pasty muncher - camera phoneMid summer is traditionally the time for graduation ceremonies and the awarding of degrees to students who have poured over their books and worked long into the night to complete research projects. Over three thousand Exeter University students will be joined by family and fiends for the degree ceremonies being during July. The ceremonies mark the successful completion of at least three years dedicated study and are an opportunity to award degrees for academic achievement. However some “lucky” ones simply have to turn up on the day to be given a free degree.

No Study Degrees – Degrees Given Away for Free!

Each year’s graduation ceremonies include the giving of free degrees – known as Honorary degrees – with no requirement for study to a selection of celebrities. The requirements to be a recipient of an honorary degree are cloudy – sometimes service to local community is cited. This year sees Ruth Hawker OBE who trained in nursing and education in Exeter, and became chief executive of Tor and SouthWest College, Devon – the award of an honorary degree to Ruth is recognition for the commitment and involvement with the local region over a long period of time.

The same cannot be said however for others on this years list:

Rik Mayo claims regional fame simply by the fact that he lives here – well give him a medal – it really is a test of character to relocate to the west country. Rik’s honorary degree is for his contribution to comedy. Why oh why then do we not see the like of Jethro (a hilarious Cornish Comedian) of the Wurzels (a hilarious Somerset beat combo) receiving these free degrees?

The bogus degree conspiracy deepens when we discover that Floella Benjamin is to give away these free degrees. Floella it is revealed has herself been the recipient of Exeter’s generosity being awarded a Hon D.Litt (Exon) – Doctor of Letters from Exeter!

Other awards will be made for contributions to literature, comedy, politics, media, business, engineering, higher education and healthcare – David Attenborough – Patron of a Blood Pressure healthcare organisation – in fact anything that will appeal to potential students during the college’s graduate >recruitment drives.

For traditionalists, it gone too far. A Smithers, Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham believes degrees shouldn’t be dished out willy nilly with the hope of brightening up graduation ceremonies. Although he himself holds an honorary degree from Manchester he says: “The criterion these days is often that the honorary graduate is well known rather than they have made a distinctive contribution in their particular academic field,”

Rest assured – the Muncher has already written to the Western Morning News the hope that the tireless search for the perfect pasty will be acknowledged in due course.

Whilst carefully researching this post the following result appeared for a search for [pasty degree] which has a number one slot for Be a pasty chef? Get your degree in baking and pastry arts-The Culinary Institute of America