Images: William Ahmed | Web Manager
Words: Shelby Loasby | Head of Print
Graduation is undoubtedly one of the biggest accomplishments in someone’s life. After years of studying, months of stress, and countless nights spent crying in the Learning Resources Centres, students become proud graduates of a well deserved degree.
After catching up with graduates at last week’s ceremony on 8th September, Trident Media returned to the iconic St. Albans Abbey to watch students of the School of Humanities take to the stage.
Once inside the monumental Abbey, a group of musicians set the scene as floods of friends and family pushed through the entrance in a bid to find the best seats. Big screens showing a live feed of the day lined the walls, and members of staff frantically ran around ensuring that the ceremony would be an unforgettable day for the hundreds of anticipating students.
Once the Abbey was full to the brim, the graduation ceremony began. Professors, doctors and lecturers within the School of Humanities made up the procession led by Vice-Chancellor Professor Quintin McKellar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ian Campbell.
After brief introductions of the faculty, the Dean of St. Albans Abbey, Jeffrey John, was awarded Doctor of Letters. He received the award with an emotional speech about his struggles with his faith and sexuality, and proceeded to thank the University for the honour of such an award, and wished the best to his fellow graduates.
This then led the way for the main graduation ceremony, which welcomed each student on to the stage to receive their certificate. Whilst the list went on, and more and more names were read out, it didn’t take away the massive sense of achievement in the room. From the faculty staff to the guests eagerly waiting with a camera or phone in hand, everyone was in awe of the hard work and commitment the students had put in over their time at university.
As the ceremony came to an end, graduate Rebecca Matthews took to the stage to congratulate her peers and to thank the University for making her time there, “Influential, enriching and enjoyable.”
“It’s me who should be thanking you,” said the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. “You are a credit to this University.”
Ian Campbell proceeded to conclude the formalities with a reflective speech, noting that every student would leave university with four characteristics that would guarantee them a happy and successful future:
“Self belief, motivation, focus and the ability to handle pressure and to bounce back from setbacks.”
Campbell added, “Remember to always go the extra mile in whatever you do and work hard.” And just before the doors swung open and graduates poured out of the Abbey, he said his final words;
“It astonishes me the range of shoes that have come across the stage at these ceremonies! It never fails to amaze me that certain individuals get to me without falling over. Should I dive in and save them? – And I’m just talking about the blokes!”
Once outside the Abbey, the sea of graduates were seen running over to family and friends, taking part in the inevitable hat throw, and soaking in the atmosphere that marked the start of a new chapter.
Amongst the crowd of the new excited alumni, was Alex Lowry, Laurie Hughes and Karan Jhajj.
Lowry, who studied Law, has loved every minute of university. “I’ve had so many memorable moments at uni, it’s hard to pick just one.” She added, “Something that has remained consistent is the wonderful friends that I have made along the way. I will forever be so grateful to them.”
Lowry went on to say that graduating was an incredible experience. “I don’t think that the feeling can be described!” She commented, “I’m looking forward to the future now, and I enjoyed uni so much that I am back again this year to study my LPC, which will take me one step closer to becoming a solicitor!”
Hughes, who studied English Literature and Philosophy, also described the graduation experience as something very special; “The sense of achievement you feel is awesome, and it is all enhanced by the grand Abbey setting where thousands of students have reflected on their education experience for hundreds of years!”
Newly graduated Jhajj, who studied History at Herts, also shed light on his university experience. “This is going to sound cheesy but my favourite memory of university had to be how eye opening my degree was.” He described the range of different modules he has studied over the three years and how committed his lectures have been.
“They help you in every way to improve your research and writing. I couldn’t speak highly enough of the members of staff who teach history.” Jhajj also added, “Graduation was a little surreal, but also a very proud moment! I can’t wait to get started on my Master’s!”
The team at Trident Media want to send their congratulations to all the graduates this year and to wish them all the best with their future endeavours! #UHGradsAreTheBestGrads!
More photos from the ceremony can be found on our Facebook page, and full footage of every graduation this September can be found on the University’s website.
Were you at graduation this month? Send us your photos at @TridentMediaUK