Belfast Telegraph

Queen's and graduates are making a difference in society

By Patrick Johnston

Graduation week at Queen's University in Belfast is the most important occasion in the university calendar.

It is also a time of great importance for Northern Ireland and the economy.

Over the course of the week, 4,000 Queen's students will graduate in many and diverse subjects such as food security, computer science, film studies and dentistry.

Queen's graduates are distinguished by their intellectual capabilities, their employability and leadership qualities as local and global citizens.

They also make outstanding contributions to society.

Over recent weeks, I have been privileged to witness some of these contributions.

The Homework Club is one such example.

It is an initiative run by our students' union, along with community groups. It involves Queen's students helping primary and post-primary pupils from less well-off backgrounds.

Children who may have struggled academically have been provided support in a safe and friendly environment, allowing them to aim for higher levels of achievement.

This is just one way in which our students make a difference and Queen's is proud of the role it plays in affording them the opportunities to develop their skill-set beyond the classroom.

Queen's is a university where talent is allowed to flourish, where innovation is encouraged and supported, where our students gain a world-class education.

In my new role as Queen's vice-Chancellor, I intend to build on this success and create a university that supports outstanding students and staff, working in world-class facilities, but focused on the needs of society. It is the role of all of us at Queen's to nurture and develop graduates who will provide leadership and citizenship.

As I preside over my first graduation ceremonies, I feel a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility to be leading a university that's equipping our students with the knowledge and skills to make a major impact in our local and global society.

  • Professor Patrick Johnston is president and vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast

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