Hundreds of University of Abertay Dundee students graduated today in the University’s winter graduation ceremony, launching their careers in a wide range of industry-relevant subjects.
Almost 400 graduands had their degrees formally conferred during the ceremony. Most were expected to attend in person, watched by hundreds more family members and friends.
The ceremony also included the formal installation of Abertay’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Seaton, who took over as Principal in August. The Chair of the University’s Court (governing body), Mr Nigel Hawkins, formally presented Professor Seaton, who was then officially appointed Vice-Chancellor by the University’s Chancellor, Lord Cullen of Whitekirk.
Two honorary degrees were also awarded to Catriona Matthew (Honorary Doctorate of Arts), one of Scotland’s most successful international golfers, and Iain Flett (Honorary Doctorate of Letters), Archivist of the City of Dundee.
In his inaugural address as Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Seaton congratulated all the graduands and thanked, on their behalf, all their friends and families and the staff of the University for all they had done to support the graduands during their studies.
Professor Seaton said: “You, our new graduates, are our focus today, and it is your achievements and your prospects that we are all here to celebrate. I am sure that many if not most of you felt, when you first enrolled as an Abertay student, rather daunted by the scale of the challenge you were taking on.
“University is one of life’s challenging experiences, as well as one of the most rewarding. I know from my own experience that this is true whether you are graduating with a first degree, or as a postgraduate student. I am sure that there must have been times, along the way, when you doubted your own ability to complete the journey.
“Well, now you know the answer, and you have every right to feel as proud of your achievement as I am sure your families and friends do. My colleagues and I are also very proud of you – you have more than justified the faith we placed in you even before you arrived at Abertay, when the University decided to take a chance on you and your ability to learn.”
He concluded by urging all the graduates to stay in touch and pledged the support of the University in helping them secure employment or further study.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS: Honorary Graduands Biographies
Catriona has been one of the leading golfers on the world stage for over a decade. Her sterling amateur record, including the 1993 British Amateur title, laid the foundations for a successful career, competing at the highest level all around the globe. She has picked up eight victories along the way, on the USLPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET), and last year qualified for her sixth European Solheim Cup Team, having famously sunk the winning putt that clinched the Cup for the European Team in 2003.
Catriona’s biggest win of all came at the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open, one of the world’s four Majors – a title all the more remarkable for the fact that it was won just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Sophie.
Catriona was chosen by her fellow LPGA players to receive the 2009 Heather Farr Player Award, which honours an LPGA player who has demonstrated determination, perseverance, and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player. She was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List and was also named 2009 LET Player of the Year. In February 2010 Catriona also became the first Freewoman of East Lothian at a ceremony in her hometown.
Catriona continues to consistently deliver at the very highest level and 2011 was no exception. She won on the LET at the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open, had seven top 10 finishes on the LPGA and finished her year with a victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Her form has continued into 2012 with six top-10 results on the LPGA and victory at the Ladies Irish Open resulting in her current ranking of 15 on the Rolex World Rankings.
Born within the old dockyard in Dover, Iain Flett comes from a naval family and spent his early childhood in Malta playing among the towering bastions of Valletta Harbour. When the family returned to Scotland he attended Buckie High School in Banffshire and then read history at Aberdeen University. After a period of working in the then India Office Library in the Foreign Office, cataloguing 18th Century correspondence from Sri Lanka, he went to University College Wales Aberystwyth in 1972 to study palaeography (old handwriting) and archive administration.
On graduation from Aberystwyth he worked on the dismantling of the huge Welsh county of Glamorgan. Iain remembers crawling about a wide range of attics and basements everywhere from Swansea to Cardiff, saving a fascinating range of plans, drawings and records from the many boroughs.
He came to Dundee in 1976 in the aftermath of Scottish local reorganisation, when Dundee City Archives had taken over the historical records of the former Tayside Regional Council. As the archive included many historical county records, Iain remembers crawling about another wide range of attics and basements saving more fascinating records.
Iain has always been interested in oral history and community history. He was one of the first secretaries of the Scottish Oral History Group, and also chair of the Dundee Oral History Project, a visionary programme that recruited long-term unemployed people to systematically record Dundonians’ memories.
Iain has also been very active in voluntary community history initiatives in Dundee, such as the huge volume of micro-indexed records of burial, baptism, valuation etc that has been processed by volunteer members of the public from The Friends of Dundee City Archives.