TORRENTIAL rain could not dampen the spirit of celebration shared by students and staff of Heriot-Watt University’s Schools of Textile & Design and Management & Languages at Friday’s annual graduation ceremony in Galashiels.
Although the procession of young achievers which normally precedes and follows the prestigious event in Old Parish and St Paul’s Church fell victim to the elements, the auspiciousness of the gathering was undiminished.
No fewer than 14 students from the Borders were among the recipients of degrees from what Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman described as “an international university”.
“This is reflected in the multi-cultural make up of our student population,” said Professor Chapman in his keynote address which followed the presentations.
“This is great for our own community of students who benefit from being part of the distinctive Heriot-Watt global family network. With an expanding campus in Dubai, now home to some 2,700 students, and a new campus due to open in Malaysia in 2014, we truly have a global presence.”
Turning to the two Galashiels-based institutions, Professor Chapman said the School of Management and Languages had an excellent track record of graduates leaving to pursue successful careers all over the world, often with the EU and the Foreign Service, or with international businesses and banks.
“Meanwhile, graduates from the School of Textiles and Design are going on to work for some of the highest profile names in fashion design across the world, as well as in areas like fashion management and retailing with top fashion brands and some of the leading international fabric suppliers.
“Our students’ work is showcased in trade exhibitions and sold in major cities across Europe and North America and their many success stories bode well for the future of those students graduating today.” Earlier, Professor Chapman said the past year had been a very successful one for a university founded in 1821.
“We were delighted to be named Scottish University of the Year in The Sunday Times University Guide and to be ranked in the top 20 of all UK universities by The Guardian which reported our management subject provision in the upper quartile nationally. Meanwhile, our School of Textiles and Design was ranked in the top three in the UK for graduate level employment.
“Our results in the National Student Survey, which measures student satisfaction with their higher education experience, contributed to the Sunday Times accolade and we had the highest rate of student participation [in the survey] of any UK university.
“Here, I would like to acknowledge the support of the Heriot-Watt University Students Union which, earlier this year, was named the University Students Union of the Year in the NUS Scotland awards.
“This is well-deserved recognition of the excellent work of our student leaders.
“We are, indeed, fortunate to have a superb relationship between staff and student leaders and this is generating many valuable improvements in the ways we work together in partnership to enhance the university experience.”
Professor Chapman concluded by telling graduates: “It is true we are in difficult economic times, but you must look at this as an opportunity. The ultimate measure of a person is not where he or she stands in moments of ease, but at times of challenge.
“You will need to work hard and remain committed. I am not telling you it will be easy, but I am telling you it will be worth it.”
BORDERS ROLL OF HONOUR
Local students receiving their degrees on Friday were:
Sara Jane Bathgate, Kelso – BA (Hons) Design in Textiles.
Lynsey Calder, Selkirk – Doctor of Philosophy.
Jessica Clayworth, Duns – BA (Hons) Design in Textiles.
Angela Cullum, Galashiels – BSc (Hons) Clothing Design and Manufacture.
Louisa Douglas, Hawick – BA (Hons) Design in Textiles.
Katherine Hodgkinson, Kelso – BA (Hons) Design in Textiles.
Toni Hogarth, Galashiels – BSc (Hons) Textiles and Fashion Design Management.
Caileen Hogg, Darnick – BA (Hons) Fashion Design for Industry.
Sarah Johnstone, Kelso – BA (Hons) Fashion Design for Industry.
Linzi Reid, Galashiels – BA (Hons) Fashion Design for Industry.
Heather Sinclair, Galashiels – BA (Hons) Design for Textiles.
Dominic Brookes, Jedburgh – BA (Hons) Business Management.
Emma Coltman, Hawick – BA (Hons) Business Management.
Luke Sellers, Selkirk – BA (Hons) Business Management.