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Graduation unsung hero: Jeff Ryan

Jeff RyanThe Unsung Heroes feature gives an insight into an individual staff member’s contribution to graduation week, covering their role and what they enjoy about it. It's a chance to see some of the work that goes on behind the scenes to help make graduation week a success.

Behind the scenes with...

Jeff Ryan, Porter, Estates
Role at graduation: Ticket collector & general enquiries

My usual job involves…

various tasks, including moving furniture for departments, varied driving work, and from time to time being stationed in either the main post room or the student post room. I also get involved with delivering important letters and papers by hand, including exam scripts, to various departments. Occasionally it may also be necessary for me to man any one of the porters lodges dotted around campus.

But during graduation week I am…

one of a team of porters based at the Arts Centre, stationed on the doors to the Butterworth Hall in our traditional bowler hats. We’re responsible for collecting guests’ tickets, and giving help and assistance to anyone who requires it. We aim to make their visit to the University and the occasion as enjoyable for them as possible.

We also help to make sure the academic procession has enough space and freedom of movement to get in and out of the hall safely; it can get congested with hundreds of graduands and their guests passing through for each ceremony.

Not everyone realises that…

our part in graduation extends beyond the ceremonial door duties, both before and after graduation week. Graduation work takes priority for the porter team in the run up to the week as we collect and deliver the equipment that’s needed behind the scenes. Barriers, computers, banners and more all need transporting to the Arts Centre and then returning to their proper homes after the graduates have all gone home.

I really enjoy being involved with…

graduation, because the ceremonies give you the opportunity to meet the public and be a small part of their very special occasion. It’s nice to have a complete change from the day job occasionally and get more involved with students and the public. After more than six years supporting degree ceremonies, I still look forward to it.

Graduation week is unique because…

it gives the opportunity to see and be part of a very special and important time for the students and their families.

In three words, what invaluable tip or advice would you give graduands?

Get here early!

Leave plenty of time and don’t leave anything to chance.


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