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Abertay University graduation to celebrate student successes


The University of Abertay Dundee will today (Thursday 7 July) celebrate the successful graduation of over a thousand students at the summer Graduation ceremony.

Joining the students and thousands of family members for the day of celebration will be an internationally renowned line-up of Honorary Graduates, including the 200th astronaut to walk in space Colonel Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr and Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson MBE.

Around 1,050 students will graduate, with a total of almost 3,000 people expected to attend the Caird Hall celebrations. The day features the traditional academic procession, the formal ‘capping’ from Abertay’s Chancellor, Lord Cullen of Whitekirk, and the rousing playing of the Abertay University Pipe Band.

Honorary Degrees will also be awarded to economics expert Professor Jonathan Crook, Higher Education Academy (HEA) Chief Executive Professor Craig Mahoney and former Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Jack Perry CBE.

Abertay University’s Acting Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nicholas Terry said ahead of the ceremonies:

“The Graduation ceremonies are always a memorable event for our students, their families and the university’s staff.

“It is wonderful to all be able to celebrate the achievements of our students together, to meet and congratulate graduates and their families, and to hear of the jobs they’ve secured and their ambitious plans for the future.”

He added:

“Abertay University prides itself on an unashamedly practical, vocational approach to higher education.

“From our internationally acclaimed computer games degrees to real-life work experience in our business degrees, and research excellence in areas including environmental and forensic sciences, psychology and cyber-security, we are preparing graduates with the skills they need to succeed.

“Many of today’s graduates are taking their first step into the jobs market this summer, looking for rewarding and secure employment. What all of our academic and support staff strive to do every year is make this transition as easy as possible.

“We wish each and every graduate the very best for the future. We have every confidence they will go on to great things – and we look forward to hearing of their many successes in the years to come.”


For further information and images of the Honorary Graduates, please contact Kevin Coe – 01382 308452, mobile 07850 904110 or email


Additional biographical information for the Honorary Graduates:

Colonel (Ret.) Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr (Doctor of Science) is a Mission Specialist Astronaut in the Astronaut Corps at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas – the unit responsible for the operational employment of the three US Space Shuttles and the seventeen-nation International Space Station.
During his career, he has logged more than 612 hours in space aboard the space shuttles Endeavour and Discovery, and more than 4,000 flying hours in more than 30 different types of aircraft. Colonel Drew has been instrumental in the success of Abertay’s popular annual Tayside Space School programme for school children in and around Dundee, Perth and Angus.

Ian Anderson MBE (Doctor of Letters) is known as the flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull. Born in Dunfermline, he attended school in Edinburgh before his family relocated to Blackpool. Jethro Tull grew out of two local blues groups in 1968 and rapidly established itself as one of the UK’s premier live and recording groups.
Over the past 43 years the band has released more 30 studio and live albums, selling more than 60 million copies since the band first performed at London's famous Marquee club. After undertaking more than 2,500 concerts in 40 countries throughout three decades, Tull plays typically 100 concerts each year to longstanding, as well as new, fans worldwide.
Anderson has also recorded four diverse solo albums in his career. In 2006, he won the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in Music and, in the New Years Honours List 2008, was awarded an MBE for services to music.

Professor Jonathan Crook (Doctor of Business Administration) specialises in researching credit scoring, and the demand, supply and competition in the credit industry, both over time and between households. He is a Fellow of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Crook is Director of Edinburgh University’s Credit Research Centre, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008.
Jack Perry CBE (Doctor of Business Administration) was Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s enterprise, innovation and investment agency, from 2003 to 2009. Previously, he was Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in Glasgow, and Regional Industry Leader for Scotland and Northern Ireland for Ernst & Young’s Technology & Communications practice.
Professor Craig Mahoney (Doctor of Arts) is Chief Executive of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the UK body working in partnership with institutions, academic staff, funding bodies and governments to enhance the quality of the student learning experience for students studying a Higher Education award.
Professor Mahoney sits on numerous national committees and groups overseeing teaching quality and the student experience across British higher education. He has a strong interest in differentiated learning, including student-centred individualised learning environments. He is an advocate of e-Learning and the use of technology to create positive blended learning environments.

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