University of Sussex graduation brings record numbers to Brighton

Record numbers of students will graduate from the University of Sussex this week, bringing more than ten thousand visitors to Brighton.

The University will award degrees to 3,862 finalists from 106 countries, during a week of ceremonies at the Brighton Centre. A further 10,300 guests will attend the event, making it the biggest Sussex graduation event ever held.

Professor Adam Tickell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “University of Sussex students have continually told us that they love Brighton, and that they find Sussex to be a welcoming place to live. Many of them choose to stay and contribute to the vibrant and multi-cultural community in our city.

“The University of Sussex was founded in 1961 to foster innovative thinking and creative minds. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we instill our young people with the ability to think critically and evaluate their options in an ever-changing world.

“The University of Sussex is committed to helping students from all backgrounds to access the benefits of higher education. The students graduating this week represent a wide spectrum of diversity, aged from 19 to 74, and from more than 106 countries.

“I could not be prouder of this year’s graduates from the University of Sussex. They are the embodiment of energy, hope and possibility for the future, and it is with this spirit that we endeavor to continue Sussex’s legacy.”

Graduation takes place at the Brighton Centre, from Monday 17th to Friday 21st July. The ceremonies will be streamed live to friends and families across the UK and around the world.

The University’s Chancellor, the actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE, will present graduands with their degrees at 12 ceremonies across the week.

He says: "Graduation is a highlight of any academic year and the energy, noise and joy that Sussex graduates and their families bring are, I’m told, unlike any other graduation ceremony. Part pomp, part circumstance, part rock and roll - unpredictable, creative, fun. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?"

The University of Sussex is one of the top 20 universities in the UK, and is ranked third in the country for graduate employment prospects. The University contributes more than £200-million of the economic output of Brighton & Hove and Lewes.

The University will also award honorary degrees to remarkable individuals from wider society:

  • Professor Yanis Varoufakis was elected Finance Minister for Greece in January 2015. Frustrated by, in his own words, ‘Europe’s inane handling of an inevitable crisis’, he resigned in July 2015, after refusing to sign a loan agreement that perpetuated Greece’s debt-deflationary cycle. He continues to speak and write on political and economic topics and, in 2016, he co-founded DiEM25 – the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 – a ‘radical, utopian’ project campaigning on issues such as migration and transparency.
  • John Rocha CBE was born in Hong Kong and moved to London to study fashion in the 1970s. In 1993, he was awarded the Designer of the Year title at the British Fashion Awards. In 2002 – in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the fashion industry – John received the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) from Her Majesty the Queen.
  • Duncan Campbell is an investigative journalist, consultant, producer and forensic expert who has specialised in civil liberties, technology and secrecy issues over 40 years in reporting. In 1976, he was the first journalist to reveal the role of the British communications intelligence agency GCHQ, leading to the infamous ‘ABC’ trial when the government attempted to jail him for up to 30 years for breaking the Official Secrecy laws. He later revealed the existence of the ECHELON project, which has since become controversial throughout the world.
  • Dr Becky Parker MBE is a Director of the Institute for research in Schools (IRIS) – a national charity based at the Science Museum in London that supports school students and teachers doing authentic research through a wide range of projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She gained a first-class degree in physics at the University of Sussex in 1980 and later returned to take a PGCE. She was awarded an MBE in 2008 and received Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics in 2014.
  • Professor Dame Pamela Shaw DBE was awarded a Damehood in recognition of her contribution to neurosciences, including revolutionary research in pioneering treatments for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Throughout her career she has led a major multidisciplinary programme of research, investigating genetic, molecular and neurochemical factors underlying neurodegenerative disorders of the human motor system.
  • Professor of Economics and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Ernest Aryeeteyis the Secretary-General of the African Research Universities Alliance. He is well-known for his work on development economics, including informal finance and microfinance in Africa.
  • Topher Campbell is a film, television and theatre director, as well as being a writer and social commentator. He is co-founder of the rukus!Federation, a Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (BLGBT) arts company. He was a recipient of the 2005 Jerwood Young Directors Award, and was recently longlisted for the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize for his memoir Battyman.
  • Paul Gilroy is currently Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London. Since obtaining his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Sussex in 1978, he has gone on to hold professorships in cultural studies, sociology, African-American studies, social theory and literature, and has taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Yale University and Goldsmiths (University of London). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014.
  • Yvonne Roberts is a writer, award-winning journalist and former Chief Leader Writer of The Observer. She was appointed as the University of Sussex’s inaugural Political Writer in Residence in 2016, where she is helping politics students to become outstanding political communicators. She is Chair of Trustees of Women in Prison, seeking to radically reduce the number of women in prison; an adviser to All About Trans, a project that works to make positive changes to the way the media understands and portrays young transgender people; and a Fellow of The Young Foundation, a centre of social innovation aimed at tackling structural inequality.
  • Patrick Spottiswoode joined Shakespeare’s Glove in 1984 and become founding Director of Globe Education in 1989. In 2000, he oversaw the creation of the Globe/King’s MA. Globe Education now offers undergraduate courses, MA modules and conservatory acting programmes for over 1,300 students every year.

 Many of those graduating are already making an impact in their chosen field, including:

  • James Cockett (Business, Management and Economics), who graduates with an MSc in Economics, spent the summer before his final year investigating how economics theory influences football predictions, as part of the University’s Junior Research Associates scheme. His prize-winning research project has helped him land a job as a research economist at the Institute for Employment Studies.
  • Politics student Solomon Curtis stood as the Labour candidate for Brighton Pavilion this summer, completing his final exams just one week before the election. He graduates with a bright political future and a determination to effect change.
  • After a number of years in fairly low skilled jobs having left school at 16 with no A-Levels, John Wilkie (Engineering and Informatics) decided to challenge himself by studying computer science at Sussex, who accepted him on a foundation course. Today he graduates as the winner of the £10,000 MacQuitty Prize, awarded annually to a Sussex student for outstanding performance at undergraduate level.
  • Dr Melissa Lazenby, 29, has just finished a PhD in the School of Global Studies. Originally from Johannesburg, she was set to become a weather forecaster before she started the Peter Carpenter African Climate Scholarship at the University, which trains future African climate scientists. For the past four years Melissa has been working on her thesis which looks at how certain future climate change predictions for Africa are. Her research, which she has also presented in the House of Lords, makes a stark warning that October, November and December are set to become incredibly dry on the continent.
  • Sherin Abdelbadiee, 22, has just finished a three year biomedicine degree in the School of Life Sciences. Sherin was chosen to work on an Alzheimer’s disease project researching the association between a brain protein called tau and the disease. She is now set to marry research and medicine by training to become a doctor at the University of Leeds.
  • Matthew Rosen (English), has been jointly awarded the School’s prize for the highest ranking finalist student in the School of English, as well as the Mary Dove prize for the highest ranking English literature student. Having studied in Paris for a year during his degree, as well as participating in a Europe-wide project that took him to Moscow, Biella in Italy, and Krakow, Matthew has now been chosen for a residential internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. He is spending this summer on a film project called Wywiad, reimagining his family's journey from a small village in central Poland to England at the turn of the twentieth century through a speculative walk.
  • Aisling Murray (History, Art History and Philosophy), a first generation student from Brighton, has been awarded the history department’s outstanding contribution prize for her work with the student union, her support of and performance of traditional music, and her dissertation on Ireland and memory.
  • Charlotte Morley (Mathematical and Physical Sciences), graduates with a BSc in maths and will be staying at Sussex to start a Primary PGCE course in September. As a primary school teacher she hopes to engage children with maths from an early age, inspiring confidence and interest that will last a lifetime.
  • Jon James (Psychology), is graduating with a First in Psychology and Neuroscience and is joining Price Waterhouse Cooper’s graduate training scheme after interning for the top accountancy company last summer.

By: Rose Tremlett
Last updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2017