Hundreds of people packed into Aberdeen’s Music Hall today for a very special graduation ceremony.
The Robert Gordon University’s winter graduations returned for the first time in two years, and there was palpable excitement in the air as students filed into the hall and waited for their turn to collect their hard-earned degrees.
Upon taking their seats, pipers played, and academics filled the back rows on stage before Dame Evelyn Glennie – the university’s new chancellor – opened proceedings and welcomed families, friends and students alike.
Students of nursing, midwifery and paramedics made their way on stage and received their scrolls and a personal congratulations from Dame Evelyn.
‘Making mistakes and learning from them leads to success’
Professor Steve Olivier, principal and vice-chancellor, told the first cohort: “At ceremonies throughout the world this year, there will be words used such as extraordinary and unprecedented.
“That’s the last time you will hear them from me.
“Yes, parts of your university years have been different, but you can’t change the past, so I urge you to look forward.
“Rather than use those words I said I wouldn’t use, let’s rather think of the past 21 months as momentous and different and move forward from them.
“So how would you best move forward, make mistakes.
“Yep, you heard me. Making mistakes and learning from them leads to success.
“Boldness is difficult, but you can develop it, and the first and possibly the most important step is to have an insatiable curiosity.
“Be curious, ask questions of yourself, others, and the universe. Having what I call the ‘Curiosity Imperative’ makes the world emotionally, spiritually and physically a wonderful, awesome and interesting place.”
‘RGU can be a springboard for the rest of your life’
At the second ceremony of the day, students of law, business, journalism and marketing to name but a few collected their scrolls.
After the proceedings, Dame Evelyn, spoke of how honoured she had been to oversee her first graduation as chancellor of the university.
The renowned percussionist, who is deaf, was also delighted to bestow an honorary doctorate to friend Jane Speirs, who helped oversee the regeneration of the Aberdeen Music Hall and is stepping down as head of Aberdeen Performing Arts in spring.
Dame Evelyn, who is originally from Methlick, said: “Today is all about you. Through your commitment, focus, dedication, hard work and perseverance you have given yourselves the opportunity to create not only this day to remember but a platform to spring forward and upwards to the next tier of your journey.
“It is also a day to reflect and give thanks to the many people who have supported you directly and indirectly along the way.”