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Double delight as University of Gloucestershire celebrates class of 2020 and 2021

The achievements of thousands of University of Gloucestershire graduates from 2020 and 2021 will be celebrated during two weeks of Graduation ceremonies at Cheltenham Racecourse this month.

After last year’s graduation ceremonies were postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions, the University and Students’ Union has organised a festival-style fortnight to honour graduands from the past two years. This will recognise the many challenges they have faced in securing their qualifications and celebrate the resilience and commitment they have shown in order to succeed.

The celebrations will get underway with a Chancellor’s Reception and Exhibition for invited guests on Monday, November 15, showcasing the students’ work, as well as the University’s research expertise and exciting developments for the future.

Ceremonies for 2021 graduands will then begin on November 17, with the 2020 graduation ceremonies taking place at the racecourse the following week. The Students’ Union have also organised a graduation party at Pittville Pump Room, headlined by Radio 1 DJ, Jordan North.

Smiling faces at the 2019 Graduation Ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse

Over the two weeks, more than 4,000 graduands will attend the ceremonies with their families and friends. They will be joined by an array of distinguished guests, with 19 honorary fellowships and doctorates set to be awarded.

The University confers honorary awards on individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in Gloucestershire, nationally or on the international stage.

This year, the list of recipients includes Sir Jeremy Fleming KCMG CB, Director General of GCHQ; Chris Evans, horticulturalist and founder of The Butterfly Garden in Cheltenham; Rob Fountain, Chief Executive Officer of Age UK Gloucestershire, and Jaz Coleman, music producer and classical composer.

The full list of recipients can be found on the honorary awards page.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Following the considerable challenges of the past 18 months, we’re very much looking forward to honouring the achievements of the Class of 2020 and 2021 by hosting two weeks of celebrations, reflecting the enormous pride we feel in our students and staff.

“Our 2020 graduands told us that they would prefer to postpone their ceremonies to celebrate with us in person than hold them online.

“The enforced delay will mean that we appreciate the opportunity all the more to come together with our graduands, their families and friends, and our special guests. It promises to be a very special fortnight.

“We’re also very proud to announce the names of such an outstanding group of individuals as recipients of honorary doctorates and fellowships.

“The awards recognise the valuable contributions that each one of the recipients has made to their respective fields and areas of expertise, and to our society as a whole.”

Celebrations at the 2019 Graduation Ceremony

Natalie Caruth is graduating in the class of 2021 with a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education (QTS), having recently started as a Year 4 Early Career Teacher in a primary school in Kensington.

She said: “I never thought that as a student from the ‘class of covid’ that I’d actually be able to attend my graduation, face-to-face with all my peers, lecturers and colleagues from the last three years.

“I feel so lucky we get to celebrate together, not only graduating and beginning our teaching careers, but the shared solidarity we have shown and our commitment to education through some of our toughest days yet.

“On the whole, I’m thankful for the tough times thrown at me. I’ve learned not only my degree content, but many more skills that will stand me in good stead for my future career as a primary teacher.

“I’m grateful that I can stand proud at Cheltenham Racecourse, cloaked in my gown and mortar board, surrounded by my friends and family.”