Students Staff

21 July 2015

Alumni come back to experience Graduation 2015

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we welcomed back more than 20 of our alumni who had missed out on their original graduation ceremony to take part in Graduation 2015.

David and Trish Barham met at Essex in 1984 and married at the Chaplaincy on the Colchester Campus while still students surrounded by friends and family. They missed their first graduations as they decided they couldn't ask their family to travel down to the Colchester Campus twice in one year.

Trish, who completed a BA Russian Studies, said: “Originally we would have graduated in separate ceremonies so it was wonderful to come back and to graduate together. We are 29 years late, but it was worth waiting for!”

David, a Computer Science graduate, added: “About two weeks after we started going out Trish announced she would be going to Moscow which I thought was a crafty way of trying to dump me!

“We got married on campus because most of our friends were still students who couldn’t afford to travel. Trish’s landlady from her third year made the dress and our reception was in a seminar room which we booked out as a ‘discussion group on marriage’.”

Software engineer Alan Byrne, a Mathematics and Computing graduate, missed his graduation after his brother’s car broke down as he travelled to the ceremony.

To add to the disappointment one of his friends who had made it to graduation bought a VHS video of the ceremony and when Alan watched it he could see where he should have been sitting.

Alan said: “I didn’t manage to get to my graduation ceremony, but it wasn’t through lack of trying. I might be graduating 29 years later, but it is better late than never!

“I saw my son graduate last year and that started to make me think how nice it would have been to have gone to my graduation ceremony. I am extremely fortunate to have had that opportunity thanks to the University.”

Occupational Health graduate Mairead O’Connor missed her graduation in 2010 as she was due to give birth two days later.

Now working as a senior Occupational Therapist in Maldon, Mairead said: “It was really good to come back and take part in the ceremony at last. Studying Occupational Therapy at Essex has made it possible for me to do the job I do now which I am absolutely passionate about.”

Brothers Joseph and Leo Hughes both went straight into jobs after graduating so could not attend their graduation ceremonies

Joseph said: “As you get older you appreciate your time at University even more so it was great to have the chance to come back to take part in Graduation. I love Essex – I actually met my fiancée here and I’ll be getting married at Wivenhoe House in September. So we will be coming back to the Colchester Campus with lots of our friends from university for that too!”

Leo said: “The ceremony was excellent and being able to graduate together made it even more special.”

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