Graduation Week 2023 begins

16 October 2023
Time to read
6 min read
Graduates dressed in graduation robes throwing their mortar board hats into the air on Ipswich Waterfront
2023 graduates celebrate

A week of graduation ceremonies kicked off at the University of Suffolk over the weekend, with hundreds of students celebrating their achievements with family, friends and staff.

Graduation began at Great Yarmouth Minster on Friday where students based at East Coast College were given their degree certificates. They were joined by honorary graduate Zeb Soanes - the Classic FM presenter, children's author and former BBC Radio 4 presenter.

On Saturday, St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds hosted ceremonies for University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College graduates, while at the Ipswich campus ceremonies began on Saturday morning and were held throughout the weekend, including for students based at the London School of Commerce, Suffolk New College, those on teacher training programmes and Ipswich-based students.

The ceremonies are being held in a special marquee on the Waterfront and will continue throughout the week, culminating on Thursday afternoon.

Joining the thousands of Suffolk students are five honorary graduates with strong Suffolk roots.

Lowestoft born-and-raised broadcaster and author Zeb Soanes, who penned the Gaspard the Fox children's books and has been a newsreader and presenter on BBC television and radio, was the first to be honoured on Friday.

Zeb, who was joined by his parents from Lowestoft for the afternoon ceremony and is continuing to raise money for a Benjamin Britten statue to be erected in the town, said: "It means the most coming from Suffolk. Suffolk is very much at the heart of who I am, and even though work has been, by necessity, in London for the past quarter of a century, Suffolk is an essential part of me.

"I was very happy to encourage graduates that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard."

On Monday, Cathy Ryan MBE will be honoured alongside nursing students for her work in the health sector, as well as for her charitable work supporting healthcare among Aboriginal communities and those with dementia or needing end-of-life care.

Wednesday will see renowned Suffolk dialect expert Charlie Haylock become an honorary graduate, before former Ipswich mayor and Ipswich Caribbean Association founding member Hamil Clarke MBE is recognised that evening.

On Thursday morning, Ann Osborn from the Rural Coffee Caravan and founder of the 500 Suffolk Reasons initiative to help those in financial crisis, will be awarded an honorary doctorate.

Professor Helen Langton MBE, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Suffolk, said: "Graduation week is a really special time for our graduates, their families and friends, and colleagues at the University of Suffolk, as we all celebrate their hard work and achievements while looking ahead to their future careers alongside the peers and staff who have helped them on their journey.

"Our campus is buzzing with activity, and we wish our graduates all the very best in their future endeavours."

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