally there is a difference between being awarded a BEng after 3 years and a MEng after 4 years (1 year difference) with being awarded a Bsc after 4 years and a MBBS after 6 years (a 2 year gap). We have to study for 4 years before getting a BSc, unlike Oxbridge and UCL where they receive one after 3 years. We already have a lovely halfway house dinner at the end of 3 years and it would be lovely to continue the tradition of having a midway graduation at the RAH what other medics have had before us.

How would you feel if you had something you were looking forward to ripped away from you?

21. To 20.   
Aug 26 2009 17:27

Not trying to be nasty. Was just pointing out that trying to make out medicine is more worthy of respect, difficult etc. than most other courses is probably the reason for the lack of sympathy from students on other courses.

"for some bizarre reason they can't next year. No proper explanation has been given."

I imagine the explanation given (lack of capacity) is a valid one. There doesn't seem any reason for college to go to the extra expense of an additional ceremony otherwise.

"If the reason was that medics clap too much, then everyone could be politely told not to do that so much"

This isn't the reason for the change, it's the reason non-medics aren't so upset about it! Though it's worth mentioning that this is politely requested every year. Every year it is observed by all but the medics. Having talked to medics about this, the excuse is that they've "worked really hard". Because nobody else has of course.

"How would you feel if you had something you were looking forward to ripped away from you?"

That's a little melodramatic don't you think? On the plus side, you'll enjoy your final graduation much more as a result, because you'll approach it in blissful ignorance of just how boring these ceremonies are...

Chin up!

Aug 28 2009 10:59

The graduating in a tent thing doesn't bother me as much as the nasty comments written on here.

I'm not saying medicine is more worthy of respect all I said was it's a difficult subject (and not more difficult than whatever) so stop twisting what I say. You all say EEE or Aero are the difficult subjects but medicine is difficult in other ways and you all were being very rude on here about us so I felt I had to step in. If you look at all the posts and on the other forum where there's the worst saying our BSc is not even a proper degree you will soon see what I mean.

Oct 11 2009 14:54

Maybe the anger at this story is what caused that medic to violently assault someone on the pub crawl this year. Strange that the Medic's union is happy to comment on pieces that try to get it's message across while desperately trying to smother anything which makes it look bad.

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