The mortar boards were flying as the University of Bedfordshire Class of 2023 came together with friends and family to celebrate across 18 graduation ceremonies.
The formal graduations took place in July for both undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Faculties of Education, English & Sport, Creative Arts, Technologies & Science, Health & Social Sciences and the Business School, to signify the completion of their studies.
Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice Chancellor, joined the celebrations and in her speech to graduates, she urged them to ‘live a good life’. She said:
“A good life is one where you use your talents. You are now graduates, highly skilled and educated to a very high level. To have achieved all this is a privilege and with privilege comes responsibility. I hope you will use your talents not just in pursuit of your own career goals but to the wider benefit of society. A good life is an honest life, one where you live by high moral principles, where you set an example to others. Being trusted by those around you, being recognised as a good person is a very great achievement.”
On the first day of ceremonies, graduates were able to help celebrate the official installation of author, screenwriter and journalist, Sarfraz Manzoor, who was announced as the new Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire.
Addressing the audience of graduates, Sarfraz said:
“We’ve got two lives – one we are given and the other we make. The life you’re given, you may not always be in control of. It may be one where your class, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation may hold you back – but you’re more than that. So don’t forget where you came from but don’t be a prisoner to it. And do what you love!”
A number of Guests of Honour were also invited to present inspirational speeches during the ceremonies, including Co-Founder of the new Tennis Black List and School of Sport Science & Physical Activity alumnus, Richard Sackey-Addo. Since his own graduation, Richard has gone on to have a successful career in the tennis industry and campaigns passionately for increasing diversity and inclusion in sport.
There was an emotional moment during one of the ceremonies for the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences as a posthumous award was presented to guest Bryanna Petrie, in honour of her late mother and Social Work student, Carolyn Petrie. Bryanna crossed the stage to receive her mother’s degree certificate and received a standing ovation from academic staff seated on the podium.