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Celebrations at the University as students collect their degrees

HUNDREDS of students from the University of Chichester have celebrated the end of their studies at graduation this week.

The postgraduates were joined by high-profile honorary figures as they collected their degrees in front of family and friends at ceremonies in Chichester Cathedral. The event marked a high-point in what has been a commemorative year for the University, which has celebrated its 180-year anniversary across 2019.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Longmore commended the postgraduates for their hard work during the last year. She said: “On behalf of everyone at Chichester, I congratulate you all and wish you a very happy and successful future.

“Remember that you will learn as much from the journey of life as from your successes. Happiness comes from wisdom, authenticity, and compassion, and these are characteristics which this University has been promoting since 1839.”

The event marked a high-point in what has been a commemorative year for the University, which has celebrated its 180-year anniversary across 2019


‘I am proud to have achieved this for myself’

Among the celebrating students was creative writing graduate Jessica Megan, who received a merit in her MA degree. “I have always loved English,” she said. “I am proud to have achieved this for myself. This undertaking taught me self-discipline and the importance of evidence and research. Thank you, Chi Uni, I will carry it with me forever.”

Emma Jayes started her career as a psychologist with the Ministry of Defence, just weeks after finishing her dissertation. The 22-year-old was offered a job with the government after developing a ground-breaking new tool – with help from patients at Sage House in Tangmere – which can detect dementia earlier than previous methods.

She said: “I’ve used almost everything I learnt at Chichester in my new job with the MoD. I will miss life as a student but I’ve asked to come back and teach the next group of students about my work into the effects of dementia.”

Liam Jefferson is a two-time University of Chichester graduate, having undertaken a BSc in sports science and coaching and an MSc in sports performance analysis. He said: “Thank you Chichester for an unforgettable experience. I’m now looking forward to see what the next chapter brings.”

Celebrations at the University of Chichester as students collect their degrees


University honours celebrated figures at graduation

The graduating students were joined on stage by a series of influential figures whose contributions to healthcare, literature, and education were recognised by the University.

Professor Gillian Beer DBE

Professor Gillian Beer DBE, below, a winner of the Truman Capote Prize for her work in literature and science, was given an honorary doctor of literature. She is best-known for her contributions as an eminent writer, lecturer, and scholar, and for her exploration of the complex relationship between the worlds of literature and science in 19th-century writing.

Dame Beer said: “University enlarges and deepens our minds and takes us forward. It’s an honour and a pleasure to accept this degree because it’s a tribute to my mother and sister, who were among the University of Chichester’s first female teaching graduates, back in the 1920s, when the institution was known as Bishop Otter College.”

Elizabeth Baily

Graduate Lizzie Bailey left the University of Chichester in 2005 to teach but has instead become a national voice for disabled people, now leading the Wellspring West Sussex charity which supports children and young people with disabilities.

It was her involvement in the government's Disability Confident campaign, promoting employment of disabled people in the UK, for which she was awarded an honorary master of education from the University.

Lizzie said: “My advice to young disabled people looking at what they would like to do in the future is to basically go for it. Don't let anybody hold you back because of what they think is not possible.”

Professor Gillian Beer DBE

Professor Cathy Creswell

The University awarded Professor Cathy Creswell an honorary doctor of psychology for her work around improving children’s access to mental health support. The Clinical Psychologist, who leads research into anxiety and depression at the University of Oxford, mentors psychology and counselling graduates at Chichester.

Prof Creswell said: “Many people are surprised to hear children suffer from chronic anxiety disorders, but in the UK we’ve seen a 50 per cent rise in cases among young people aged between five and 15 years old. We need to combat this – and graduates here today can lead this drive as teachers, or as mentors and leaders.”

Marianne Griffiths DBE

Western Sussex Hospitals chief exec Dame Marianne Griffiths celebrated a double success this week as she received an honorary degree from Chichester alongside news that the Trust was again rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

Dame Griffiths’ University award, an honorary doctorate of public service management, follows just months after she was named on the Queen’s New Year honours list for contributions to healthcare. Addressing the Chichester graduates, she said: “The NHS is a national treasure and it’s a privilege to be part of it.

“I urge you all, in your future careers, to follow my five points of success: be yourself, be bold, surround yourself with good people, and recognise that you will stumble at some point. Lastly, take joy in what you do – it makes a difference to others around you.”


Photos and video

Additional photos and video of the University of Chichester’s graduation ceremony can be seen on its Facebook page at

Students have celebrated the end of their studies at graduation