Reading Town Hall Comes Alive for UCEM’s Largest Ever Graduation

Reading Town Hall came to life on Saturday as more than 600 graduands and guests celebrated their achievements at UCEM’s Graduation ceremony.

This summer’s ceremony saw the largest graduate cohort yet at a UCEM Graduation, with 154 alumni taking to the stage in the Concert Hall to receive their degrees, cheered on by more than 500 of their friends and family.

As well as attendees from all four corners of the UK, graduands travelled from as far as Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Zambia and Malta to celebrate with their peers, invited guests and UCEM staff members.

The Town Hall was a hive of activity before the commencement of the ceremony, with robes and mortar boards fitted, official photographs taken and graduands collecting alumni goodie bags, with the new alumni badges proving a hit amongst the latest Alumni Association members.

UCEM Chairman, John Gellatly, and Principal, Ashley Wheaton, were the first to congratulate the assembled graduands during the ceremony, with Ashley urging them to use their studies to contribute towards a better Built Environment.

UCEM graduate and past Lead Student Representative, David Mason, reflected on his time as the first ever UCEM Lead Student Representative, telling the graduands that all their hard efforts in obtaining their degrees were worth it in taking the next steps in their careers.

UCEM Deputy Principal, Jane Fawkes, called the graduates up onto the stage to receive their certificates before Ashley Wheaton again took to the lectern to present two special awards.

The Chapman Adkin Award was presented to James Michael Griffin for his perseverance in completing his MSc in Real Estate, in the process overcoming some difficult personal circumstances during his studies.

There was then the presentation of the inaugural Peter Goodacre Award – named in honour of UCEM’s former Principal who served the institution with distinction as a member of staff, variously as a tutor, Vice Principal and Principal, for 34 years.

The award – recognising an outstanding example of academic excellence – was made possible through a kind donation from the Harold Samuel Educational Trust and will run for 34 years to mirror Peter Goodacre’s tenure serving the-then College of Estate Management.

First to receive the award on Saturday was Jonah Mastin, who gained a Distinction in his MSc in Construction Management, having passed every module at the first attempt (with his lowest module mark 69% and his highest 90%) – a feat he also achieved with the institution when completing his undergraduate degree.

The final word went to our Guest Speaker – the Chair of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Theresa Mohammed, who challenged our graduates to push barriers and drive forward innovation within construction.

The organist played out processional music as the attendees made their way out of the Concert Hall briefly before returning to the hall for the drinks reception.

Amongst the invited guests at the occasion was Reading’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Paul Woodward, whose attendance at the joyous occasion was acknowledged within the Chairman’s Address.

UCEM Deputy Principal, Jane Fawkes, commented: “Each Graduation we organise sees more and more graduands and guests attend and this summer was no different with more than 600 attendees spending their day with us.

“It is a real privilege to be able to share our congratulations with our graduates and listen to the inspirational stories of their perseverance in studying online with us whilst holding down jobs, looking after their families and coping with the various challenges life throws at us.

“It is humbling to be a part of their day and to witness the satisfaction and joy gained from having graduated on one of our Built Environment programmes.”

UCEM Graduation ceremonies run in June and December, with the next event scheduled for 1 December, 2018.