A day of firsts as nearly 1,000 graduands and guests converge in Reading for UCEM’s Graduation ceremonies

Almost 1,000 graduands and their guests from around the world came together in Reading today for UCEM’s two Graduation ceremonies.

In addition to the British attendees, graduands arrived from 21 overseas countries including Barbados, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Qatar and South Africa for the double celebration at Reading Town Hall – the first time UCEM has held two ceremonies in one day.

The morning’s undergraduate ceremony saw 93 graduands attend with 278 guests before 134 postgraduands arrived with 402 guests for the afternoon ceremony. Those unable to attend were also able to watch the ceremonies as UCEM livestreamed the ceremonies on YouTube for the first time.

UCEM Deputy Principal, Jane Fawkes commented: “It was an honour to welcome the largest cohort of UCEM graduands to Reading today. Having an attendance exceeding the capacity of Reading Town Hall for the first time meant we had to host two ceremonies and despite the logistical challenges this posed, I am delighted that both events went smoothly.

“The sacrifices our students from all corners of the world have made to succeed on our programmes whilst balancing their career demands and personal lives never fail to impress and humble me. The sheer scale of today’s events have made these ceremonies the best yet and I hope those viewing our livestream were able to appreciate the sheer joy of the occasion.”

Among the guests in attendance at Reading Town Hall were the town’s Mayor, Cllr Debs Edwards and the Guest Speakers, Liz Peace CBE and Ben Bolgar, who spoke at the morning and afternoon ceremonies, respectively.

UCEM Principal, Ashley Wheaton gave the opening address of the ceremonies, telling the new sets of graduates: “Now that you are all qualified, I’d like you to consider it your professional responsibility to be the guardians of our substantial, precious and highly intricate Built Environment – whether it relates to future builds and newly constructed buildings; those buildings which are being restored, preserved or regenerated; those being maintained and updated; or just simply being used.”

Liz Peace CBE, who is Chair of LandAid and formerly Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, discussed her career and told the room of undergraduates: “I believe that our often-misunderstood industry needs to work even harder to embrace change and to earn the trust of society.

“I am confident however that you, the new generation of property people, are going to be able to rise to that challenge. And I know that the UCEM training and education that you have undergone to get here will have ensured that you look beyond the yield curve or the Internal Rate of Return to the wider contribution that we can make to the places we inhabit.”

In concluding the eight lessons he has learnt through his career which he wanted to pass on to the afternoon audience, Prince’s Foundation Senior Director, Ben Bolgar said: “Good luck and remember this one thing – what your generation builds will decide the future.”

Alison Jenkins was presented with The Chapman Adkin Award, awarded to a student who has shown special enterprise in completing their programme, during the undergraduate ceremony.

Prizes were also handed out to those with the best overall performance in their respective programme.

There are recordings of our undergraduate ceremony and our postgraduate ceremony, as well as a short highlights video of the day on our ‘University College of Estate Management’ YouTube channel.