Ulster University graduates ready to celebrate
More than 5,000 students to mark achievements in round of ceremonies
Filled with hope and dreams for the future, Northern Ireland newest graduates will celebrate their achievements over the next week-and-a-half.
The first of the summer graduations will kick off this morning at the Millenium Forum in Londonderry, with the Ulster University Magee campus ceremony.
Ulster University graduation ceremonies will continue this week at Derry tomorrow, the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and at the Diamond for the Coleraine campus next Monday and Tuesday.
The Queen's University summer graduations start on Thursday and continue on Friday, Saturday through to next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, today marks the first of 13 Ulster University ceremonies to mark the achievements of over 5,000 students and honour 15 inspirational figures from business, the arts and public life.
Veteran broadcaster Paul Clark will be honoured today with an LLD for distinguished services to broadcasting and charity, along with Irish-American philanthropist Thomas P O'Neill III, with an LLD for distinguished services to the university.
UU's Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alastair Adair, said he had never been more proud to see the calibre of graduates exiting the university.
"At a time of real and significant challenges for Ulster University and for higher education in general across Northern Ireland, I have never been more proud to see the calibre and enthusiasm of our graduates as they enter the next chapter of their lives," he said.
"University is more than a place of study. It is a place of much broader learning where character is formed, confidence is gained and futures begin. It is about our graduates understanding the relevance of their studies so that each year, even more can make a positive difference to global societies
"That is reflected in our honorary graduates for 2015, where the diverse range of recipients has influenced and shaped business, the arts, healthcare, law, sport and public life. They have left an indelible mark by ensuring that the lives of others are improved and informed by their skills, and their example."
Professor Adair also extolled the UU's 15 honorary degree recipients, who include Chief Coroner John Leckey, who during the most difficult of circumstances prioritised compassion and respect for families, and boxer Gerry Storey, who has worked tirelessly to unite communities through sport.
"All of our honorary graduates have in some way changed lives for the better, in the same way that this new generation of over 5,000 graduates now have the ability to improve lives, communities, societies and economies - at home and around the world," he said.
"Whatever challenges higher education may face, our priority remains our students and Ulster University will not compromise on the quality, rounded student experience that allows our graduates to fully realise their potential."