John Crosthwait


29 May 2014

The Chancellor

The Chancellor’s Latin The Chancellor’s many accomplishments did not include much, if any, knowledge of Latin. This was a problem, because the ceremony to confer honorary degrees, over which he had to preside, was conducted in that language. Of course, like a church service, a good deal was formulaic patter, relatively easy to master. The eulogies for the honorands (specifically those personally selected by the Chancellor himself) were a different matter. Although only a short paragraph in length, each had to encapsulate the subject’s distinctive merits in a combination of precision and ornateness, well suited to the Chancellor’s style of speech and writing in English. But putting the paragraph into Latin suitable for a grand public occasion required an aid operation.