University Centre Somerset’s Classes of 2020 and 2021 have donned their gowns and mortarboards and celebrated their graduation at Wellsprings Leisure Centre in Taunton.
Over 700 students completed their university-level or professional qualifications at UCS in 2020 and 2021, in subjects ranging from agricultural management to fine art and accounting to motorsport engineering.
Among the guests attending across the four ceremonies were staff, parents, governors, and VIPs including Councillor Susan Lees, Mayor of Taunton.
UCS welcomed two guest speakers to address graduates and guests; Fayth Mealing, a UCS engineering alumni who works for the Ministry of Defence and Ethna Bashford, Director of Patient Care at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
Five years ago, student awards were introduced to recognise the outstanding commitment and dedication shown by students.
- Student of the Year 2020 was jointly awarded to Samia Vanstone, BA (Hons) media make-up, and Zara Rizzuti-Wattam, BA (Hons) early childhood studies
- Student of the Year 2021 was awarded to Nikita Binding, BA (Hons) business management
- Best Final Project or Dissertation 2020 was won by Kara Lockie, BA (Hons) business management top-up
- Best Final Project or Dissertation 2021 was jointly awarded to Naomi Beard, BSc (Hons) animal management top-up, and Sophie Gilroy, BA (Hons) fine art
- The Principal’s Prize 2020 was awarded to Jessica Boulton, BA (Hons) fashion design
- The Principal’s Prize 2021 was awarded to Adam Jones, BA (Hons) business management
- The University of Plymouth Academic Partnership Prize 2020 was won by Jacques Luckins, who studied the Foundation Degree in agricultural management
- The University of Plymouth Academic Partnership Prize was won by Andrew Smith, BSc (Hons) agricultural management top-up
As is customary at UCS graduations, each ceremony was brought to a close with a student vote of thanks speech, written and delivered by students who had been nominated by their lecturers. The four students were Jessica Boulton, Holly Arkell, Fionnoula Finnegan, and Matt Ludlam, who said: “Graduation acts not as an end but rather a new beginning of exciting future opportunities, and when I look around at my fellow graduates I see a room full of people who have already proven that they are more than capable of rising to them.”
Andy Berry, Principal and Chief Executive of University Centre Somerset, said: “The recent pandemic affected us all, but I am proud to stand here seeing before me the graduates of 2020 and 2021. I know as graduates you faced challenges others will never have to encounter, but am sure your ability to adapt and determination to succeed will stand you in good stead in your future careers.”