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Abertay celebrates student success at Winter Graduation Ceremony

27 November 2015

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The achievements of around 300 students were celebrated in the Caird Hall today (Friday 27 November), at Abertay University’s Winter Graduation Ceremony.

As well as the students, hundreds of members of their families and friends gathered from around the world for the celebrations.

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Degrees were conferred by Abertay's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Seaton, in subjects as diverse as Biomedical Science, Computer Games Technology, Ethical Hacking, and Sport and Exercise Science.

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The Ceremony included the award of an Honorary Doctorate in Liberal Arts to award-winning author Nathan Filer, whose debut novel The Shock of the Fall received widespread critical acclaim for its portrayal of the mental health system.

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Congratulating the new graduates on their success, Professor Seaton said at the ceremony: “My congratulations to you, our graduates. You should be very proud of your achievements.

“You have all followed your own path through Abertay. You all, I’m sure, have some great stories to tell.

“During your time at Abertay, I have been fortunate to be able to speak to some of you, and to learn at first hand what you have accomplished – as well as what you have enjoyed, what you have found difficult, and what you have found rewarding.

“What you have in common is that you have all mastered your field of study, and that you have all faced some pretty tough challenges along the way.

“As a university, we have as one of our objectives (as we put it) ‘to inspire and enable our students, staff and graduates to achieve their full potential’. We certainly hope we have done some ‘inspiring and enabling’ during your time with us. We also hope we have provided a foundation for your continued learning and achievement.

“You have all mastered a subject and – equally importantly – you have also learnt how to learn. You know how to approach complex situations, to collect and analyse information, and to solve problems. This, by the way, is why we emphasise workplace simulations in our teaching at Abertay. It is a good way to learn, and a great way to learn how to learn, throughout your working lives.

“Of course, an Abertay education is not just a preparation for the world of work. It is a preparation for life, and I know that your experience at Abertay will equip you for voluntary work, public service and a whole range of contributions to the wider community.“


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Nathan Filer

Nathan was nominated by staff in the university’s Division of Mental Health Nursing and Counselling, who specialise in mental health research and mental health nurse education.

His debut novel The Shock of the Fall – about a young schizophrenic named Matt Homes who is sectioned after failing to cope with his mental health condition in the community – was published in 2013 and received widespread critical acclaim.

It won the Costa Book of the Year Award, The Betty Trask Prize, The National Book Award for Popular Fiction and The Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel. It was also a Sunday Times bestseller, and is to be translated into 30 languages.

The book is written from Matt’s perspective and describes his life, his grief at the death of his brother, and his experiences of the mental health care system.

Before becoming an author, Nathan worked as a staff nurse on an acute psychiatric ward, gaining first-hand experience of the mental health care system himself. He then took up a role in mental health research at the University of Bristol.

He began his writing career as a stand-up poet, contributing regularly to festivals and spoken-word events across the UK, and featuring on television and radio.

An outspoken critic of government cuts to NHS mental health care services, Nathan has written on this topic for The Guardian.

He has also spoken about these issues on national radio, and given numerous lectures at universities, conferences and charities – including the inaugural public lecture at the Royal College of Nursing as part of World Mental Health Day.

In 2014 he was named as a Nursing Times Nursing Leader for influencing the way the public thinks about mental illness and mental health nursing.

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