Over 2500 people came to Plymouth Guildhall this week (28& 29 October) for the University of St Mark & St John’s Graduation Ceremonies.
Students, family and academics from the University gathered in ceremonial gowns and mortarboards, as final year students from the Faculty of Education & Social Sciences and the Faculty of Sport & Health Sciences crossed the stage to waves of applause.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Cara Aitchison congratulated the graduands, saying: “Today marks a momentous occasion on your journey through life. What you have accomplished, and how you will go on to excel, will extend far beyond the certificate you will receive as you cross the stage in the fine surroundings of Plymouth Guildhall.
“Today we commend academic success together with a wide range of other successes taking place outside of the classroom: in pursuits such as acting, music and sport; in volunteering to help others in our communities, schools and churches; and in professional practice in business, education and health. We also congratulate you on the many personal challenges and triumphs you have experienced: the friendships that have been forged and made stronger; the identities that have grown stronger and more confident; and the beliefs and values that you have no doubt debated so vigorously.
“We are proud of our 2014 ranking as the UK’s top university for social mobility. This accolade identifies the University of St Mark & St John as the most successful institution in recruiting students from diverse backgrounds and ensuring they leave with degrees and secure graduate level employment. This mission remains true to our origins of 1838 when the College of St John was formed in Battersea to take boys off the streets of south London and train them to be tutors to other young boys, thus lifting them and their families out of poverty. The majority of our graduates are now women and we educate students from across the UK and in over fifty countries around the world. I hope you will continue to be true to yourself and that you will remain open to learning.”
Joining the graduates were individuals receiving honorary awards for outstanding contributions in their field; Professor John Gardner, Senior Deputy Principal from University of Stirling, Mrs Angela Mortimer Barrett former World number one British tennis player, Mrs Bushra Nasir CBE, the first Muslim female head teacher of a secondary school in the UK, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester and Lindsey Hall CEO of the Real Ideas Organisation.
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