RAU students celebrate graduation in Cirencester
The Royal Agricultural University teemed with excited faces on Saturday (12 October), as more than 400 students graduated from the University at Convocation, the annual degree ceremony.
As the first Convocation since the RAU was awarded full University status earlier in the year, and Cirencester has become a ‘university town’, it was fitting that the event was held in the town itself this year. Cirencester Church provided the perfect backdrop for the traditional ceremony, which was followed by a drinks reception at the University campus.
Principal Guest the Rt Hon the Earl of Selborne addressed students as they prepare to go forth into the world, equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience they have gained at the RAU. He spoke about the value of higher education and the opportunities it opens up, and the privilege he felt at being invited to present the degrees, diplomas, awards and honorary fellowships. He wished the new graduates every success for the future, and expressed his pride in the RAU alumni.
In his speech, Principal, Professor Chris Gaskell CBE, spoke about the significance of RAU students celebrating their Convocation in the heart of Cirencester. He congratulated the students on their hard work and fantastic results, proudly mentioning the University’s 94% employability rate, and thanked their parents, friends and family for their continued support. He talked about the University’s record-high student numbers, and how this reflects society’s growing appreciation of agriculture, land management, and rural development.
Graduates were joined by their friends and family, and special guests from the town including the Mayor of Cirencester, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, and the Chairman and Leader of Cotswold District Council. Guests from further afield included Professor Kashyap, who had travelled from the RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University, India.
Fellowships of the Royal Agricultural University were awarded to the Rt Hon the Lord Cameron of Dillington, Simon F Pott, David Campbell, and Joe Henson.
The Rt Hon the Lord Cameron of Dillington, landowner, farmer and politician, acted as the Prime Minister’s Rural Advocate (2000-2004) and chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food, and the Government’s Global Food Security Programme Steering Group.
Simon F Pott is a land agent, chartered surveyor, and auctioneer. He has made an enormous contribution to the RAU over the years, and is now the Vice President of the University.
David Campbell was awarded an OBE for services to African farming in 2000, and has since helped establish the African Fellowship Trust charity, supporting 68 African Fellows for postgraduate study and professional development.
Joe Henson, committed countryman with a keen interest in farming, has devoted his life to conservation and the breeding of rare at-risk farm animals. He developed the UK’s first farm park, the Cotswolds Farm Park, and was awarded an MBE for services to conservation in 2011.
Convocation finished on a high with the Graduation and Fresher’s Ball, held in a marque on the historic campus in Cirencester.
We welcome the Class of 2013 students to the 14,000 strong RAU alumni network!