Posted Wednesday 10 January 2024
More than 3,000 students will cross the stage as their achievements are applauded by proud family, friends, academic staff and special guests during Kingston University's winter graduation ceremonies.
A total of 16 ceremonies will take place between 11 and 18 January at the Rose Theatre in the centre of Kingston, with undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Kingston School of Art, Faculty of Health, Science, Social Care and Education, Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Environment and Faculty of Business and Social Sciences collecting their degrees. They will be joined by more than 50 PhD candidates also receiving their awards.
As well as the thousands of students graduating, the ceremonies will see five influential figures recognised for the outstanding contributions they have made in their respective fields. All of the latest recipients of the University's honorary degrees already have strong affiliations with the University.
They include Oriele Frank, a business studies with French graduate from 1988, who has gone on to become co-founder of global skincare brand ELEMIS. Her expertise in marketing and passion for sustainability and corporate social responsibility has seen the company create a range of innovative products and remain one of the premium British skincare and wellness brands.
She has also delivered two guest lectures at Kingston Business School, facilitated a hackathon and judged student enterprise competition Bright Ideas. Ms Frank is being named Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business and marketing.
Pharmaceutical expert Julian Gangolli, a BSc (Hons) Applied Chemistry graduate from 1981, is returning to be applauded for his outstanding contribution to healthcare, business and philanthropy. He has worked for several pharmaceutical organisations and helped GW Pharmaceuticals establish a US operation to launch life-changing childhood epilepsy treatment Epidiolex.
He also funded the University's Professor Sharat and Lilian Gangolli Scholarship in 2017 in memory of his parents. It supports talented first-generation students to achieve their academic goals.
A Doctor of Science is being awarded to Kevin Walsh in recognition of his extensive contribution to business, digital skills and philanthropy. He has spent more than 25 years in various leadership positions at global consultancy firm Deloitte, helping develop software, manage programmes and implement new systems. He has also supported students into education through scholarships at Kingston University and is a trustee and governor at Ada – the National College for Digital Skills.
When asked what advice he would give to graduates, Mr Walsh urged them to challenge themselves and take opportunities that arise. "While careers are normally more of a marathon than a sprint, challenging yourself to continue learning will help you grow as you work towards the clear goals you should set for yourself. Having the confidence and ability in yourself to excel, while helping others along the way will mean many more great achievements will follow."
Renowned British artist and photographer Dr Ingrid Pollard MBE, whose work explores social constructs such as Britishness and racial difference, is being honoured for her outstanding contribution to art and highlighting racial inequalities. A former lecturer in photography at Kingston University, she has worked as an artist in residence at several organisations and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2023 for services to art. She was also one of four artists nominated for the 2022 Turner Prize.
Andrew Winch, who graduated from Kingston with a BA (Hons) in 3D Interior Design in 1979, also joins the elite line up of honorary degree recipients. He founded Winch Design in 1986 with his wife Jane and has gone on to build several well-known superyachts. His company employs several Kingston University alumni and has also funded a scholarship for product and furniture design students, as well as supporting a graduation prize for 3D students. Mr Winch is being awarded a Doctor of Art and Design.
Reflecting on his time at Kingston, Mr Winch said it was good to give back to students. "My years at Kingston marked a very special time in my life, where I had all the support and space I needed to dive into design, to draw, expand my creative thinking, as well as forming lifelong friendships," he said. "Education of the arts and design has always been and will always remain incredibly important to me so having the opportunity to be a part of student's journeys into the design world is an honour," he added.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said graduation was a culmination of a lot of hard work put in by both students and the University staff who had supported them. "It gives me such pride seeing our new alumni crossing the stage, knowing the commitment and dedication they have displayed during the course of their studies. It's a joy to celebrate with them, their families and their friends and I wish them all the very best in their future careers," he said.