UCEM celebrates alongside students at 2024 Summer graduation ceremony

Posted on: 11 July, 2024

On Friday 5 July, UCEM welcomed graduates to Reading Town Hall to celebrate their hard work and academic achievements.

This event, which was split across two ceremonies, gave graduates, families, friends, academics and UCEM staff a chance to connect, network, and celebrate their collective efforts and accomplishments.

As Amanda Clack, Chair of the Board of Trustees at UCEM, commented during the opening of the morning ceremony:

“It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you here on this incredibly special occasion. It’s an honour to be able to have your friends, family and supporters with us here and to be able to acknowledge and celebrate all that you’ve achieved in the most important event in the university calendar.”

Morning ceremony

The first ceremony began at 10:30, and after opening speeches, certificates were handed to the students by Ashley Wheaton, Vice Chancellor, and presented by Jane E Fawkes, Deputy Vice Chancellor and University Secretary.

Towards the end of the morning ceremony, Tina Paillet, President of RICS and CEO & Co-Founder of Circotrade, gave encouragement to the cohort of graduates in her guest speech:

“I must confess I feel a slight pang of envy as I see all 82 of you sitting before me, with your futures before you. As the President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, one of the wonderful perks of the job is to meet the next generation of professionals and help usher you in to what I have found an immensely rewarding career that has taken me to places I could not have dreamt of.”

Tina also drew attention to the story of Irene Barclay, the first woman to qualify as an RICS professional in 1922 and an alumni of UCEM (then College of Estate Management). Irene has been described as ‘one of the most influential social reformers of the 20th century’ and a pioneer in social housing, and was recently recognised with a Blue Plaque from English Heritage.

“There are several lessons to be learned from Irene’s life, and even from my own work. First – don’t be afraid to do something that has never been done before. Take advice and learn from your mistakes, but never think that just because something hasn’t been done before, it can’t be… Second, like Irene, find a problem you are passionate about and try to fix it.”

Sustainability Research Prize

This graduation marked the inauguration of UCEM’s new Sustainability Research Prize (previously named the Responsible Futures Prize).

This prize recognises the outstanding and collegiate contributions to sustainability research through students’ final-year projects and their collaboration throughout their studies.

This year, the award was presented to:

  • Sophie Ollerton
  • Daniel Rowe
  • James Wheeler
  • Elaine York

Afternoon ceremony

The afternoon ceremony kicked off at 14:30. During the opening of the proceedings, Ashley Wheaton, Vice Chancellor of UCEM, commented:

“I never cease to be amazed by your collective achievements, and humbled by all you’ve accomplished through your hard work and determination. I have a firm believe that in life, you only get out what you put in, and in all of your cases, you’ve put in an enormous amount, and you richly deserve everything that you get out of this.”

The guest speech for the ceremony was delivered by Paul Morris, Chief Executive at LandAid. Paul was present at UCEM’s Winter 2023 ceremony, where he was awarded an Honorary MBA.

In his speech, Paul gave powerful advice to the audience of UCEM graduates and guests on the importance of making a positive change, not just to the built environment, but the natural and the social environment, too.

“The best businesses you will be working for are those that understand the need to make profit, but to do so infused by and passionate about the need to deliver social purpose as well. They have found a way of harmonising that perfectly. Whatever you do, do it with great social purpose. Recognise the power and potential you have to make the world a better place and do it.”

The final ceremony was brought to a close by Amanda Clack, who encouraged graduates to take a moment with their family and friends and to enjoy their success.

“The whole University congratulates and celebrates with you, and we are so proud in all that you’ve achieved.”

If you’d like to view more of the pictures from the event, please visit UCEM Global Community.