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Role of Head of College (or nominated deputy)

As is the tradition at these ceremonies, one first year undergraduate and postgraduate student from each College/Society present is called upon to sign the Matriculation Book on behalf of all the new students from that College/Society. The role of the Head of College is to take a seat on the stage, greet and witness the students signing the Matriculation book.

The form to register attendance at Matriculation (published during August/September) includes an option to confirm the role of Head of College for the ceremony. Please tick this box if you are acting as the nominated representative for the College. It is important that you register your attendance at the ceremony, we cannot presume that each College Principal or Master will be able to attend as we know from experience that this is not always the case.

The procedure during the ceremony is as follows:

  • After the Dean of Durham (or representative) has addressed the students, the University Secretary or Academic Registrar will rise and say: “The process of matriculation marks the beginning of formal membership of the University. I now call upon one undergraduate and one postgraduate representative from each of the Colleges present to sign the Matriculation Book on behalf of all new members of their College.”
  • The University Secretary or Academic Registrar will then call out the names of the Colleges present in order and, at the appropriate time, the Bedel will indicate when each student should go forward to sign the Matriculation Book.
  • The Head of College rises from their seat (on the stage) and stands at the table with the Matriculation book, after each student has signed the book, shake hands then return to your seat.
  • Once all the Colleges present have been called forward, the Presiding Officer (the Vice-Chancellor or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor) will ask students to ‘share the hand of friendship and welcome each other to the Colleges and the University' by shaking hands with each other. Please feel free to go and shake hands with your students.
  • The President of Durham Students' Union and Presiding Officer will then give speeches.
  • The Presiding Officer formally closes the ceremony and leads the procession out of the Cathedral.