It was a time for celebration at Falmouth University this week, with the long-awaited return of in-person graduation and the opportunity to congratulate the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Held from 11 – 15 July, this year’s ceremonies were the first to take place at FalmouthUniversity since 2019, due to the disruption of the pandemic.
Around 6,000 graduates from across the three cohorts were welcomed onto Penryn Campus to celebrate their hard work and achievements, joined by their friends, families, academics, and Chancellor Dawn French.
Many of these graduates experienced the full impact of lockdown and restrictions on their university experience, so there was plenty of joy and elation at being able to mark the culmination of their degree in true style, as well as don their traditional gowns and mortar boards.
For those who finished their course in 2020 and 2021 and were unable to have their ceremony until now, the occasion was especially poignant. This year saw the first cohorts to graduate from several of the online courses offered by the University, with graduates travelling to Falmouth from across the UK and even as far afield as China.
During their ceremony, each graduate was also presented with their very own ‘Dawn Doubloon’, a chocolate gold coin which has now become an iconic part of graduation at Falmouth.
After the ceremony, graduates and their guests were able to enjoy the sunshine for a reception in the Italian Gardens on Penryn Campus, with delicious food and drink available from a range of local Cornish vendors.
Honorary Fellow Julie Felix and Chris Pomfret OBE (Chair of Board of Governors)
Speaking of this year’s triple graduation celebrations, Professor Emma Hunt, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Falmouth University said:
“This year saw Falmouth host an unprecedented three cohorts graduating. Graduation Week has provided busy, celebratory atmosphere on campus as graduates and families gathered to reflect and give thanks to those that supported them. Falmouth graduations are always special and this year we recognise the impacts that restrictions and lockdowns had on the university experience. It has been tough, but our students have shown remarkable residence, tenacity and determination.
“Throughout the last few years, they’ve been flexible, they’ve adapted and they have triumphed. During the toughest of times, they’ve shown they’ve got what it takes. They know how to be bold and brave in their work and how creativity and creative thinking can positively change the world. More than ever before; people, businesses and communities need the knowledge and experience our graduates have honed during their time with Falmouth. They will forever be part of our story – and as our Institution celebrates 120 years of creative innovation, we wish them well and join with them in celebrating their future success.”
Former SU President (2021-22) Ben Statham-Wilkins addressed graduates with a speech recognising the creativity and perseverance of students at Falmouth University, also applauding the work of student representatives: He told students:
“Students are the heart of this University and have been inspirational in their work. I’ve had the immense pleasure of working alongside so many students to improve the experience for all and I’m so grateful for their positive impact over a difficult few years.”
Julie built a career performing at the top of the industry and across the globe. She is now passionate about supporting the next generation of diverse and inclusive practitioners and has been working with students from Falmouth University who have already benefitted enormously from her expertise.
Suzanne founded the charity Attitude is Everything in 2000, as a way of connecting deaf and disabled people with the music and events industry to improve access. In recent years, Suzanne has worked alongside Falmouth’s business school to keep pushing forward inclusivity within the industry.
Graduates reflect on their time at Falmouth University
Nadia Ferreira Salgueiro graduated with a degree in Dance and Choreography, after moving to Falmouth from Portugal. “The memory that sticks out for me most, was when I arrived for the first time. I was very scared and worried about feeling lonely, but everyone was so welcoming and friendly. The community in Falmouth is so lovely and I knew straight away that this would be my new home. I will never forget it.”
Will Bugler, a graduate of the BA (Hons) Sustainable Product Design course adds: “Everywhere is so beautiful, from the beaches to the buildings, to the exotic plants and trees. It was hard not to feel at home here.”
Bonita Lyons graduated from the BA (Hons) Illustration degree and also shared her favourite memory of Falmouth: “My favourite memory is working with my course mates at the large desks in studio, surrounded by lively studio culture, with the chattering of students and tutors and the smell of cafe chips being passed around.”
Rebecca Kealy recalls her favourite memories while studying a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing: “By far my favourite memory was going on the Prussia Cove trip with the English/Creative Writing department. Not only was it a stunning place to visit, but after a tough and really anti-social two and a half years with the entire course being disrupted by covid, it was a brilliant chance to finally bond with my course mates and tutors and let out hair down before the real stress of the dissertation began!”
This year’s graduates also included individuals from Falmouth’s online courses, with some coming to campus for the first time in order to graduate in person. Nicole Rossa from Cleveland, Ohio was part of the MA Comedy Writing course: “I started the course right after lockdown in the states. I’m based in Cleveland, Ohio. While most people spent COVID lockdowns in their respective homes, I would sneak off to a seaside town in the UK a few times a week to spend afternoons with a group of incredibly talented writers and instructors. Graduation day was terrific. It was vital for me to come, plus I wanted to know what everyone looked like from the neck down! I’m so glad I found this program. It has kept me sane for the last two years and given me the passion and confidence I lacked in writing.”