Principal's column

Last summer was my first experience of graduation. I was moved by the ceremonies at the Caird Hall and by the special arrangements made for our design students in London. During this hectic week of gowns, photographs and proud parents I was also struck by the significance of graduation as a right of passage and a turning point in the lives of our students.

Conscious of the importance of marking this milestone and prompted by a chance conversation between Tom Inns and the Chancellor, I asked a team of staff to review our graduation programme and to complement the ceremonies with a festival of events for students and their families, placing the high point of the University year at the heart of the City and marking the success of our students.

Graduation Sensation is the resulting programme. Sensation Science Centre has agreed to host our celebrations in the public area outside the Centre allowing us to erect a tented village providing an all weather venue for the garden parties, a graduation lecture, concerts and the staff/alumni party Summer Sensation to be held on Friday 12 July. The church bells in the City will peal at the end of each graduation ceremony, an idea suggested by Charles McKean and readily agreed by the Council and the churches.

The staff/alumni party has been scheduled as part of the graduation festivities to celebrate the contribution that all staff make to the success of our students and our University. Following the hectic schedule of assessments, exams, marking and preparation for graduation, it is an opportunity to gather, mark our achievements and celebrate our purpose as a community of learning before going our separate ways for the summer break. (see Summer Sensation for details)

Summer Sensation promises to be a very special event. There will be live bands, dancing, a supper and a fun fair. I hope to encourage everyone to come with their colleagues, partners or friends. The venue has capacity for hundreds of people giving us the unique and unprecedented opportunity to gather as a single community.

This academic year has seen another merger with Northern College creating the new faculty of education and social work. With our expanding portfolio and four campuses it is now more important than ever to find opportunities to put names to faces, to find out about what we all do and to socialise together. Please seize this opportunity and let's set a new tradition for the years to come.

This year's list of honorary graduands is an impressive roll call from the creative arts, science, nursing, education, journalism and higher education. David Mach, a Duncan of Jordanstone graduate and one of Scotland's most successful contemporary artists, will be awarded with his honorary degree and will deliver the annual Discovery Lecture on Saturday 13 July in the Bonar Hall. This is a rare opportunity to hear one of Scotland's most famous names explaining his work in the place he learned his art.

We will be repeating last year's highly successful graduation in London for our design students on Tuesday 9 July so that they can have their own taste of Graduation Sensation. I hope that whatever your role in the University you will enjoy Graduation Sensation and help celebrate the collective achievements of the University. I look forward to seeing you on 12 July and wish everyone a very enjoyable summer.

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