More than 500 University Centre Weston (UCW) students celebrated achieving their degrees at three graduation ceremonies held in the town on Saturday (24th September).
Students in their mortarboards and gowns walked in processions to St John the Baptist Church for the ceremonies, where they enjoyed an inspiring speech from former triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington and received scrolls to signify their academic achievements.
As well as being the largest ever group to graduate from UCW, the graduates of 2016 are also among the most successful, with close to a quarter of Honours students achieving First Class degrees – above the national average of 19%.
Staff from Bath Spa University and the University of the West of England, Bristol – UCW’s partner universities – were also in attendance to share the special day with the graduates.
Anthony Murray, UCW’s Vice Principal Higher Education, said: “It is always wonderful to celebrate the many successes of our students, and graduation at UCW keeps getting bigger and better.
“We are especially proud of our students in a year where UCW has achieved a fantastic outcome in the Higher Education Review, which saw independent assessors endorse our academic standards and praise how we teach and support our students.
“Almost all of the students who graduated last year are now either working or in further studies, and I’m sure that this year’s graduates also have bright futures ahead of them.”
Among the many UCW success stories this year are the 47% of graduates on the Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computing being awarded First Class Honours.
Course Coordinator Joe Abdulgani said: “These brilliant results reflect their talent and dedication and I’m really pleased everyone had such a memorable and enjoyable day.”
Every piece of coursework submitted and every exam taken by Rimante Zagreckaite, aged 21, on her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with Sustainability was marked as a First, and she was surprised on Saturday by her father and brother flying in especially from Lithuania to see her graduate.
India Lawton, aged 21, who won the prestigious BDC New Designer of the Year Award at the New Designers Exhibition in London in July, graduated with a First after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
India is moving to London this week having secured a graphic design role with Amazon.
She said: “After winning the award earlier in the summer and then finding out about the First and getting my job, this has been a great way to celebrate and say goodbye to UCW.”
The processions were fronted by a samba band and singer Marvin Muoneke.
The 20-year-old, who impressed judges on The Voice last year and has toured Britain with a musical over the summer, has progressed from UCW’s Foundation degree in Popular Music on to its new Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music Performance and Production.
John Byrne, aged 51, achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Counselling despite having suffered from throat cancer during the academic year.
Thankfully now in remission, John’s lecturers supported him while he was in hospital and he was able to keep up with his studies while receiving treatment.
He said: “I couldn’t have made a better decision than enrolling with UCW, and I think I speak for every graduate in saying a big thank you to our families and friends for supporting us and sharing this special day with us.”