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The University of Southampton

Winter Graduation returns to Southampton city centre

Published: 12 December 2022
Hat thrown in the air.

For the first time since the 1960s the University of Southampton is holding its winter graduation in the city centre.

The achievements of more than 1,000 students will take centre stage in three days of celebration from Tuesday to Thursday (13-15 December), and will feature nine ceremonies of graduating undergraduate and postgraduate students from a wide range of subjects including medicine, computer science, history, physics, education and nursing.

This year’s ceremonies will return to the O2 Guildhall in the heart of the city for the first time since the 1960s. The University held graduations in the city centre up until the 1970s, when it moved them to Highfield Campus with the opening of the Turner Sims concert venue. There was one exception however, when in August 1992, in conjunction with the Southampton Science Festival, a honorary graduation ceremony took place at the Guildhall in which Sir David Attenborough received an honorary degree. The Guildhall was also where a ceremony took place in 1952 for the inauguration of the University, with the Duke of Wellington.

At this year’s ceremonies, students will don their cap and gown to celebrate on stage with University dignitaries in the Guildhall, while celebrations will also take place on Highfield Campus.

Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Graduation at Southampton is a truly memorable occasion and a chance to give well-deserved recognition to every student for their hard work and dedication.

“We are incredibly proud to be part of the Southampton community so everyone at the University is very excited to see the return of graduation to the city centre. There will be lots of celebrations across the whole event and I wish every one of our graduating cohort the very best for the future.”

Sir David Attenborough receiving his Honorary Degree.
Sir David Attenborough receiving his Honorary Degree at the Guildhall.

The ceremonies will take place a stone’s throw away from the University’s John Hansard Gallery and the Sir James Matthews Building, which the University acquired earlier this year. Both venues ensure the University provides students with quality facilities and opportunities in the centre of Southampton and give back to residents and the local economy.

Katherine Zhiru Zhuang is graduating this winter with a Masters in Film and Cultural Management. It was the course’s content discussing east Asian film and the opportunity to learn from Doctor Ruby Cheung and Professor Tim Bergfelder that attracted her to the University of Southampton.

“I was studying in America and Southampton came highly recommended as a city and university,” she said. “So much of what I had previously learnt focused on Japanese cinema, so I was very pleased to see this course included cinema from Hong Kong and South Korea as well as the practical side of the industry, such as distribution. I’ve really enjoyed my time at the University of Southampton, and I am very proud to graduate this winter.”

Katherine has secured an internship with a film distribution company in London. She joins other graduates celebrating their achievements including Kirsty Keiper who has completed a Midwifery degree with a first.

Kirsty has always wanted to be a midwife and added: “Everyone has been so friendly; I have had plenty of support and I feel so lucky to have been able to study here. I’ve really enjoyed my placements, to get the hands-on experience is so important.

“I cannot believe that I have managed to complete my training and now working in my dream job. Graduation feels so surreal, but I feel so proud of myself and everyone else graduating today.”

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