Convocation day, 1917: A group of men, dressed in their gowns – made out of the finest sand bags and lined with absorbent cotton – proceeded to the convocation hut and sat on the floor. There, they received their degress and watched as distinguished guests received honourary degrees never before awarded by the University of Manitoba: An M.D. (Master of Disputations), and L.L.D. (Dispenser of Light Literature), and a D.C.L. (Director of Camp Lavatories).
If the details of this ceremony sound uncharacteristic of a convocation held at the University of Manitoba, it is because it was in fact held on the battlefields of France, in the midst of the First World War. The events of that day are chronicled in St. John's College Magazine by A. Roland Hall (XI. Field Ambulance). Extracts from that magazine are featured below.