Rotherham College celebrated the achievements of its higher education students at the fourth annual Higher Education Graduation Ceremony on Saturday 26th September.
The ceremony, which took place at the iconic Rotherham Minster, commemorated the success of graduates from the College’s university-level courses. The congregation was full of proud family and friends, ready to watch graduates collect their certificates and join in with the euphoric celebrations.
Now a College tradition, a procession of staff and VIP’s marked the opening of the ceremony by making their way from the College’s Town Centre Campus through Rotherham Town Centre to the Minster.
Led by drummers and bagpipes from the Yorkshire Regiment of Pipes and Drums, the spectacle, had shoppers and passers-by delving for their cameras and phones to capture the sea of mortarboards and graduation gowns.
Upon the arrival of the procession at the ceremony, Principal and Chief Executive of Rotherham College, Gill Alton, provided a welcoming address and praised the hard work and commitment of the graduates.
“Always remember – nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, belief and action,” she said.
“This is not the end. You will now embark on the next stage of your journey and I hope the time you have spent with us and the skills and knowledge you’ve gained will help you pursue highly successful careers and develop the confidence and belief in yourself to pursue your dreams.”
Guests and graduates also had the chance to hear from guest speakers Lisa Pogson and Steve Mehdi.
Lisa is the Director at Airmaster, a local mechanical services company, and Vice President of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. She is also a former Rotherham College student and lecturer.
Lisa said: “Use your confidence and enthusiasm to seek out opportunities. If someone says you can’t achieve something then prove them wrong.”
Steve Mehdi is a former steel worker turned sculptor. He has worked on a number of private and public commissions and spent the last five years developing the Yorkshire Man of Steel project with private and public sector partners.
Paying recognition to the academic accolades earned by the students, Steve said: “This is a milestone in your life and is the beginning of a long journey which is full of events and surprises.”
After the ceremony, students posed for photographs outside the picturesque surroundings of the Minster and nearby gardens, which is home to Medhi’s Rotherham Heart of Steel, before returning to the College campus with canapés provided by Rotherham College catering students.
Ken Barrass, Chair of Governors at Rotherham College, acknowledged principal Gill Alton for her continued development of higher education at the College and shifting the emphasis firmly onto the student success, particularly raising the profile of the graduation ceremony.
Ken said: “Her vision and drive has spearheaded plans for the new higher education campus at Doncaster Gate, plans for which have the full support of the borough and shows the appreciation for Gill’s contribution to Rotherham College.”