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Campus Comeback: Arrangements for Graduations on King’s Lawn Confirmed

Updated: Feb 29

2024 Summer Graduations Set to Take Place from 24th of June

By Miles Rothoerl

In a decisive nod to tradition, arrangements for graduations to take place in Old Aberdeen as early as this June have been confirmed. Following its overwhelming rejection of management’s proposals for ceremonies to continue at the P&J Live last November, Senate has now given the long-awaited green light for on-campus ceremonies to return for 2024 and beyond.

In the days after the decision, taken via an online vote in early February, the University also set out its timescale for this year’s ceremonies, which are due to take place over five days in the week commencing the 24th of June.

Under the proposals, approved by a vote of 71 to 2, with 6 abstentions, students graduating in summer are set to walk the stage in a marquee on King’s Lawn, as in the year prior to the pandemic. The smaller winter graduations, meanwhile, will make a poignant return to Elphinstone Hall, a move that will see it reclaim its role as a graduation venue after more than six years, following Aberdeen City Council’s 2018 decision to downgrade its capacity in line with fire safety regulations. 

Hospitality is expected to be provided in a second, separate marquee this summer, but it is also due to move to Elphinstone Hall in 2025.

At November’s Senate meeting, which set the stage for the proposals which have now been approved, members expressed their hope that the decision would see the funds previously paid to P&J Live invested at the University. The estimated £650,000 per year could now go towards the development of Elphinstone Hall and the surrounding areas at King’s Quad.

Announced as a venue just months after opening in late 2019, the P&J Live struggled to win over staff and students. Complaints were made regarding both its location near the airport and its absence of ties to the University. A Gaudie poll conducted last November found that an overwhelming 86 per cent of students preferred the prospect of graduating on-campus.

Not all are convinced, however. Concerns have been raised over a marquee’s vulnerability to wind and rain, noise from nearby King Street and the campus’s accessibility.

Registrations have now opened and dates for specific ceremonies can be accessed on the University website.

And despite assurances that students will continue to be able to attend their graduation for free, the return to Old Aberdeen will see no change to the University’s controversial decision to begin charging guests for the privilege of seeing their loved one graduate. Tickets ran attendees £13.20 last October, but it remains to be seen whether prices and the number of guests students are allowed to invite will be impacted by the change in venue.

As in previous years, ceremonies will be streamed live for friends and family unable to attend in person.


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