Students gather at Abbey for double graduation ceremony

October 24, 2021

Selby College celebrated the achievements of its 2020 and 2021 Higher Education graduates at its first in-person graduation ceremony in two years, held at Selby Abbey last Friday (October 15).

Students who completed their degree-level programmes at the college in 2020 and 2021 were honoured at the ceremony, with 80 students attending across the two cohorts. Family and friends of the graduates were welcomed by Selby College’s chair of governors, Richard Stiff, alongside teaching and support staff, governors and special guests of the college, including the chairman of Selby District Council, John Duggan, the Mayor of Goole, Christopher Bailey and the chairman of East Riding Council, Nigel Wilkinson.

Representatives from the university awarding bodies were also in attendance, including Dr Chris Wilcox, associate dean of the student experience, faculty of health sciences at the University of Hull and Dr Lynn Senior, consortium director at Huddersfield University. Liz Ridley, deputy principal of Selby College, as master of ceremonies, started the graduation by acknowledging the students for their outstanding achievements through what has been such a difficult time for everyone. Following this, guest speaker Janette Benaddi took the stage to congratulate the graduates and encouraged them to continue to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. Janette’s achievements include rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean as part of a group of Yorkshire women who set a Guinness World Record for rowing across the Atlantic, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

As the guest of honour, Janette also presented the graduates with their certificates as they each entered the stage. Former student Jacob Walsh, who is now a classically trained tenor, also performed songs from his repertoire. Jacob started his singing career at his church before joining choirs at Selby Abbey and later as a chorister at York Minster. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the college was unable to hold its annual graduation ceremony in 2020. Liz Ridley said: “It has been fantastic to witness our 2020 and 2021 graduates celebrating their extraordinary achievements alongside their tutors and loved ones in the magnificent setting of Selby Abbey. They have overcome significant and unexpected hurdles to be here today, after what has been an extremely challenging two years. Receiving their Higher Education Awards is a testament to their hard work, resilience and optimism, which are attributes I am sure they will continue to demonstrate as they enter successful careers or the next step of their education.” The graduates completed degree-level programmes across the college’s Higher Education provision, which ranges from Foundation Degrees and Full Honours Degrees to Higher National Certificates/Diplomas and Teacher Training. Earlier this year, the college ranked in the top two Higher Education organisations in Yorkshire for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.

The Selby College Higher Education cohort of 2020 and 2021 at a graduation ceremony at Selby Abbey last Friday (October 15). (21-10-42 SU)

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