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January 24, 2013

Winter Graduation: Everybody's Free (to wear hats and gloves)

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/alumni/

Suit up Graduates at the University of Warwick
Suit up: BSc students graduating in 2008.

Graduation is as much about reflection as it is a point to embark upon your chosen career. My start to university life, in 1999, happened in a fairly good year:

  • The first new Star Wars film in 16 years had just been released
  • the Millennium (not Falcon) celebrations were only a few months away (and we really did party like it was 1999)
  • and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ had recently done well on the ‘hit parade’.

The song, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a spoken word essay, by the film director, to the "ladies and gentlemen of the Class of '99.” It would be a few years before I graduated but some of Luhrmann’s advice has stuck with me to this day, especially his words on sunscreen.

I’m not a Warwick alumnus but I’ve several friends who graduated from the University of Warwick so I asked them (and alumni on LinkedIn) what knowledge, like Baz, they would like to impart on the ‘ladies and gentleman of the Class of 2013’. Here’s what they had to say:

Luda Begley née Anestiadi, writer and freelance translator, San Antonio, Texas. Luda completed a master's degree in Creative Writing with distinction, Warwick Writing Programme (2008-2009).

“Once you leave our dear bubble, don't lose that spirit, motivation and enthusiasm you began your studies with. Always remember why you came to Warwick in the first place and follow that goal. And once the ceremony is over, go give a hearty hug to your tutors; trust me, the more time passes after you graduate, the more you realise how much they deserved it!”

Richard Casey, Director, Chapter 1 Executive Recruitment. Richard studied Chemistry (1983 – 1986).

“My advice would be for those candidates heading into industry (non-academia) to get a good grounding with a big organisation first. You can easily head out to a smaller firm later in life but it's very difficult to head the other way. Also, unless you are absolutely passionate about it, think carefully about the rush for investment banking: the salaries are normalising somewhat and those who work there regard it as less fun than it was even ten years ago.”

Jonathan Goggs, Alumni Engagement Intern at the University of Warwick. Jonathan graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in Politics with International Studies (2012).

“In this job market, I'm reminded of that classic quote from the Simpsons to sum up graduation: “Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!

“My advice to those following non-conventional career paths would be brand yourself, find your specialism, and work your way towards making yourself indispensable at your organisation. And don't be dispirited!”

Andrew Steel, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Veritas Traducción y Comunicación, S.L. MBA, DipTransIoLET, BA (Hons), MCIL, MITI. Madrid Area, Spain. Andrew graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film and literature (1990-1993).

“Become a master of principles, not policy. Act on principles, not policy. Live by principles, not policy.” (Quoting author Jeffrey Gitomer).

Ian Cotgias, ESG and Other Risk Capital Manager at Friends Life Group. Ian studied MORSE: Mathematics, Operations Research, Statistics and Economics (1988 – 1991).

“Listen and learn from your colleagues in whatever path you choose to follow. Also, be proactive and take responsibility for [yourself]. I say this because graduates can be distinguished by those that expect everything to be done to them without input from themselves (i.e. training, communication, promotion) - they are often the least happy in their jobs. Then there are those that arrange to have coffee with senior members of the organisation and work to understand what's going on, where they can fit in and this allows them to build a picture of what they want to do. You'll be surprised how approachable seemingly unapproachable colleagues can be and how much of a leg up that can give you.”

Good luck to you all, wherever you choose to go and whatever you choose to do…and trust Baz on the sunscreen.


January 21, 2013

Winter Graduation: our honorary graduates

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge

University of Warwick Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert and Honorary Graduate Pascal Lamy Graduation 2009

Chancellor Sir Richard Lambert and Honorary Graduate Pascal Lamy, Graduation 2009

More than 165,000 students have graduated from the University of Warwick since it took its first cohort of 450 undergraduates in October 1965. Alongside the students graduating this week (at the Winter 2013 Degree Congregation), there will also be four honorary graduates. We will be interviewing them for the Knowledge Centre, with audio, images and text appearing online soon.

The honorary graduates receiving awards at the Winter 2013 degree ceremony are:

  • Earl Cameron CBE will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt). Cameron, who was born in Bermuda, now lives in Kenilworth. His acting career stretches over more than 60 years with film credits for, amongst others, Inception (2010), The Queen (2006) and Thunderball (1965). His television appearances include Doctor Who, Jackanory and Lovejoy. Cameron was awarded a CBE in 2009 for his services to drama.
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc). Dame Fiona was Director-General of the National Trust until November 2012 and is a Non-executive Director of the BBC. She was awarded the CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998 and was appointed a DBE in 2008. From September 2013 she will be Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She is also a non-executive director of Wessex Water.
  • Caterer, broadcaster and writer Prue Leith will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt). Leith, who is one of the three judges on The Great British Menu, established the Leiths School of Food and Wine in 1975 and sold the school, which teaches amateur and professional chefs, in the 1990s. Her first novel was published in 2005 and she has since published four others, as well as an autobiography and several cook books.
  • Sir David Chipperfield will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc). After graduating from Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association in London, Sir David worked at the practices of Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. He established David Chipperfield Architects in 1984. His practice was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar, Germany. The Practice also created the Turner Contemporary in Margate and The Hepworth Wakefield.

July 16, 2012

Summer 2012's honorary graduates

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/

graduating studentsIt’s summer graduation time again. This week Warwick final year students are congregating in the Art Centre’s Butterworth Hall to receive their degree certificates and celebrate their achievements with friends and family. Graduating alongside them with honorary degrees will be 13 men and women who are distinguished in their chosen careers.

The University awards honorary degrees twice a year to individuals who have made a significant contribution in their field. Whether known for art or acting, physics or photography, or engineering or education, these graduates are awarded honorary degrees for their service to the University or community.

Who decides who Warwick awards honorary degrees to? It’s the University’s Honorary Degrees Committee’s job to debate nominations on behalf of the University Senate. All members of the Council, the Senate and heads of academic and administrative departments are invited once each year to submit names for the committee’s consideration. The council then invites approved individuals on behalf of the Senate to receive an honorary degree. The nominated person receives either an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Science; an honorary degree of Master of Arts and Master of Science; or the Chancellor’s Medal, an award for an exceptional contribution to the University’s work and development.

The Knowledge Centre will be featuring interviews with this year’s cohort of honorary graduates to find out how they made it in their professions and what advice they have for this year’s graduates. Children’s literature and film aficionados will recognise David Bradley, a celebrated character actor best known more recently for his role of Hogwarts’ caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter series. Theatre-goers will know David Edgar, a political playwright more recent works Albert Speer (2000) and Playing with Fire (2005), both of which premiered at the Royal National Theatre. Both Davids will receive an honorary DLitt.

Football fans may remember the footwork of 1970s Liverpool player Steve Heighway. He began his football career in non-league football whilst completing his economics degree at Warwick. Heighway left Anfield in 1981 after 475 matches and 76 goals, before returning in 1989 to run their youth academy. He will receive an honorary MA.

Warwick 1976 maths graduate Sir Bob Kerslake went on from being President of the Students Union to a career in local and national government. In 2012 he became Head of the Civil Service. And Dr Alan Reece brought more than £400 million worth of business to the north-east of England as founder of Pearson Engineering Limited (PEL). Dr Reece is keen to promote engineering education in the UK and is a supporter of the Smallpeice Trust, a Leamington Spa-based charity dedicated to increasing awareness of careers in engineering among 10 to 18 year olds. He is adding an honorary DSc to his list of qualifications.

See the honorary graduates press release for a full list of honorary graduates and their awards. There’s a full list of honorary graduates on the alumni website. Listen to interviews with summer 2011’s honorary graduates on the Knowledge Centre.

Interviews with this year’s honorary graduates will be published on the Knowledge Centre soon. Watch this space!

Penelope Jenkins, Online Writer


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