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Highest ever number of students graduate from Sussex

Summer Graduation 2018, Brighton Centre

Summer Graduation saw the University awarding degrees to 3,866 finalists – the highest number to have ever graduated from Sussex – from 104 countries, during a week of ceremonies at the Brighton Centre. A further 11,116 guests attended the event, making it the biggest Sussex graduation event ever held.

Professor Adam Tickell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said:

“I’m immensely proud of our students graduating - not only for the considerable academic achievements for which they are being awarded, or the valuable contribution that many have already made to industry through their research, but also for the personal journey that they have made during their time at Sussex.

“It’s a journey of both heart and mind and our students have community spirit, courage and kindness in spades. These are students who are not afraid to push the boundaries, to disrupt the status quo; who want to use their knowledge and qualifications to get out and make a difference.

“It is fitting, therefore, that we are also awarding a number of honorary degrees to remarkable individuals who have themselves pushed the boundaries in their fields – many of whom are Sussex alumni – and I’m delighted to be also welcoming them to Brighton.”

The University awarded honorary degrees to:

  • Director of User Experience at Google, Mountain View, Elizabeth Churchill
  • Chief International Correspondent for the BBC, Lyse Doucet.
  • Distinguished researcher and professor of mathematics, Professor David Edmunds
  • Head of Public Affairs at the Brunswick Group and former British official in the European Commission, Sir Jonathan Faull KCMG
  • Socio-political activist and writer who campaigns for women’s and LGBT rights in Malaysia, Marina Mahathir
  • Journalist, broadcaster, activist and political consultant, Hella Pick CBE

Graduation took place between Monday 23 to Friday 27 July. The University’s Chancellor – the actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE – presented graduands with their degrees at 12 ceremonies across the week.

Among those graduating are:

  • Finance graduate Julian Bourne, 23, who co-founded his technology startup, Waffle, which connects people with real-time restaurant deals in their area, whilst studying at Sussex. He and his team recently won the Pitch@Palace People’s Choice award at St James’s Palace. Bourne credits his second year with giving him the skills to get started, and his placement year with giving him the chance to gain experience. He says:
    “I learnt so much from accounting, to how to be the director of your own company.”
    On developing his app whilst studying at Sussex: “The value in still being a student was being surrounded by the very people I wanted to target with Waffle. So anytime I wanted feedback or ideas I’d ask my course mates. It was awesome to get their insight.
  • Jessica Hislop, 25, who gave up opera singing to become an astrophysicist. She credits the physics department with giving her brilliant opportunities, including working on the NASA James Webb Space Telescope, a £7 billion telescope that will be launched into space in 2021, to uncover the history of the Universe.  Hislop says: “Everyone in the Department helps each other and pulls each other up – with the older years so willing to help younger years. The academics are brilliant: they have such great contacts in the sector! From this, I’ve been able to travel to Germany and Switzerland during my studies on paid research placements.”
  • Dr Hulya Kaya, 44 and a mother of two, who is awarded a PhD in migration and refugee law. She is the Deputy Governor of Istanbul. Dr Kaya says: “Studying in the UK definitely enlarged my vision. In Turkey, there are not enough specialized lawyers and senior officials in migration and refugee law. It’s great that I can now turn my experience and knowledge into practice to assist refugees and migrants in need of help.
  • English Literature graduate Molly Masters, 21, who won the Startup Sussex enterprise award for Books That Matter, her subscription box service with a mission to empower girls through literature. Masters says: “It’s the only university I visited at which I really felt at home; it has such an amazing community feel. I’ve loved studying English Literature at Sussex. Everything the University promised came true and I can’t believe I’m about to launch my own business at 21!”

The University of Sussex adds £343 million a year to the economies of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex. The University is highly ranked in the UK league tables and over 75% of our research activity is categorised as world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2014).


By: Maria Andreou
Last updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2018