Students of all ages came together on Saturday 29th September 2012 to celebrate their achievements at the very first Graduation Ceremony hosted by Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.
More than sixty Higher Education students from the college gathered to mark the successful completion of their courses in the spectacular graduation ceremony held at Rotherham Minster.
Although the college has offered Higher Education courses for a number of years, this was the first time students, their families, guests, dignitaries and college staff had come together for a ceremony of this kind.
The high-profile event started with heads being turned, smiles raised and best wishes being offered by shoppers as, led by the Concord Youth Music band, staff and guests processed in traditional academic ‘cap and gown’ from the college’s Wentworth Building through the town centre to the Minster.
Packed into the Minster, students’ families watched with pride as students from 15 courses shook hands with guest of honour James Toseland, the former Superbike World Champion, before being handed their certificate. James then spoke inspirationally about the goals he had set himself in life and his achievements – including his recent marriage to singer Katie Melua.
Graduates and guests also heard from Rotherham born Jackie Freeborn, Chief Executive of Business and Education South Yorkshire who spoke about the inspiration that seeing the graduates gave her.
Rebecca Mollart, a current Rotherham College degree student and Director of a social enterprise company, Are You Ready, gave a grateful note of thanks to the college on behalf of fellow students.
In between the speeches Andrew Frost, a former music student of the college turned professional musician, provided soulful entertainment on his guitar.
After the ceremony, students posed for photographs outside the Minster and in the nearby gardens before returning to the college campus for an informal lunch.
Claire Maidens, who had graduated from one the college’s teaching qualifications, was amongst those celebrating. Claire said she “felt wonderful, fantastic, it’s been a really, really nice morning. The best thing though is to be able to come and celebrate something that is actually bringing money in – doing my course has helped me land a really good job.”
Principal and Chief Executive Gill Alton said: “Graduation is a special moment to be proud of and it is wonderful that this event in the amazing surroundings of Rotherham Minster will be the first of many such celebrations for our students. I warmly congratulate every successful student.”
Assistant Principal for Post-19 Studies, Ann Hardy said: “The event recognised the success of our students but also highlighted in a very public way the opportunities for Higher Education study that exist now in Rotherham. We wanted to inspire, as well as celebrate.”
Congratulations to our Higher Education students who graduated on the 29th September 2012