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View from UEL: Graduation a unique ‘local’ celebration

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 November 2017

Archant

At the University of East London, our yearly calendar is slightly different from the regular one. August means A-level results and the start of clearing; September is the start of year, and November is graduation.

Kelly Atkins, Head of Events and Conferencing, UEL Kelly Atkins, Head of Events and Conferencing, UEL

UEL’s week-long series of graduation ceremonies are a local celebration. 77 per cent of our students come from Newham and the surrounding boroughs.

While young families were celebrating Halloween, Newham was descending on indigo at the O2 arena to celebrate the academic achievements of their friends and family at one of the seven ceremonies that took place that week. Many UEL graduates are the first in their families to attend university and the pride is evident from start to finish.

Though graduations are typically a formal event, the ones I have been part of at UEL are unique, as they display the personalities of the students throughout. Graduates from the School of Arts and Digital Industries for example, can regularly be seen dancing across the stage or using the podium as their own personal catwalk to show off their fashion designs.

As well as the graduates UEL often doffs its mortarboard to a number of industry professionals with east London roots. We have bestowed honorary awards on names such as Dame Barbara Windsor, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and even grime MC Dizzee Rascal. They offer a source of inspiration to the graduates, but best of all, come back and speak at free events at the university. It is the day as a student, you most look forward to and I don’t think it ever disappoints. But then again, I am biased!

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