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Barbara Small (1981)

No Small feat - Barbara's 36-year DPhil journey

June 2017

Graduate student Barbara Small will have her DPhil conferred on her in Michaelmas term - a mere 36 years after matriculating at Merton.

Barbara began her studies at Merton as a mature student in Michaelmas term 1981, reading for a postgraduate degree in Music, researching the life and works of Handel's secretary and amanuensis John Christopher Smith Jr (1712-1795) under the supervision of Dr Harry Johnstone of St Anne’s College. In Trinity term 1982 she successfully transferred status from Probationer to MLitt, and a year later from MLitt to DPhil. At that point personal circumstances meant that she had to return to California, leading her to request—and be granted—a number of extensions, but in Michaelmas term 1990 her status lapsed.

However, since then Barbara has continued to work on her thesis as other pressures permitted. Now aged 79, and with the full support both of her supervisor and of the College, she was reinstated to the register of students in Trinity term this year.

Barbara successfully defended her thesis on Monday 12 June, and will have the degree of DPhil conferred upon her at a degree ceremony in the Sheldonian in Michaelmas 2017. The College sends many congratulations to Barbara on her fantastic achievement.