Selfies arrive at the dreaming spires as senior Oxford dons snap themselves in full regalia


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The Independent Online

The selfie craze hit the University of Oxford last week after a historic annual ceremony.

After an event to appoint a new "senior proctor" at the university's historic Sheldonian Theatre, Dr Kate Blackmon, who holds the new title, was pictured in ceremonial garb alongside her predecessor Professor Jonathan Mallinson, Sir Martin Taylor the warden of Merton, and vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.

Students have reacted with glee at the shot after they were posted to the college’s Facebook page, comparing Sir Martin, who has ultimate responsibility for Merton, to Ellen Degeneres.

Laurie McClymont, a fourth year student, told The Independent, “Everyone has enjoyed the photos. It also provides further evidence that the Warden is a bit of a hipster.”

The photos also had a therapeutic effect on students preparing for summer exams. “Despite all the pomp and ceremony of what seems an archaic institution the tutors aren't in their own bubble and have a sense of humour. It definitely cheered up a few finalists busy revising in the library,” said another finalist.

However, others have expressed concern for the future of the selfie. “This is the death of the selfie. The craze is over,” said one current student.

“There can be no doubt that the selfie has ceased to be an edgy cultural phenomenon. The banalisation of the selfie is now well and truly here,” claimed another.

The position of senior proctor is held for one year and is rotated around the Oxford colleges. “Being senior proctor at Oxford is an opportunity to get properly involved in the governance of the university. We not only deal with student welfare and discipline... but we also have the right to attend any university committee,” said Dr Blackmon in an interview on Merton College’s website. “I'm most looking forward to attending the Ashmolean Museum's Board of Visitors,” she continued.

Dr Blackmon, who teaches Economics and Management, is Merton’s first woman Proctor.