Thousands to take the next step at ARU graduations

Published: 9 July 2024 at 14:36

Students in their graduation gowns

More than 15,000 students and guests will attend ceremonies across the region

Thousands of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) students will cross the stage this month at graduation ceremonies across the East of England.

Around 6,000 students will be watched on by 9,000 guests at ceremonies from Thursday, 11 July until Tuesday, 30 July, with students crossing the stage to mark the official completion of their degrees.

The celebrations begin at Peterborough Cathedral on Thursday, 11 July before moving on to Cambridge, with eight ceremonies taking place at the city’s Corn Exchange between Monday, 15 July and Wednesday, 17 July. From Monday, 22 July, Chelmsford Cathedral will host 20 ceremonies until Tuesday, 30 July. 

The recent Graduate Outcomes Survey ranked ARU fifth in the country and first in the East of England for the number of UK undergraduates employed as managers, directors or senior officials, and ranked second in the country and first in the East of England for the number of full-time graduates working in human health and social work roles.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“It is always an inspiring sight to see our city centres full of so many students in their gowns, celebrating their success. 

“I look forward to congratulating these new graduates on their achievements and looking out for their successes in the future. They may be moving on to the next stage of their lives, but they will always be part of our ARU community.”

A number of inspirational individuals, who have achieved excellence in their respective fields, will be welcomed to address students and their guests and receive honorary degrees from ARU.

Honorary Doctor of Science: Professor Lady Sue Black. Sue is an academic, author, anatomist, internationally renowned forensic anthropologist, and President of St John's College, Oxford. Sue has authored 14 textbooks, 153 peer-reviewed papers and two public interest books, including All that Remains, which won the Saltire Book of the Year award. Sue has also appeared on a diverse range of popular shows, fronting eight episodes of the BBC 2 series, History Cold Case, and delivered the 2022 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture – Secrets of Forensic Science.

Honorary Doctor of Arts: Laura Bates. Laura Bates is an academic, journalist, best-selling author, feminist activist, and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project - a safe online space where people can record instances of sexism they experience on a day to day basis. In the 2015 Queen’s birthday Honours, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to gender equality, and has been named Woman of the Year by Cosmopolitan and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Honorary Doctor of Business Administration: Andy Hill OBE. Andy Hill is a hugely successful businessman, philanthropist, and Founder and Chief Executive of Essex-based Hill Group. To celebrate Hill Group’s 20th anniversary in 2019, Andy made a commitment to help tackle the homeless crisis, launching Foundation 200 – a pledge to design, construct, and donate 200 modular homes to homeless charities. In 2023, Andy’s achievements were recognised in the King’s New Year’s Honours list, in which he was awarded the OBE for services to affordable housing.

Honorary Doctor of Science: Louise Pryor. An academic, actuary, pioneer in modelling the financial and economic impacts of climate change in insurance, and former President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Dr Pryor was recently Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership and is the current Chair of the Ecology Building Society, whose mission is a fair society in a sustainable world. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Professor in Practice at the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, and she leads the Actuaries Carbon Collaboration, which works on issues around carbon emissions and offsets.

Honorary Doctor of Education: Jason Arday. Diagnosed with autism and global development delay at the age of three, Jason was unable to speak until the age of 11 and could not read or write until the age of 18. In 2021, Jason would become one of the youngest professors in the UK after being appointed Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Glasgow. In March 2023, Jason was appointed Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge – making him, at 37, one of the youngest people ever appointed to a professorship at Cambridge. His outstanding charity endeavours have resulted in him raising over £5.5million over a 20 year period for more than 80 charities in the UK and abroad. He was formerly a Guest Editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and listed 4th on the prestigious Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 in 2023.

Honorary Doctor of Health Sciences: Air Marshal Clare S. Walton. Air Marshal Clare Walton is Director General Defence Medical Services, the most senior medical rank in the UK’s Armed Forces. A pupil at Westcliff High School, Clare won a place at Barts and a cadetship with the Royal Air Force, being deployed first to Bosnia and then to Kuwait. When military operations in Iraq expanded in 2002, it was as Wing Commander that Clare again deployed to the Middle East – taking overall responsibility for aeromedical evacuation during one of the largest deployments of British forces since World War Two. In the 2022 New Year’s Honours list, she was appointed Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, before being promoted to Air Marshal in 2023.