Dressed in mortarboards and gowns, the sight of hundreds of graduands stepping up to receive their honours degrees from Bradford College Principal, Michele Sutton, OBE, filled parents, family and friends with pride during the annual Festival of Achievement.
The Graduation Ceremonies, held at St. George’s Hall, Bradford, recognise the achievements of students graduating from degree programmes validated by Leeds Metropolitan University, BTEC, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Association of Accounting Technician's.
This year a record number of students, over 1500, successfully completed Higher Education and professional courses at Bradford College.
Mr Richard Wightman, Chairman of the Corporation opened the ceremony, before handing over to Bradford College Principal and Chief Executive, Michele Sutton, OBE. Guest speakers also in attendance at the Graduation Ceremonies helped present awards to the graduands with Principal, Michele Sutton. Executive Director for Teaching, Learning and Curriculum, Mr Mike Harwood officiated the proceedings as the Master of Ceremonies at the memorable event.
In her opening address, Michele Sutton, OBE said: “Lord Mayor, Vice Chairman, distinguished members of Bradford College and Leeds Metropolitan University, Pro Vice Chancellor, honoured guests, colleagues and friends. Today we are celebrating the achievements of our graduands, diplomates and certificands, in a way that continues tradition and history and also looks forward to their future.”
Michele continued: “I now want to address you the graduands who have come to this prestigious occasion to receive your hard earned awards. I know that you have spent many years studying and working hard to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. Your commitment to the achievement of your degree will have been tested. Many of you will have given up a great deal to pursue your qualification. Undoubtedly, you will have had the support of your families, partners, children and friends without whom this would not have been possible and I am sure that you would want me to thank them for being there for you.”
“I also know that learning is a partnership between you and your tutors. Their skills and expertise have been dedicated to your learning. They take great pleasure in seeing you flourish and many of them are here today to celebrate your achievement with you.”
Speaking passionately to the graduands Michele said: “You are very special. You represent the future. When you leave this hall today you will be joining a growing number of people in this country with a higher education qualification be that a Masters, a degree, diploma or certificate. Your education and qualification will open doors for you. Your skills in a knowledge economy will enable you to earn more than people without qualifications and will contribute not only to your own and your families prosperity, but also that of your city.” With great pride Michele added: “Be an ambassador for Bradford College, Leeds Metropolitan University, the City of Bradford and for learning.”
Michele concluded: “I don’t underestimate how important the day is to you and your family and friends. Not only should you be proud of your own achievements, your family and friends, your tutors and employers and I am proud of you too. Please accept our congratulations and best wishes for your future and most of all enjoy your day. Well done!”
Graduation day undoubtedly occupies a unique place in the lives of every graduate, marking the successful completion of academic achievements. Wearing their academic gowns, graduates beamed with delight as they walked from the hall – the ceremony providing a glittering climax to academic life.
Looking forward to the future with optimism, graduands, family and friends expressed their delight at attending the memorable event…
26 year old Law graduate, Michelle Sharkey was thrilled to attend her graduation ceremony. Commenting on the historic event, Michelle said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be here to finally collect my certificate.”
When asked what inspired Michelle to pursue a career in Law, Michelle replied: “It was actually my mum. She came here and did a Law Degree before me. I used to sit down and read her books and think I can do this.”
Michelle is no strangers to recognition for her achievements. Earlier this year Michelle was awarded the Oxford University Press Prize for the Best Performance in LLB2 Legal Skills. Remarking on her great achievements, Michelle said: “I feel that I’ve really come on and strived to succeed in the last two years. I’ve had lots of support from the tutors, my friends and family.”
Mother of two, Michelle continued: “I did GCSEs when I was 16. After that I was out of education for about nine years. I came in as a mature student. I worked part-time, which meant there were lots of late nights studying… sometimes I didn’t get any sleep, but its been worth it to realise my ambitions and graduate today.”
Michelle added: “Anyone can do it. If you feel like you want to achieve something then just go ahead and do it!”
Proud parents Joe and Penny McGoverin spoke of their joy as they came to watch their son Peter graduate. Peter is deaf. This has made him all the more determined to succeed and realise his ambitions. Mother, Penny said: “Peter has worked very hard. It’s wonderful to be here today to watch him graduate.”
Father, Joe added: “I feel very proud!”
When asked how Business Studies student Peter felt to be graduating, he replied: “Proud! Its been a challenge but worthwhile.”
Mother of two, Sharon Hodgson completed her Business Studies Degree whilst working fulltime. When asked how Sharon had managed to juggle College life with the commitments of bringing up a family, Sharon smiled and replied: “It’s down to time management and being able to juggle many balls at the same time.”
Law graduand, Zanele Nyoni graduation day marked the successful achievement of years of dedicated study to realise her ambitions. Hardworking Zanele is no stranger to success as the winner of an ICLR Mooting Competition Prize and the African Academic Achievement Award. Zanele also scooped three awards last year.
Commenting on the memorable day, Zanele said: “I’m really happy to be here today with the friends I’ve made on the course. Zanele’s husband and mother attended the graduation ceremony to see her collect her certificate. With great happiness, Zanele’s mother said: “I’m very proud of her. She’s a very hard working girl – she really deserves to be here today, enjoying her graduation.”
Zanele’s husband, Stephen Lynch added: “I feel very proud of her. I’m fully committed in supporting Zanele with her career and where she wants to go. I don’t know anyone who works as hard in pushing themselves to get the marks that she’s achieved!”
When asked how Business Studies graduate Danny Sroda felt to have achieved a first-class honours degree, Danny replied: “Very pleased. Its changed the way I view myself... its given me more confidence, making me feel better about myself. I’m just grateful to Bradford College for giving me the opportunity to succeed.”
Danny has enjoyed his experience of Bradford College so much, he intends to continue his studies with us and further his education and passion for learning. Danny added: “I’m doing my Masters at the College because it’s affordable, local and standard of teaching is fantastic… it’s unbelievable.”
Whilst studying for her Business Studies Degree, Sally Greenwood gave birth to her first child. When asked how Sally had managed to juggle pregnancy, birth and the demands of being a new mother with completing her studies, Sally explained: “I had six weeks off over Easter, so I only missed about four or five lessons. It was hard but it was worthwhile in the end.” Sally was delighted to attend her graduation ceremony, and added: “It’s a proud day for me and my family.”
Ruth Kelly studied for a HNC in Business Studies. With great happiness Ruth said: “I feel very excited! It’s wonderful to have my family here today to help me celebrate this achievement.”
Ruth continued: “I came to Bradford College as an employee and thought – why not! And they’ve supported me all the way through. Now I’m progressing on to study at degree level. ”
International students Xi Ming Wang and Ski Ting Beng came to Bradford to study Business from China. Speaking before the graduation ceremony began, student Xi Ming said: “My experience of Bradford College has been good. The tutors have been really helpful and friendly.”
With great delight, Ski Ting added: “I’m very, very happy today!”
Commenting before the graduation ceremony began, Law graduand Yasmin said: “I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m proud and excited to be here today.”
Yasmin added: “The course has been excellent. I’ve met some fabulous people. I’m glad to see them all again today, to share in this wonderful experience”
Mature student Peter came back into education to study Law. Peter explained: “I used to have a little business making bagpipes. I wanted a change in career, so I decided to come back and study Law.”
David Ho and Andrew Perkins were proud to be graduating with a Certificate in Management Studies. When asked how they felt to have achieved their goals, Andrew remarked: “Fantastic. Its been the next step really!” As a Chartered Surveyor for Bradford Council, Andrew went on to explain that completing the course had advanced his career. Adding: “I’ve enjoyed my experience of Bradford College.”
David continued: “I’ve got the learning bug now. I’ve completed my PCET, the CMS and now I intend to study at degree level at Bradford College.”