Writtle University College graduates have enjoyed celebrations at Chelmsford Cathedral.
For the classes of 2000 and 2001, October 29th was a very important day.
Students from sport, land-based, equine, veterinary physiotherapy, art and animal-related courses received qualifications in higher education.
Lockdown had forced the University College to postpone graduation in 2020. In 2021, two consecutive ceremonies allowed both year groups to mark the completion of their studies in person.
Writtle University College's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, said: "Congratulations to our graduating classes on behalf of all staff at Writtle University College.
"During the last two years, our graduates faced unprecedented challenges and I am hugely proud of the determination and resilience they displayed in difficult circumstances. Our entire community is delighted to see their success."
Local dignitaries joined University College's Founding Chancellor, Baroness Anne Jenkin, and Chair of the Board, Dan Hewitt, to mark the special occasion.
Dan Hewitt said: "Employers do not only praise Writtle University College graduates for their academic achievements, they also highlight their adaptability, their integrity and their readiness for the workplace.
"The world is experiencing great change, and I am confident of our graduates' ability to make a lasting, positive difference."
Writtle University College has a long history of 'putting science into practice' and a series of honorary degrees were presented to people who have made an important contribution to equine, animal and land-based sectors, including:
- World champion event rider Ros Canter. Ros won the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials CCI4*-S riding Lordships Graffalo, a nine-year-old gelding bred at Writtle University College's Lordships Stud.
- Former Writtle University College student Steve Coghill. Steve pioneers environmentally-friendly growing methods and works to promote educational opportunities in horticulture.
- Leading equine behaviourist, Justine Harrison. Justine has shown ongoing support for Writtle University College's courses.
- Magnolia Cup winning jockey, Khadijah Mellah. In 2019, Khadijah became the first British Muslim woman to win a horse race. The Riding A Dream Academy, named after a documentary about Khadijah's story, is inspired by her success.
Pioneering farmer Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, MBE, and veterinarian Elaine Pendlebury were unable to attend the ceremony, so received honorary degrees in absentia.
PC Pitchford was welcomed to the stage to receive an Chancellor's Gold Award on behalf of the Essex Police Dog Section. The award recognised the strong relationship between the two organisations. More than 20 serving and retired police dogs have received support from WUC's Canine Therapy Unit.
The ceremonies ended with a Vote of Thanks from the Students of the Year for 2020 and 2021. Emily Toogood told graduates to be "tremendously proud". Elliot Wollen called their achievements "truly inspiring".