Party atmosphere as first Class of 2022 cohort celebrate at Graduation

Posted on: 29 June, 2022

Glasses clinked, arms were raised aloft triumphantly and guests cheered as more than 150 recent students graduated at Reading Town Hall last weekend.


Almost 500 graduates and guests were in attendance across the three ceremonies on Friday (24 June) and Saturday (25 June).

With it being the first UCEM Graduation held without COVID restrictions since 2019, a drinks reception returned to the event and joy was written across the faces of all attendees.

There was a different mace bearer for each ceremony – all having been nominated by their peers. UCEM Assessment Manager, Martyn Knox, led the academic procession on Friday with Head of Learning Technology, Dr Peter Stone, in post Saturday morning and Real Estate and Management Tutor and Programme Leader, Hazel Lobo, in charge of the mace in the afternoon.

L-R: Martyn Knox, Dr Peter Stone and Hazel Lobo

UCEM Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr Stephen Jackson, led the introduction to the ceremony on Friday, with UCEM Chair, Amanda Clack, taking the role during Saturday’s two ceremonies.

UCEM Principal, Ashley Wheaton, gave the address for all three ceremonies, congratulating the graduates, thanking Trustees and staff for their hard efforts and sharing news of the university’s plan to launch a new academic programme as part of its efforts to become the world’s most sustainable university.

Ashley implored the graduates to shape the built environment for the better as they progress to the next stage of their careers and cited the important role the new alumni have in combatting climate change. He closed with a quote by Robert Swan – the first person to walk both the North and South Pole and subsequently an environmental leader: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

UCEM Deputy Principal, Jane Fawkes, then called up the graduates to the stage to receive their certificates from Ashley.

This was followed by the guest speaker speech. On Friday, this fell to Government Chief Property Officer, Dr Janet Young, who shared her story and conveyed the huge passion she has for the built environment and the exciting careers which exist within the sector.

On Saturday, UCEM alumnus, Honorary Fellow, Chartered Surveyor and RICS LionHeart Chair, Peter McCrea, reflected on his own career journey and shared the lessons he learnt along the way. Peter also encouraged the new graduates to become involved with RICS Matrics and look for opportunities with LionHeart and the Lands Tribunal if they so wish.

Dr Stephen Jackson and Amanda Clack, respectively, closed the ceremonies and, in a new tradition, the academic procession and UCEM staff gathered in two lines and gave a guard of honour to the new graduates as they left the Concert Hall and headed across to the drinks reception.

Jane Fawkes commented: “It was wonderful to celebrate the hard-earned achievements of our most recent graduates. The fact we could do so without the enforced wearing of masks and with a drinks reception afterwards just made it that little bit more special and meant we could see how much it means to the graduates and their friends and families.

“All those celebrating today will have studied during the harsh conditions of the pandemic, with some at postgraduate level having merely been weeks into their studies before COVID-19 took hold, making their achievements all the more impressive.

“We are so proud of all our graduates and we hope to hear how they get on in future by way of our Alumni Association.”

To watch the ceremonies, head to our YouTube channel.