Grad­u­a­tion cheer at col­lege cel­e­bra­tions

The Oban Times - - News -

STAFF and stu­dents at the West High­land col­lege cel­e­brated their an­nual grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Fort Wil­liam last week.

More than 350 guests gath­ered at the Ne­vis Cen­tre last Fri­day to cel­e­brate and hear ad­dresses from guest speak­ers Ken Bruce, of BBC Ra­dio 2, and Robert Robert­son, lead singer of Scot­tish band, Tide Lines.

Fri­day’s cer­e­mony be­gan with an aca­demic pro­ces­sion led by Pro­fes­sor Clive Mul­hol­land, principal and vice chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands, the col­lege’s own principal and chief ex­ec­u­tive Lydia Rohmer, mem­bers of the board of man­age­ment, staff and other guests lead by Piper Raj Smith from In­ver­lochy.

The Mace was car­ried by bearer Jessie Gourlay from Fort Wil­liam.

Born and bred in Lochaber, Jessie was the pop­u­lar choice for this year’s mace bearer, af­ter work­ing for the col­lege for the last three years.

Made from sil­ver and wood the mace is used at all grad­u­a­tion events to rep­re­sent the ‘beauty of the area’.

‘The or­na­men­ta­tion sym­bol­ises sand and beaches, water and air, while the lower mount is adorned with three 18ct yel­low gold wires de­pict­ing hills and moun­tains.’ it was said.

Twenty-three-year- old Rachel Bradley was named the West High­land Col­lege UHI Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Stu­dent of the Year.

Rachel who is orig­i­nally from Carlisle, but lives in Fort Wil­liam, has just em­barked on the fourth year of her de­gree in tourism man­age­ment and was nom­i­nated for the award by her lec­turer, Matt Groves.

Mr Groves said: ‘Rachel has demon­strated con­sis­tently high aca­demic stan­dards and al­ways shows a keen spirit of in­quiry.’

Speaking about her achieve­ment, Rachel said: ‘I am thrilled to have re­ceived this award and would like to thank the col­lege for the nom­i­na­tion and their be­lief in my abil­ity to suc­ceed.

‘Fort Wil­liam has been a fan­tas­tic place to study and the High­lands pro­vide both aes­thetic inspiration for, and re­lief from, my stud­ies.’

Craig Muir 44, from the Isle of Skye, also achieved high ac­co­lade af­ter be­ing named fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent of the year.

Craig be­gan his stud­ies just last year af­ter en­rolling on the croft­ing and coun­try­side skills course in Broad­ford.

Hav­ing no for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore start­ing, five chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, Craig said: ‘I plan to con­tinue my stud­ies in hor­ti­cul­ture to al­low me to set up my own busi­ness in the fu­ture. It’s been a great course for me and I have rec­om­mended it to oth­ers – a friend has even en­rolled for this year.’

Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Stu­dent of the Year Rachel Bradley is pre­sented with her award by guest speaker Ken Bruce.

Col­lege principal and chief ex­ec­u­tive of West High­land Col­lege UHI, Lydia Rohmer, and chair­man of the West High­land Col­lege UHI John Hutchi­son presents the Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion Stu­dent of the Year award to Craig Muir, from Broad­ford.

Pho­to­graphs: Iain Ferguson, The Write Im­age.

Jessie Gourlay had the honour of car­ry­ing the UHI Mace into the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

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