July graduations begin with Bedford Civic Ceremony

The University of Bedfordshire’s graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2022 are underway, kicking off with a special Civic Ceremony in Bedford.

On Friday 22nd July at the Bedford Corn Exchange, students from the Faculty of Education, English & Sport celebrated their achievements with family, friends and University staff in the first Civic Ceremony held in the town since 2019.

Local dignitaries from Luton and Bedfordshire also joined academic staff and the Vice Chancellor ahead of the ceremony, taking part in a small Civic procession to the Corn Exchange.

Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice Chancellor, addressed the graduates: “Graduation is not just a ceremony – it’s a turning point in your lives. You look back on all your hard work, all the amazing experiences you’ve had, the friendships you have made, some of which will last the whole of your lives. It’s a time to reflect on the challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them. So we look back on all that and say well done, we are very proud of you.”

After congratulating all students crossing the stage to receive their well-earned degrees, the Vice Chancellor also presented an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration to Laura Church, Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council, in recognition of her outstanding services to the community infrastructure and local government.

Speaking upon receiving her award, Laura said: “It is a great honour and privilege to receive this Honorary Doctorate. Whilst this award is for me personally, it isn’t just my award – it’s a really important recognition of the importance of public service, and particularly the role of local authorities in providing that link between communities and business.”

Graduates were also joined by a Guest of Honour, Dr Harry Brunjes, Chairman of the English National Opera and London Coliseum, who was raised in Bedford before going on to become a physician.

Speaking to the new graduates, Dr Brunjes said: “Cherish your time at the University of Bedfordshire. This is a wonderful place; constantly challenging, humane, dynamic, diverse, and not resting on its laurels. It is that spirit that will sustain you. Like your University, please remain young in spirit, always curious, energetic and innovative.”

The Ceremony President speech was delivered by Simon Yun-Farmbrough, Chair of the University’s Board of Governors, who congratulated students, saying: “This year’s ceremonies are particularly important because all of you here today have succeeded against the backdrop of the pandemic and we acknowledge the challenges you have had to overcome to complete your studies.

“Through the triumphs – and the setbacks – you have shown exceptional determination and resilience and have made your families and the staff of the University very proud.”

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