Thousands of people are descending on Sunderland this week as hard work pays off for students.
It’s graduation week for the University of Sunderland’s class of 2016, with a week of ceremonies welcoming close to 12,000 graduates and their proud family and friends to the city’s Stadium of Light.
Whatever our graduates want to achieve they canSteve Cram
As well as being a personal celebration for the graduates and their families, the Academic Awards are also a chance for the city to join in congratulating the graduates on their success and celebrating the positive impact of students and the university.
The graduations are expected to bring £1m into the city and North East region’s economy.
Once again the university and its city partners are inviting everyone in Sunderland to join in congratulating the graduates and celebrating their success on social media using the hashtag #Hawaythegrads.
Steve Cram, Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, said: “The Academic Awards are a big day for all who cross the stage at the Stadium of Light. In this fast-moving world occasions to recognise achievement are more important than ever.
“It’s wonderful that so many loved ones - families and friends - are here to applaud and congratulate our graduates.
“I’m from the world of sport and in that world role models are very important, we need people to look up to and encourage us forward and that’s why having our honorary graduates is so important, their success and what they have achieved is inspiring.
“Graduation may feel like the end of a chapter, but success can be a chance to re-set your targets. Whatever our graduates want to achieve they can.
“As I said to them, the fact that they are here shows what they are capable of, they need to grab opportunities with both hands, be successful and I look forward to hearing what they achieve in future.”
The ceremonies take over every floor and corridor of the gigantic Stadium of Light. It’s awash with beaming faces, people dressed in their finest regalia, nervous moments, tears of happiness, clapping and cheering.
Some family members travel for thousands of miles to attend a graduation ceremony and for some their journey to Sunderland is their first visit to the UK. Often parents or siblings will not have seen their child, brother or sister since they left home to study in the UK – it’s an emotional time.
For students who have lived at home in the North East during their studying and are possibly the first in the family to attain a degree it’s a defining moment. It’s when they prove to themselves and their loved ones what they are capable of and that all their hard work was worth it.
There are two ceremonies every day, from Monday, July 4 to Friday, July 8.