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Oscar winning director joins hundreds of graduates during second day of ceremonies

19 Oct 2016 7:30PM

Almost 500 graduating students converged upon the Ipswich Town Hall and Corn Exchange today for the second day of graduation ceremonies. Amongst them was Oscar winner and Suffolk resident Mat Kirkby who was presented with an Honorary Doctorate.

The Director of Academy Award Winning film The Phonecall told the audience of graduating students from the Department of Arts and Humanities “Success doesn’t happen without failure. For every big success I’ve had I’ve had 100 rejections. Before I got to make a video for Adele I’d had over 100 video ideas rejected. So I learnt to be thick skinned, be resilient, be patient, never give up. The good news is that you will get there; you can succeed, whether you’re from a little village in the middle of nowhere or your parents have no money, or your grades aren’t good. You can make it. But only if you keep going and only if you make failure and rejection your best friend. Real failure isn’t trying and failing; real failure is failing and then giving up completely.”

“My next bit of advice is to keep busy, make things, create, do things off your own back, don’t wait for someone to give you the opportunity, just get stuck in and do it yourself anyway. Do something every day to move you in the right direction. Once you’re in, and you get your lucky break, never chase money or awards, aim to make things you’re proud of, things you’re passionate about and then money, fame and awards might follow.”

Kelly Will from Ipswich graduated with an MA in Arts Practice. Two years ago Kelly underwent critical surgery on a large aneurysm in her brain at Addenbrooks Hospital. Now the 26 year old is looking ahead to starting a career as a teacher.

Kelly said “There aren’t words to describe how I feel, relieved I think and excited for the future. I have just started a PGCE at Suffolk New College so will be doing that for a year and then the world is my oyster. I would like to teach art but not sure where as yet.”

“The MA was a really, really valuable experience, the life experience you gain from it is like nothing else. Doing a Master in Arts helps you to rewire how you think about life.  I was doing a two year part time Masters and I took a year out but I was still able to come in and use the resources within the Art department and University. I continued doing my work while I wasn’t doing any modules. I had so much support from my tutors. It aided my recovery, it gave me purpose.”

The second ceremony of the day saw students from the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work presented with their awards alongside Honorary Doctorate Brian Tobin.

Having worked in the charitable sector since 1990 Brian’s role has constantly changed over the years, however, he remains passionate about supporting people who struggle with addiction and that they are still worth fighting for despite their flaws.   The philosophy he introduced to Iceni was "To not judge a person by their past if they are making an honest attempt to change. After all, they are they are simply humans who have made mistakes, need help and compassion, not judgment, castigation and isolation."

In the afternoon students from the Department of Children Young People and Education collected their awards with Honorary Doctorate Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International.

Honorary Awards recognise notable contributions to the educational or cultural well-being of society. This can be in business, industry, commerce or enterprise, for academic distinction, for public or community service or an exceptional involvement in the University.

Hundreds more graduates will receive their awards in the final day of ceremonies tomorrow. The University will also recognise three other individuals for achievements within their field, Neil Watts, Dr Ruth May and Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo.

1,342 students will be conferred at ceremonies in Ipswich this week. The ceremonies mark the graduation of the last full student cohort of University Campus Suffolk. Next autumn will see the conferral of the first degrees awarded by the University of Suffolk.

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