Class of 2018 Celebrates Graduation

5 November 2018

Over 300 people saw over 139 students gain higher education qualifications at the annual Easton and Otley College graduation ceremony.

The occasion saw students from across East Anglia and beyond, collect certificates that are affiliated to both the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Huddersfield at a ceremony that took place at the Norfolk campus of the college.

During the occasion, college principal, Jane Townsend, reflected on the last 12 months, a year that has seen the development of new higher education pathways in sport and the creation of a brand new degree based on crime, terrorism and global security.

And in a message to the students, she said, “You will always remain part of our family – enjoy your journey and we look forward to hearing about your progress.”

Vice Chancellor of the UEA, David Richardson was in attendance. He talked about how he will continue to explore how the UEA can develop the partnership with Easton and Otley and co–create exciting opportunities for students in and beyond the region.

He added, “I doff my cap to you (the students) and congratulate you - so well done. I’m hugely proud to be here.”

In addition to the general ceremony, every year the college hands out a series of special awards.

One of the award winners from Norfolk included Ellen Lincoln from West Caister. Ellen received the student of the year award – thanks in part for gaining a first class equitation and coaching degree.

One of the award winners from Suffolk included Robert Nesbitt from Lowestoft who received an award for academic engagement.

A citation was read out during this occasion by the programme area leader for higher education, Emma Claridge, explaining the reasons behind Mr Nesbitt’s award. She said, “In his first year I clearly recall a call from Robert’s hospital bed after some significant surgery in which he asked what he could do to ensure he kept up to speed with his course. Whilst on the programme he displayed a truly positive and highly reflective attitude to his work and the wider higher education experience. His commitment was truly inspirational.”

Mr Nesbitt was asked to make a speech on behalf the class of 2018 at the ceremony. Before this event, the 23 year old sports coach, said, “I’ve was here three years and it’s been fantastic. It’s been more of a success then I thought it would be. I overcame brain surgery and meningitis. The second year was a lot smoother. The third year was challenging and emotional.”

He continued, “Graduating is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Ever since year nine when I was told by my local education authority that I wouldn’t even sit my GCSEs – so this for me (graduating) is a turning point in proving people wrong.”

Summing up his time at the college, he said, “The course leaders are amazing and they supported me and the college is such an open and welcoming environment. Overall I’m proud of myself, my family and proud of all the college staff.”

Former chair of governors of the college – Sally Bendall also received an honorary degree during the ceremony.

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