Celebrating diversity and enabling lifelong learning is key to the success of Orkney College UHI which held its graduation ceremony on Friday 28th of September in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.
Attending this year was HRH The Princess Royal who is Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Dr Bill Ross, Principal of Orkney College UHI, retiring this year was commended by Professor Clive Mulholland (Principal and Vice Chancellor) for the leadership he has given in driving the diversity which is such a central component of the work of the institution. Both Professor Mulholland and John Ross Scott (Chair of Orkney College Management Council) remarked on Dr Ross’s wider contribution in developing the ‘learning landscape’ of Orkney.
HRH The Princess Royal said that she was delighted to be in Orkney to celebrate the endeavours and achievements of the students.
“You will all enjoy this day. Take pride in what you have learned.”
She went on to outline the success of the University of the Highlands and Islands citing as an example the partnership working taking place. For the first time students of nursing have enrolled in Stornoway and Inverness. The annual UHI lecture, which last year took place in Orkney was also highlighted in her address.
The success of the UHI she stated was due to the dedication of the staff and the opportunities now created for research due to partnerships with local, national and international organisations.
Thanking parents, guardians, carers, friends and family, on behalf of the students, for their support she encouraged those graduating to keep in touch with the university.
HRH Princess Royal took time to speak to each recipient as she awarded them their degree.
Orkney’s traditional and future industries were all represented in the awards to the students. 286 students completed studies across a range of courses including Agriculture, Archaeology, Business Management, Education, Heritage, Early Education and Childcare, Social Care, Computing, Carpentry & Joinery, Accounting, Art & Design, Northern Studies and Hospitality.
There were several special awards presented to students in addition to their academic awards.
William Lowe received the Orkney College Undergraduate Student of the Year award in recognition of his exceptional academic achievement, contribution to life in the Archaeology Department and his work in engaging with the wider community at Orkney College UHI.
The Orkney College UHI Further Education student of the year was awarded to Vikki Thomson, who successfully completed an NC in Administration. Vikki was recognised for her resilient and positive approach to her studies whilst overcoming health challenges and for the use of technology during her studies. Vikki is continuing her studies at Orkney College UHI having just started the NC Computer Technologies with Games Design course.
The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association Class Rep of the Year Award was presented to Orkney College UHI student Graham Sinclair. Graham has been a dedicated class rep for the past 4 years and he has continuously ensured that the views of his peers were represented, as well as being involved in most activities within the college as a representative.
The ceremony also saw the awarding of sponsored prizes with local business awarding 26 class prizes.
Local businesses who contributed prizes are:
- Orkney Agricultural Society
- St Colms Centre
- Wellpark Garden Centre and The Willows Coffee Shop
- Hospitality Department – Orkney College UHI
- Royal Hotel
- Pickaquoy Centre
- NHS Orkney
- Andre Artymiuk
- Orkney Archaeology Society
- Soulisquoy Printmakers
- Pier Arts Centre
- Computer Science Dept Orkney College
- Business Dept Orkney College
- Orkney Construction Training Group
- Orkney Housing Association Ltd
- Art Dept Orkney College UHI
- Institute for Northern Studies
- Anne Artymiuk
- Orkney College UHI Culture and Heritage Dept
- Highland Society of London
- University of the Highlands and Islands
- Business Dept Orkney College UHI
- Highlands and Islands Student Association
- Orkney College UHI
After the ceremony a reception was held in Kirkwall Town Hall where those students who had gained special awards were able to meet with HRH Princess Royal.
The excellent food was provided by Orkney College UHI Hospitality Department Students.
There are significant changes ahead for Orkney College UHI with the retirement of Principal Dr Bill Ross and Vice Principal Issie Grieve. Change and progression with a high standard of education at all levels and with its key elements of diversity and lifelong learning will ensure Orkney College UHI continues on its successful path.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame