Anglia Ruskin University: Celebrations across East to mark ARU graduations

Thousands of students will celebrate the formal completion of their degrees as Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) holds graduation ceremonies in Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough this month.

Approximately 6,000 students will be cheered by almost 12,000 guests as they don traditional graduation robes and mortar boards during 32 ceremonies taking place at Cambridge Corn Exchange, Chelmsford Cathedral and Peterborough Cathedral from Monday, 11 July until Friday, 29 July.

Along with celebrating students, ARU will also be bestowing honorary degrees on people who have achieved excellence in their respective fields and are chosen for their inspirational qualities.

Music educationalist Dr Frankie Williams will receive the award of Honorary Doctor of Music at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wednesday, 13 July.

Dr Williams is a pioneer in the field of music therapy. She co-founded the European Association of Youth Orchestras, advised on the education elements of many arts projects including the BBC Proms, the Sage Gateshead, and worked on some ground-breaking projects with the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne Opera House. She is also a long-standing advocate and supporter of ARU, which last year won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its music therapy work.

Professor Dame Magdalene Odundo DBE, a ceramic artist and Chancellor of the University of the Creative Arts, will receive the award of Honorary Doctor of the Arts, also at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wednesday, 13 July.

Professor Odundo is an alumnus of the Cambridge School of Art at ARU. In 2008 she received the African Art Recognition Award from the Detroit Art Institute and in 2012 the African Heritage 40 Years Anniversary Award. In 2014 she was named Visual Artist of the Year, at The Journal Culture Awards and in 2019 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth.

In 2020, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for Services to the Arts and Arts Education.

In Chelmsford on Wednesday, 20 July, ARU will be bestowing the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws on award-winning barrister, Natasha Shotunde.

Natasha is co-founder of the Black Barristers’ Network and serves on the Bar Council’s Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee; on the Race Working Group; the Family Law Bar Association Committee; and Lincoln’s Inn Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

At the 2020 Chambers UK Bar Awards, Natasha received the Highly Commended award in the category of Future Leader, Diversity and Inclusion. She also received the Rising Star Award at the 2021 UK Diversity Legal Awards.

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“Graduations are always a wonderful occasion, offering us the chance to celebrate our students’ achievements after years of hard work. We are looking forward to the ceremonies immensely.

“Those students graduating in 2022 deserve particular praise for their resilience and determination in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic. They should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved, and their determination will serve them well in the future.

“We’re also delighted to be welcoming Professor Magdalene Odundo, Natasha Shotunde and Dr Frankie Williams as our guests. They have all achieved outstanding success in their respective fields and will be an inspiration to our new graduates as they look to take their next steps.”