University College Isle of Man (UCM) hosted its annual ceremony to recognise the hard work and academic achievements of higher education students at the Villa Marina, Douglas.
This year, it is believed that UCM was one of the only higher education institutions in the British Isles, to be holding a live, non-socially distanced ceremony. In addition to that, Manx graduates from UK based universities, who had been unable to attend their own ceremonies, due to covid-19 restrictions, were also invited to take part in the event.
The event saw more than 80 higher education students from UCM, and 30 Manx graduates from other universities, take to the stage to receive recognition for obtaining their qualifications.
This year, 45% of UCM students achieved a first-class degree, with 87% of all foundation and undergraduate degree students achieving either a first-class or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent.
Chief Minister, Hon Howard Quayle MHK, opened the ceremony, by expressing his congratulations for the hard work and achievements of so many students. The Chief Minister also acknowledged how at a critical time in their education, the world faced great uncertainty, he praised the graduates for their determination, persistence and drive to achieve their goals throughout these difficult times, and wished them every success for their future.
Every year, UCM select an individual to be awarded the title of Honorary Fellow, an award which provides visible recognition of individuals who actively contribute to the work and vision of UCM.
This year, Professor Peter Edge, was chosen for his contribution to the history and heritage degree programme and his involvement with the #UCMtalks series. Professor Edge has also worked closely with members of Tynwald, and more recently, has partnered with UCM to submit a major research funding proposal to the Leverhulme Trust, exploring the Impact of the ‘European Project’ on the IOM, Channel Islands and Gibraltar.
The event also saw local restaurants and hotels come together and show their support by kindly offering various discounts to all graduating students, for post ceremony celebrations at their establishments. Businesses included: Barbary Coast Grill & Bar, Bonds Restaurant, Coast Bar & Brasserie, The Claremont, Da Vinci’s Bar, Flavours Indian Cuisine, Gandhi Indian Restaurant, Jaks Bar & Steakhouse, Kurries & Steak, Liberties Restaurant & Lounge, Mannin Hotel, Sir Norman’s, The Sefton, Thai Thai and The Ocean Views.
Addressing the graduates in her closing speech, Jo Pretty, Principal of UCM, said “This year has been an incredibly challenging year, both academically, and also personally for our students. It has been a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of so many graduating higher education students who have worked tremendously hard this year, despite the circumstances.”
Jo added, “The opportunity to also celebrate Manx graduates from other universities, feels all the more special, as we come together to show strength and unity, after such a challenging covid-19 year.”
The 2020 Student of the Year award was presented to Callum Staley, BSc (Hons) Computer Science for the outstanding dedication and commitment he has shown in his studies. Recently, his dissertation project on AI Computer Vision Image Recognition won him the Dissertation Showcase for the Research Festival 2020.
To find out more information about UCM degree and postgraduate courses, members of the public are invited to attend UCM Higher Education Open Day at the Nunnery campus on 14th October 2020, from 4pm.