Inverness College UHI Graduation

MORE than 300 students were honoured for their academic achievements as they celebrated with friends and family at today’s Inverness College UHI graduation ceremony.

It’s the culmination of months and years of hard work for the students, who celebrated successful completion of a range of qualifications including Higher National Certificates and Diplomas to Degrees, Honours Degrees and Postgraduate programmes.

Students were joined by teaching staff, friends and family for the ceremony at Eden Court Theatre, which was followed by a celebratory reception.

The number of full-time students studying higher education at Inverness College UHI has increased by almost 40 per cent over the past five years. This increase has meant for the first time in its history Inverness College UHI ran two graduation ceremonies on the same day to accommodate students and their guests.

Professor Chris O’Neil, principal of Inverness College UHI, said: “It is my great pleasure to congratulate every single student graduating today. Graduation is a particularly special time as we celebrate and recognise the successes and achievements of our students in the presence of the people they care about most.  Today is reward and recognition of their hard work and commitment and I am very proud to share in this moment. I wish them only continued success as they bring to a close one chapter but embark on another, which I’m certain will include interesting and rewarding careers.”

This year’s guest speaker was Wayne Hemingway MBE, who spoke of his career spanning four decades in the design industry, the lessons he’s learned on that journey and why creativity has remained fundamental throughout.

Mr Hemingway and wife Gerardine founded globally-acclaimed fashion label Red or Dead before selling it in a multi-million pound deal in 1999 and starting multi-disciplinary design agency HemingwayDesign, which delivers socially-responsible design. Its work includes culture-led regeneration, affordable housing, urban design, interiors, brand and visual design.

Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, presided over the ceremony and presented scrolls to students graduating. He also presented the University’s Alumnus of the Year Award to former Inverness College UHI graduate Rachael Bews.

The 25-year-old entrepreneur from Evanton was nominated for the award in recognition of the achievements she has made since graduating four years ago (see student case studies).

NHS Highland also presented a special award to the University of the Highlands and Islands’ health and social care student of the year Adam Millington-Bailey, who received the Ina Maciver Award, which recognises the skills and qualities valued in integrated health and social care. The 19-year-old from Avoch graduates today with an HNC in Social Services from Inverness College UHI.

The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association presented Sporting Blues Awards to four students, including Rory MacKeachan, who graduates today with a BSc in Sport and Fitness.

Sporting Blues are awarded by the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association and University of the Highlands and Islands to highlight outstanding sporting achievement by UHI students.

Rory (21) received a Full Sporting Blue in recognition of his achievements in shinty, regularly playing in the Kingussie Camanachd first team, Scotland’s under 21s, Scotland’s University team and North of Scotland.

Progressing BSc (Hons) Sport and Fitness students Darrin Fowler (shinty), Mary Flockhart (javelin) and Nicola Grant (weightlifting) also received Sporting Blues Awards.

Meanwhile, HISA regional president Alan Simpson presented teaching awards to Inverness College UHI staff. The awards are voted on by students from all 13 colleges and research institutions that make up the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership. Staff honoured included BA (Hons) Childhood Practice programme leader Alice Mongiello, named best personal academic tutor; Tara Morrison, Leadership and Human Resource Management MSc programme leader, named best research and dissertation supervisor; and business and management lecturer Gillian Shaw, named most engaging online tutor. HND Visual Communication graduate Holly MacLean also received the HISA award for best contribution to clubs and societies.