Graduates celebrate success with stars Lily Cole and Katherine Grainger

03 July 2013

Lily Cole

Lily Cole

Hundreds of Glasgow Caledonian University students celebrated their success today as the University’s first summer graduation ceremony took place at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).

More than 1000 students from the University’s School of Health and Life Sciences and the School of Engineering and Built Environment were joined by honorary graduates including Olympic gold medal winning rower Katherine Grainger, games designer Richard Lemarchand and international fashion model, actress and social entrepreneur Lily Cole.

GCU Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus welcomed graduands and their families to the SECC.

He said: “It is my great privilege to welcome you to this ceremony. Graduation is one of the most memorable occasions in everybody’s lives. I must remind you all that you are the most powerful generation in human history. You have the most amazing technology at your command and the ability to build a better world. You are superman and superwoman. You can change it all. Congratulations.”

The University also recognised Olympic athlete Katherine Grainger and model, actress and social entrepreneur Lily Cole with honorary doctorates.

GCU University Secretary Jan Hulme said Katherine was “constantly redefining world class” as she paid tribute to the athlete’s achievement in winning Team GB Olympic Gold, three Olympic Silver medals, and six-time World Championship titles.

Katherine was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University, in recognition of her outstanding contribution in the field of sport and to honour her public service and work with charity.

Katherine said: “It’s a massive honour to get this degree. I won’t give too much advice as you all have to find your own ways in life. But I will say one thing: although you may have a good idea where your life is going you should still always be open to opportunities when they come. I didn’t think I’d be rowing and I didn’t have the idea that I’d be an Olympian and an Olympic champion. The exciting thing is that you are all at the start of your journey. It’s all there waiting for you. Good luck.”

Lily Cole, international fashion model, actress and social entrepreneur, was recognised with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters for her outstanding contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes.

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor for International and External Relations, said that through Lily’s work with charity and social business she had challenged people to “deal in the currency of kindness” and that Lily was one of the “most ambitious young social entrepreneurs on the world stage today.”

Lily, whose mother the artist Patience Owen attended the Glasgow ceremony, said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to be with you all today – as this is really about all the students who are graduating today. To achieve is important but I hope it never seems lofty. I think the most important things in life are really simple and it is about our attitude to life.

“For me, achievement has always come as something of a surprise when my first thought has been to follow my heart. The jumps between fashion, film and business were scary and continue to be scary but every time I’ve been rewarded. You’re at the most amazing moment right now when you can choose what it is you want to do. So I would say follow your heart, if you need to pivot in five years, pivot in five years. I wish you all the best of luck and congratulations.” 

During Wednesday’s afternoon ceremony, Professor Douglas Greenhalgh, Executive Dean and Pro-vice Chancellor of the School of Engineering and Built Environment, presented games designer Richard Lemarchand with Degree of Doctor of Technology in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fields of innovatio