DEDICATION, hard work and success have been celebrated in style at the University of Chichester’s graduation ceremonies.
A sea of smiling faces flocked to the Festival Theatre to mark the long-awaited milestones of the 2012 graduates.
Hundreds of black cloaks descended on the theatre, with delighted friends and relatives turning out in full force to mark the achievement and success of their loved ones.
The university held seven individual ceremonies over the weekend, awarding a total of 1,306 delighted students with their much-deserved academic accolades.
“It is a wonderful day and is the best day of the academic year. It is a day to celebrate the achievement of our students and the support they have had from their friends, family and supporters,” said vice chancellor professor Clive Behagg.
“We have had more ceremonies than ever before because the university is growing, 1,306 students are being watched by 5,500 people, it is a wonderful experience.”
Families, friends and students grinning from ear-to-ear witnessed an electric atmosphere which marked the closure of an old chapter and the opening of another.
“All the students have worked hard and the idea of the graduation ceremony is the students have completed one journey by receiving their awards and begun their next journey so they are now going to find themselves jobs,” added Mr Behagg.
Emma Piper, 22, from Lancing, achieved a 2:2 in early childhood studies. She said: “It is nerve-racking and exciting at the same time, but really nice to see people again. I intend to do a PGCE and go into primary teaching, I am really happy.”
Jack Driscoll, 27, from Horsham, achieved a masters degree in primary education.
“I feel very proud and very tired,” he said. “It has been two years of very hard work and we have been studying whilst we work full time as teachers, so it is a big relief to have done it, we’re very happy.”
Among those receiving special awards was Sarah Tenters, who received the Barbara Smith prize for ‘the best all round student equipped to become an excellent teacher’.
Sarah Tenters, from Fareham, achieved a first class honours in primary education and teaching.
“Sarah was an excellent student from day one. She was very thorough, very efficient in the way she worked and very thoughtful. She is an absolute star in the classroom and I am very proud of her,” said Dr Vini Lander, head of the primary education programme.