Graduation cheer at college celebrations
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.
Jessie Gourlay had the honour of carrying the UHI Mace into the graduation ceremony.