Friday, 16 July 2010

The wonderful Baroness Floella Benjamin

We had a memorable day at Jonathan's Graduation Ceremony at Exeter University. As a proud parent I was looking forward to it, but expected it to be something of an assembly-line-event with all of the graduates receiving a quick hand-shake and certificate. It was anything but!

This was due largely to the presence of the wonderful Chancellor, Baroness Floella Benjamin. The ceremony began with the entrance of the University dignitaries and professors with the Chancellor the last person to appear. And what an appearance! There was such a sense of theatre as she literally graced the steps to her seat, before dramatically turning to address the congregation. What followed was an inspiring, motivational speech - more like a sermon - where she oozed presence. There were even three points, all beginning with 'c' - consideration, contentment and confidence.

The graduates were then presented. And no-one got anything as ordinary as a hand-shake. She embraced, hugged, kissed, caressed the graduates, speaking at length to each of them. What enthralled me was the manner in which she greeted everyone appropriately, with total attentiveness, huge warmth and elegance.

There were some final words to the graduates, which, taken at face value, might have been over the top, yet were spoken with such pride and affection, and communicated with the gorgeous smile, the wide open, sparkling eyes, and the elegant hand gestures.

I guess I've been a fan for more years than I care to remember, but today I became a fan for life! It made what would have been a special day whatever, very special. Thank you Floella.


Julie Aylward said...

and she is Baroness of Beckenham - my home town! Glad she made such a positive impression.

Anonymous said...

She's incredible :)

TonyF said...

I have just been to my daugther's graduation at Exeter and Floella was wonderful, inspirational and said something encouraging to each graduate after she had embraced them, she made it the special send off that it should be to the successful graduates from a very good university. The fact she has to do this for 100's of students several times each day for a week makes it all the more amazing.