North Highland College UHI celebrates 60 years at diamond graduation ceremony

North Highland College UHI celebrates 60 years at diamond graduation ceremony

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Over 200 students achieved qualifications from North Highland College UHI in academic year 2018/19 which were recognised at a special award ceremony held in St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church in Thurso last Saturday.

This year, North Highland College UHI is delighted to celebrate its 60th year and welcomed past student and actress, Helen Mackay to deliver the guest speaker address to the graduates which highlighted her career journey.

Helen said: “Being from the highlands made me stand out. It gave me something that no one else had and I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last 10 years making a living out of being an actress and I would say 90% of the jobs I’ve done I’ve done in my own accent.”

Anne Bremner, Director of Learning & Teaching took the role of master of ceremonies and congratulated the graduates’ achievements in her welcome and acknowledged the first cohort of graduates from BA (Hons) Professional Golf, Master of Education, Master of Literature History of the Highlands and Islands and MA Music and the Environment.

Principal Donald MacBeath congratulated the graduates and said: “You all have a tremendous future in front of you. Whether you are now progressing into employment or further study, I ask you to continue to embrace the core values which serve both the College and the University so well. Work collaboratively, supportively and network well with others. Express yourself openly and be open to new ideas and ways of working that at times will take you out of your comfort zone. Be respectful and tolerant of the positions of others and crucially; aspire to the achievement of excellence.”

The College was particularly delighted to be presenting six special awards to students at this year’s ceremony which included engineering, hospitality, golf and music students.

HND Engineering Systems student, Sophie Clarke, from Inverness received Higher Education Student of the Year and was nominated by three of her lecturers from the North Highland College UHI engineering department for her ‘outstanding academic performance’.

Commuting from Inverness to attend the college’s Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre (ETEC), Sophie was nominated for her extremely well performance in all of her modules, solid exam and project marks. Sophie’s lecturers praised her attitude to her studies and agreed, “Sophie would make an excellent tutor herself if she should choose that path someday.”

NC Music student, Nathan Urquhart received Further Education Student of the Year, nominated by his lecturer for his commitment and progression demonstrated over the last two years both personally and academically.

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering student, Mark Graham from Wick was this year’s recipient of the Mr Roy E Godfrey Memorial Shield. This award recognises a significant dedication in an engineering discipline and is in memory of Roy who always maintained “nothing moves without engineers”. Since joining the college in 2012 on Performing Engineering Operations Mark has progressed and achieved HNC, HND and this year a first-class honours degree. Mark will be one of the first students enrolled in the new MSc in Engineering this year.

Professional Cookery SVQ 2 student, Kieren Hamilton from Wick was awarded the Tom Dobson Salver Award for demonstrating outstanding customer service. Kieren has excelled throughout his studies and will continue this year with SVQ Level 3 Professional Cookery.

Golf Management students Euan Ferguson, Lewis Johnson, John Oster and Graham Minton also took home Sporting Half Blues Award with the University of the Highlands and Islands.  The Sporting Blues awards scheme recognises excellent sporting achievement within the University of the Highlands and Islands’ student community.

University of the Highlands and Islands Sporting Team of the Year was awarded to the University’s golf team members, Alastair McNaughton, Riccardo Cellerino, Euan Ferguson, Lewis Johnson, John Oster and Graham Minton. This is the first time that this award has been presented by the University and is only open to the 1st team of any British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).

Local historian and prodigious author, John Macdonald from Rogart also received an honorary fellowship from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Vice Principal, Research and Impact, University of the Highlands and Islands Professor Neil Simco, presented the award to John for his work in history, music and crofting politics to support community education, academic research, public service and cultural work for over fifty years.

John has also collected an archive of photographs, stories and artefacts which were used in his many public talks and led walks.  He has encouraged many people to understand more about their local histories and the archaeology of the ground beneath their feet. He also a mentor of postgraduate students, helping to show how they can apply their theoretical knowledge to ‘on the ground’ evidence.

The University of the Highlands and Islands’ specially commissioned ceremonial mace, which symbolises the Highlands and Islands, was carried by Mrs Su Hawes who dedicated nearly 20 years’ service to North Highland College UHI.  

North Highland College UHI would like to pay special thanks to Reverend David Malcolm of St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church, Thurso; Piper, Marc Moodie; Mace Bearer, Su Hawes; guest speaker Helen Mackay and all of the college staff, students, family and friends in attendance.

 2019 Graduation parade walking2019 Graduation outside