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Students return to celebrate their graduation at Northumbria University

28th September 2021

Thousands of students had the opportunity to formally celebrate the culmination of their studies, as Northumbria University returned to holding in-person graduation ceremonies following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by the Government.

Working within the redefined guidance to ensure the safety of students and guests and, liaising closely with Newcastle City Council, Northumbria was among the first UK universities to hold graduation ceremonies earlier this month, for those who completed their studies in both 2020 and 2021.

In 28 ceremonies, over the course of 10 days, more than 6,000 students were finally able to celebrate their graduation at Newcastle Cathedral with their family and friends.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Chancellor of Northumbria University, said: “Celebrating the success of all our graduates in such an extraordinary venue was especially rewarding given the challenges we have all faced since March 2020. It was a privilege and pleasure to share this special occasion with our graduates and congratulate them on their extraordinary achievement.”  

The University will hold its next graduation ceremonies in March next year. Summer congregations will take place in July when Northumbria will also be awarding Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, the UK Government’s Chief Medical Adviser and head of the public health profession, with an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Professor Chris Whitty

An alumnus of Northumbria University, Professor Whitty is a globally recognised physician and epidemiologist and has become one of the UK’s most trusted figures on the Covid-19 pandemic following his numerous Downing Street briefings. He studied for the LLM in Medical Law at Northumbria University, graduating in 2005.

Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Northumbria University, said: “Graduation marks an important milestone in our students’ lives.  Having welcomed our graduates to Newcastle Cathedral at our most recent ceremonies, it is clear to see how important it is that we are once again able to formally recognise their hard work and academic achievement.

"We are delighted to invite Professor Whitty, one of Northumbria’s most distinguished alumni, to our summer congregations, to accept the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding contribution to healthcare, science and society.”

The University awards honorary degrees to individuals of high distinction who have earned national or international recognition and standing in their field.

Alongside his role as Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Whitty is a practicing NHS Consultant Physician at University College London Hospitals and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, and Gresham Professor of Physic at Gresham College.

As an epidemiologist, Professor Whitty has undertaken research in the UK, Africa and Asia and was Professor of Public and International Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.  Professor Whitty was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List, for services to Tropical Medicine in the UK and Africa.

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