Members Area

Cynthia Graham Kerr Cynthia Graham Kerr

Cynthia Graham Kerr

At the 2009 AGM on March 29th Cynthia Graham Kerr was elected President Emeritus.

Citation for the honouring of Mrs Cynthia Graham Kerr with ‘President Emeritus’

After 40 years at the head of SOAG, our Founder and President, Cynthia Graham Kerr - known to all, both inside and outside SOAG, simply as Cyn - has elected to take emeritus status. She has decided that this special occasion of the 40th Annual General Meeting and our 40th Anniversary Celebration, is the most appropriate time for this to take effect.

‘Emeritus’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘to earn by service’. It was used to refer to a ‘time served’ Roman soldier who received an honourable discharge after his years of active service, but is, and always will be, a member of the Roman Army. Its use nowadays, as here, is to confer prestige to someone in a high office who has served actively for a good number of years and no longer wishes to do so. All will agree I am sure that our most esteemed President has more than earned the right to this most prestigious title. In making first use of the new Constitution the Committee has much pleasure in granting Cyn's request and so from today, the 29th March 2009, the date of the 40th AGM, Cynthia Graham Kerr will hold the title of ‘President Emeritus’ of the South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group.

The granting of Emeritus does not mean that Cyn is retiring from all Presidential duties. Equally she will no longer be undertaking the full role of the President and in time the Committee will appoint a new President. But the award of President Emeritus ensures that Cyn retains her former title for life. She will ex officio be a non-executive officer of the Committee.

Cyn feels that the new title will more accurately reflect her senior status and advisory role in the Group – a role she has naturally grown into over the last five years as others have taken up the executive challenges in SOAG. She is particularly pleased to be continuing a family tradition: in 1935 her Father-in-Law, the highly esteemed Sir John Graham Kerr, became Emeritus Professor of Zoology at the University of Glasgow when he resigned the Chair that he had held since 1902 on becoming a Member of Parliament. I do not think Cyn has any intention of becoming a Member of Parliament, but she may care to reflect that Sir John held his Chair for 33 years, so she has outlasted him in office by 7 years!

SOAG was founded on 22nd May 1969 by Cyn and a small group of her enthusiastic friends, here in Whitchurch Hill and Cyn was early appointed President for life. For 35 years she ran the Group, taking a close, personal interest in all areas of activity, building a loyal core of members and ensuring that SOAG remained active in field archaeology. In 2004 Cyn formally handed over the remaining day-to-day administration of SOAG to the Committee and now, after a further five years in office, she is taking the well earned Emeritus status.

Cyn's most enduring legacy as President is without question the welcoming, relaxed and friendly atmosphere for which SOAG is so well known. It is a legacy that encourages active and enthusiastic participation and is one we will guard jealously for the future.

Honorary Members, Members, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Cynthia Graham Kerr, Founder, First President, and now President Emeritus of the South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group.

Ian Clarke