Family graduates en masse

Six siblings who all attended Oxford over a period of more than 20 years will graduate together next month. The O’Malley children went to five different colleges and none of them chose to graduate immediately after finishing their degrees, so have decided to attend the ceremony en masse. They will graduate from New College on 5th November, in what is thought to be the largest ever number of siblings to graduate all at once.

Charles O’Malley, who studied at Oriel, was the third sibling to attend Oxford. He explained their reasons for not graduating at the time, saying, “When my older brother and sister finished their degrees they went travelling almost immediately and simply weren’t in the country to graduate with their friends. Then I was at Oxford with one of my younger brothers and we began to think it might be worth waiting before picking up our degrees. After my youngest brother left about ten years ago, we then wanted to wait for him to qualify for his MA before we all graduated together.”

The family deliberated over attending a graduation ceremony for a while, but struggled to find a college which could accommodate the six of them. Two of the siblings attended New College and it was there where they managed to find space for the family to graduate together.

To the O’Mallleys’ surprise, they have found themselves the centre of a significant amount of media attention. The graduation featured in the Sunday Times, and both the BBC and Sky have expressed an interest in covering the event. Tom O’Malley said of the press coverage, “We realised it was unusual for all six of us to go to Oxford; the degree ceremony felt like our own celebration of that, but I hadn’t thought that six siblings graduating together would be of wider interest.”

Charles added, “obviously that’s adding a level of excitement to the day, but otherwise we’re just looking forward to a nice family day out.”

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Rebekah Unwin, a representative of New College, said, “The staff here can’t remember the last time so many siblings graduated together and we were very happy to offer the family the opportunity to do so. It must be wonderful for the parents to see all their children round off their experience of Oxford together.” Tom reiterated this, saying, “I am looking forward to a family get together. I am more pleased for my parents – the collective achievement is theirs.”