Belfast Telegraph

Students make the grade in UU summer graduation

By Kathryn Torney

The University of Ulster’s summer graduation ceremonies begin today with two ceremonies at the Coleraine campus.

Some 500 students are to receive awards today. It will hold 13 ceremonies over the graduation period, until July 7. Later, they move to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, for students from Jordanstown and Belfast campuses.

Next week, the ceremonies will move to the Millennium Forum in Londonderry, for students from its Magee campus. In all, more than 5,000 students have successfully completed examinations with the UU this year, from certificates through to doctorates.

They include full-time ‘traditional’ students, people who studied part-time, and those who studied UU accredited courses through one of Northern Ireland’s further and higher education colleges.

Students from the Faculty of Arts and the Ulster Business School received awards today. The morning ceremony saw the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) awarded to distinguished poet and writer John Montague, for services to poetry.

At the afternoon ceremony, Labour MP Clare Short is due to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD), in recognition of services to international development.

A group of Ulster business students beat 29 other universities from across the UK to lift the Flux 2009 student enterprise trophy in Plymouth earlier this year.

And today the six students who made up the team receive their degrees at a ceremony \[Shane Donaghey\]on the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus.

in Coleraine. They are: Leanne Leighton, Matthew Gray, Laura Tate, Chris Halliday, Stello So and Chris Cupples from the Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services in the Ulster Business School at Coleraine. Flux is the UK's largest inter-university enterprise event, drawing the most talented teams together to compete against each other in a demanding business challenge. Ulster Business School academics Dr Karise Hutchinson and Dr Emma Fleck travelled with the team to Plymouth.

Dr Hutchinson said: “We were absolutely thrilled to win — the competition was very tough and, considering this was the first time we entered, it’s a great achievement.”

Dr Fleck added: “The students came up with the idea of an online traveller’s social networking website.

“It was based around the idea that backpackers could stay abroad with residents in exchange for doing odd jobs.

“Not only did the students have a very short space of time to come up with a viable idea and develop a business plan, but they also had to do a final pitch to 47 dragons and 200 students.”

Professor Barry Quinn, head of the Department of Business, Retail and Financial Services said:\[Shane Donaghey\] “In all of our courses we place a lot of emphasis on core skills such as enterprise, entrepreneurship, communication and team work, and so this was a great opportunity for the students to demonstrate these attributes in practice. “This achievement is a great endorsement of the abilities of our students in relation to their peers from other universities, and the efforts and expertise of the staff involved.”

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