Merton Fellow Dr Kate Blackmon yesterday celebrated being made Senior Proctor of Oxford University with a “selfie”.
The photo captures her predecessor Professor Jonathan Mallinson of Trinity College, along with the Warden, Sir Martin Taylor, and the University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.
Dr Blackmon is Merton’s first ever female Proctor. Her admission also coincides with the college’s 750th anniversary year.
Oxford’s Senior and Junior Proctors and the Assessor are appointed annually at the end of Hilary Term. Colleges take it in turns to elect their candidate through a 14-year cycle.
Dr Blackmon’s “selfie” was shared on Merton’s Facebook page, along with another that showed Merton fellows gleefully smiling at the camera and making the “peace” sign.
In an interview recently published on Merton’s website, Dr Blackmon stated she was looking forward to taking on “such an ancient and unique position in a world-famous institution”.
However, she added that: “Some of my American colleagues think I’m going to be an exam invigilator, because that’s what a proctor is in most universities outside Oxford and Cambridge.”
The Proctor’s Office has recently used Facebook to track down photos of students trashing each other after exams.
Dr Blackmon commented that: “The students were surprised, as they didn’t think the Proctors could use Facebook and it resulted in a lot of people being caught trashing who had then put pictures of themselves on Facebook ‘in the act’.”
“It was interesting to see how quickly the Proctors are able to pick up on new technology for such an old – practically medieval! – institution. They have to keep on the leading edge,” she added.