Posted Thursday 26 January 2023
Kingston University alumni from the Class of 1956 to the Class of 1979 donned their caps and gowns to attend a special Honorary Degree in Education graduation ceremony, decades after completing their education studies at Gipsy Hill Teacher Training College, a predecessor of Kingston University's Department of Education.
Over 450 holders of the Certificate in Education have been awarded an Honorary Degree in Education to match their award to the Bachelor's degree received by graduates today. Nearly 160 Kingston alumni attended the honorary graduation ceremony on Tuesday 17 January 2023, which had been postponed since July 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
This special graduation ceremony at the Rose Theatre was hosted by Dr David Mackintosh, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education, with speeches from current education staff and students, and a vote of thanks from honorary graduate John ‘Nobby' Clarke. Honorary graduates who could not attend on the day were able to join the celebrations via our graduation ceremony live stream.
Graham Shaw (Class of 1974) shared: "I enjoyed most the very thoughtful words of all who spoke in the ceremony. Their acknowledgement of Gipsy Hill students felt very special to me. I especially enjoyed listening to the words of current teaching students."
The celebration continued at the Town House reception. It was a chance to reunite Gipsy Hill friends, to bring together different generations of Kingston alumni, staff and students, and to celebrate the power of education.
"I felt very proud about being invited back today and meeting some colleagues that I haven't seen for over 40 years," said Stella Rogers (Class of 1978).
Barbara Kimber (Class of 1975) shared her advice for new teachers starting their careers: "Each child is an individual with individual strengths and needs. Your enthusiasm and input can make all the difference to their learning. Enjoy!"
Kingston University's archive created a special collection of photos, maps and memorabilia to mark this period in the Department of Education's history. Notable changes took place during this time at Gipsy Hill, including the introduction of new subjects, a wider age range and the admission of male students in 1965.
Vote of thanks speaker John Clarke (Class of 1971) attended with his wife Pamela Clarke (Class of 1972): "There are at least one, two, three couples that have been together since those days and here today - and I would be very surprised if there weren't more! It shaped our lives really. Not just us together, but in where we chose to work, where we chose to teach."
Honorary graduates rounded off the day with a tour of Kingston Hill campus (previously Gipsy Hill). It was a chance revisit Gipsy Hill hotspots such as Kenry House, Coombehurst and Walkden Hall, and see how the campus has evolved and expanded over the decades.
Janice Larden-Price, Alumni Manager at Kingston University, who led the project shared: It was hugely important that we recognise the education and career achievements of this group of Kingston alumni. It's wonderful to see so many honorary graduates back on campus for today's celebration."
As the event came to a close, Lynn Majakas (Class of 1976) reflected: "I feel that my long career in education has been acknowledged. The ceremony and meeting my ‘old' college friends – it formalised the community we once were and are still."