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On the 9th October, the achievements of some super bright Manxies were celebrated at the University College Isle of Man (UCM) awards ceremony, held at the Villa Marina.

The night saw more than 140 Manx students accept their qualifications from HQ and Dr Al at one of the only higher education institutions in the British Isles able to hold a live, non-socially distanced ceremony. Over 700 guests attended the ceremony, with friends and family all able to attend without the travel costs of heading to the UK.

The ceremony also saw a recorded message from Ashy, who wanted to draw particular focus to all the nursing students who worked throughout the pandemic, and celebrate the amazing work they have done. 

Image credit: Steve Babb photographyImage credit: Steve Babb photography

Image credit: Steve Babb photography

With UK universities having to cancel in-person graduations this year (thanks to ‘rona, obviously), UCM were REALLY NICE and let Manxies from UK based universities join in their celebrations. The more the merrier, eh? 

UCM had a lot to celebrate with their clever-clog students, an incredible 45% of whom achieved first-class degrees, and 87% of all foundation and undergraduate degree students achieving either a first-class or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent.  

The Lieutenant Governor awarded Callum Staley, BSc (Hons) Applied Computing the 2020 Student of the Year award for the commitment he had shown in his studies. He’s no stranger to awards, having recently won the Dissertation Showcase for the Research Festival 2020 for his dissertation project on AI Computer Vision Image Recognition. 

This year’s Honorary Fellowship at UCM was awarded to Professor Peter Edge, a law professor at Oxford Brookes University, who has contributed to their history and heritage degree programme, and has been involved with the #UCMtalks series.

The end saw a closing speech by Jo Pretty, Principal of UCM who said “This has been an incredibly challenging year, both academically, and also personally for our students. It has been a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of so many graduating higher education students who have worked tremendously hard this year, despite the circumstances.” Her speech was followed by the national anthem being belted out by hundreds of Manxies, with piping from John Struthers. The graduates were then walked out with a standing ovation: if you managed to keep a dry eye, you did better than me.

For a lot of graduates, the celebrations didn’t end at the ceremony. Many went on to celebrate as Manxies do: with some food and booze. A host of hotels and restaurants that sponsored the event offered graduates a discount, undoubtedly appreciated by former-students missing that sweet NUS discount. 

On a personal note, as a graduate from a UK university, I really appreciate the opportunity that UCM gave me to be able to celebrate obtaining my degree. It was fantastic to see graduates from different universities come together to celebrate, and to know that despite a challenging year, we did something incredible.