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University of Gibraltar celebrates its very first graduation

The University of Gibraltar celebrated its very first graduation ceremony on Saturday.
Split into three smaller ceremonies in order to comply with Public Health Covid-19 recommendations, the events celebrated the academic achievement of graduates from its MBA, PGCE, Master’s in Marine Science and Climate Change and PhD programmes. The University of Gibraltar has been one of the very few Higher Education institutions to celebrate a physical graduation ceremony this year. Each ceremony took place at the Europa Point Campus and featured a blend of in-person speeches and video messages.
Addressing graduates via a video message, the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo congratulated them and said,
“Your individual achievement forms part of a wider, collective accomplishment as today also marks the University’s very first graduation. You are now part of Gibraltar’s history too as its very own Higher Education institution ‘comes of age’ –  a very proud moment for each and every Gibraltarian.”
For his part, the University’s Chancellor, Sir Lindsay Hoyle apologised for not being there in person, but instead sent a video message from the House of Commons wearing his Chancellor Robe. During his message, he spoke of the bonds that are made at University,
“Life at university is so much more than hard work and study; it’s about the connections you make and the lifelong friendships you form. These links will forever bond you to the University will undoubtedly enrich your professional and personal futures.”
The graduation also saw the University award its first two Honorary Doctorates. The first was for Ruth Parasol for her extraordinary contribution towards academic development, infrastructure and support of students through scholarships. Addressing guests via a pre-corded message, she said,
“It is such an honour and delight to accept my honorary doctorate from the University of Gibraltar. Thank you so much, I am truly touched. Also a huge congratulation to the graduating class. We are very proud of you as is your family and community.”
The second was for Gilbert Licudi QC for his contribution to the planning and implementation of not just the physical, but also the regulatory and organisational frameworks required for the University to thrive. He said,
“The honorary doctorate which I have been awarded is a recognition of the efforts of all who participated in the project to establish the University and worked so hard to achieve this. It is only through the acquisition and sharing of knowledge that we can develop and progress. My congratulations to all who have successfully completed their studies at the University.”
Minister for Education Prof John Cortes, who has responsibility for the University commented,
“Gibraltar can be extremely proud of its University and of all those graduating at these our first ever Graduation ceremonies.   The hard work of the students and the staff has been rewarded. We have come a long way in five short years and I am hugely excited about all that we are planning.  I want to congratulate the new graduates, the honorary doctors and my fellow Beacon Professors.  This is a new family, which is growing fast and will get far.”
The University took the opportunity to recognise the work and contribution of its three Beacon Professors. Beacon Professors are unique to the University and the title is symbolic of their role to inspire students and illuminate their life. Professor John Cortes and Professor Clive Finlayson attended in-person whilst Professor David Abulafia sent through a pre-recorded message from his home in Cambridge.
Two of this year’s Valedictorians also sent in video messages. PGCE graduate Bethan Perera, who is now a full time teacher at a school in England, congratulated her fellow graduates and peers on their achievement. Emma Hall, Valedictorian and graduate of the University’s Marine Science and Climate Change programme sent her video from Glasgow where she is currently studying towards a PhD in ‘Assessing arts-based interventions for sustainable practice’ at the University of Glasgow.
Graduating students each received their certificate as well as a lapel pin in the shape of the Gibraltar key. The locally produced pin references the University’s motto, ‘knowledge is the key to success’, and also echoes the key on Gibraltar’s own flag. It also acts as a symbol of their membership of the University’s new Alumni Network.
Each graduation ceremony was opened by a short procession of academics and graduates through the University’s Atrium to a recording of ‘Cantate Domino’ by Gibraltar’s Incantus choir.
You can watch recordings of each ceremony at Unigib.edu.gi/graduation