Leading figures celebrate with GCU graduates

29 June 2016

Students from Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of Engineering and Built Environment and School of Health and Life Sciences today (June 29) celebrated their graduations in summer ceremonies held at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

The graduands were capped by University Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus, who delivered the Opening Address.

The University also honoured leading figures in recognition of their achievements.

Melanne Verveer received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law. She is the Executive Director of the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace & Security. In 2009, President Obama nominated her to be the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, ensuring women’s participation and rights were integrated into U.S. foreign policy.

Ms Verveer said: “I am humbled and honoured to receive this award from GCU, which is recognised for its academic excellence, its rigorous research, its global leadership and exceptional commitment to the common good. Your focus on real-life problem-solving is addressing some of society’s most intractable challenges. Your global reach extends from Scotland to South Africa and Mauritius, from Bangladesh to Oman, and beyond. Clearly, dear graduates, you are very well-prepared.

“Your leadership, your skills, your preparation, your commitment are vital for a better world. I hope you will use your power for purpose; to speak out when injustices arise, to defend human rights, to give voice to the voiceless and spare no efforts to advance peace and social progress.”

Political activist Mary Fisher received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters. Ms Fisher was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and has led social action to revise the perception, education and treatment of AIDS. She is also author of six books and an artist, whose sculptures are now found in collections worldwide.

She said: "It took me nearly a decade to come to the belief that change is truly possible. I needed to learn that history is written not by today's headlines, but by those who believe they can make a difference in the world. Armed with your degree, you can change our expectations and our vision."

There were four summer graduation ceremonies this week for students graduating from the University’s Glasgow School for Business and Society; School of Engineering and Built Environment, and the School of Health and Life Sciences.