For posterity and inverse posterity

It’s the silly season already, and that means Xmas. Or is it Exmas?

Illuminated road sign: EXMAS PAGEANT

And exmas means presents, right?

I’m kinda hopeless at the presents thing. I can get caught spending hours trying to find the right present for somebody, and completely forget to get a present for somebody supposedly more important!

That’s the story, anyhow. I believe all sorts of things that aren’t true—it’s called history. (And history doesn’t exist in the present, as it were.)

This is why, this year, my close friends are each getting something that is small and markedly similar to what all the others are getting.

But the silly season, or exmas, or [insert your favourite name here] or what have you has another meaning for UTas graduands-cum-graduates. Graduation! It happens between exams and exmas. In the case of me and some of my friends, it was Graduation 2.0 (Honours) and it happened earlier this week.

A hearty congratulations are in order to all my uni mates, you did well. Congratulations! It is a little strange to be in a social circle full of people who do so well. Uni really did turn out to be a completely different game to high school and college.

This leaves the rest of this blog post for some self-admirational studies into this strange metallic  drink coaster medal I received on stage at graduation. Additionally, because I couldn’t find any description or image on the entire Internet of what the actual medal looks like, only the rules for obtaining one.

Me plus medal
It's a me

The University Medal from the University of Tasmania is a circular medal presented in a fuzzy-lined medal box. It is 60mm in diameter and approximately 3.5mm thick, and made of what looks like bronze. Here is a top-down shot comparing it to a 50 cent piece.

UTas Medal (left) and an Australian 50c coin
UTas Medal (left) and an Australian 50c coin

The front of the medal proudly displays the beautiful UTAS coat-of-arms. The motto reads INGENIIS PATVIT CAMPVS. I don’t pretend to know Latin, but it sounds cool. (You can look it up yourself, lazy!)

The back of the medal has the engraved text, and is otherwise flat.

Medal inscription
University Medal / awarded to / JOSHUA THOMAS DEPREZ / Faculty of Science, / Engineering & Technology / for academic excellence / 2009

It’s got a nice weight to it. I don’t have any scales handy to tell you precisely how much it weighs. It doesn’t have a pin for pushing into one’s chest, nor a ribbon for hanging around one’s neck. (Thankfully, UTas is neither the military nor the olympics.)

As for the presentation of the medal, it differed only slightly to your regular First Class Honours conferral of a testamur in that they made me wait until all the other BSc(Hons) grads had walked the walk, and then made the Dean say all this:

Ceremony script cards for the Dean
Ceremony script cards, read by the Dean: "Chancellor, I present to you Joshua Thomas Deprez whom you have admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours. Mr Deprez has been awarded a University Medal, the highest academic award made to an undergraduate student. I ask you, Sir, to present the University Medal to Joshua Thomas Deprez."

So now for a few words about the testamur. I can report that neither the class of Honours mark, nor the field of study, nor the fact a medal was conferred appear upon my testamur at all. It simply reads Bachelor of Science with Honours (and the usual—you know, university, name, etc).

But a few things did strike me. First was that, unlike last year, they did not hand me the testamur during the ceremony—the new procedure is to collect a worthless roll of paper on the red carpet, and proceed to collect the real deal afterwards and only after presenting some ID. (Though they did hand me the real medal during the ceremony. Huh. Perhaps I should test the veracity of the Chancellor next time I’m up there?)

The testamur now sports a holographic seal and an impression of the coat of arms on the left of the page, as opposed to the old-fashioned seal. The paper also looks a lighter shade. My BComp-BSc testamur has the old-style seal, so I now have one sample of each.

Framed BSc(Hons) testamur and BComp-BSc testamur
Framed BSc(Hons) testamur (left) and BComp-BSc testamur (right)

Incidentally, I have left the paying of the rather expensive framing in both years to my dear grandparents Joyce and Joe.

Some final remarks about the graduation: the weather was stupidly hot but the Federation concert hall at a pleasing temperature, the finger-food and orange juice afterwards was good, the gown hire was the same price as last time, the speech by the DSc recipient was quite interesting and there were an awful lot of PhDs graduating at the ceremony.

Oh, and there was this guy who hunted me down, only to turn somewhat disappointed to hear I was probably not doing a Computing PhD next year. Sorry, Julian.

Dr. Dermoudy and myself
Left: Dr Julian Dermoudy, Head of the School of Computing and Information Systems, and myself

Of course, what’s it all for anyway?

Getting this pack of paper in the mail is probably the biggest reason for doing Honours.

Offer for an APA
Offer for an APA, from left: Cover letter, information sheet & offer acceptance form, application for admission to candidature, a notification of some rule changes, a banking details form, and finally the conditions of the award.

They even filled some of it in for me. How nice!