University of Leicester receives VIP visit

Our University has today welcomed a VIP from the United States of America.

It is a common misconception that ‘VIP’ always stands for Very Important Person. Actually, sometimes it stands for Very Important Per.

Per Hanson Weir, age 5, of Iowa USA received a warm welcome at the University of Leicester graduation ceremony held at De Montfort Hall.

Taking the stage with his mother, Marin Hanson – recognised today for her PhD in Museum Studies – Per Weir received a sustained round of applause from nearly 1,000 onlookers, and was seen to give a business-like nod to those watching the livestream from home.

Per Weir is believed to be the first five-year old to have taken centre-stage during a University of Leicester graduation ceremony.

University Chancellor, Lord Grocott, and Vice Chancellor and President Professor Paul Boyle were seen to be suitably impressed by the solemnity of the occasion; as were the assembled dignitaries and distinguished fellows.

This unusual presence was by request of Marin Hanson, who learned that she would be joined by an unexpected colleague in her studies soon after applying to the University. There has been very little of the five years of Marin’s PhD for which Per has been not been an invaluable support.

In the words of Head of School Professor Julie Coleman, this was a PhD earned by Marin Hanson, but ‘accompanied throughout' by Per Hanson Weir.

Speaking after the ceremony, Marin had warm words for the level of support given to her by her supervisor, Dr Sandra Dudley, and for the University: "I was able to study not just flexibly, but from thousands of miles away. This isn’t just about the support that can be given to students in Leicester, but a truly global programme."

Per Hanson Weir was understood to have turned his academic attentions to the dinosaur skeletons at New Walk, on which he graciously intended to bestow an afternoon visit.