On Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd July, 2008 more than 500 students celebrated the first ever Edge Hill University-awarded degrees in the newly-built 850-seater lecture theatre in-the-round on the Ormskirk campus. View profiles of graduates celebrating success >>>

Marking the first Edge Hill University graduations were new pieces of regalia including a new coat of arms for the University, a ceremonial mace and graduation robes worn by the University’s senior officers. The graduations had been meticulously planned down to the last detail as they were the first ceremonies of their kind on the Ormskirk campus.

The previous week, over 1,100 Undergraduate and Foundation Degree students donned their caps and gowns to receive a range of awards from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Education in the Great Hall at Lancaster University.

John Cater, Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University said: “Monday and Tuesday were two of the proudest days in the University’s history. For almost 125 years students have graduated from Edge Hill with honours degrees, but this is the first time that the University has held its ceremonies at the Ormskirk campus, using our brand new theatre complex.

“We were delighted to welcome graduates from the many local colleges we work in partnership with. To exemplify these links in the honorary award made to Sir George Sweeney. More than nine-tenths of this week’s graduates and postgraduates will work in Education, Nursing and the Health Care professions, and we offer our best wishes for careers that can and will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The historic awards opened with a troupe of trumpeters playing a resounding fanfare. An organist then accompanied the procession of graduands as they were shown to their seats. The ceremony then continued with the awarding of degrees, including the honorary degree to Sir George Sweeney. The ceremony drew to a close with a vocalist performing Fields of Gold, originally performed by Sting after which the trumpeters brought the ceremony to an end.

Allocating the two tickets they receive for graduation can be a difficult task for students. Edge Hill overcame this dilemma by broadcasting the ceremonies live via the internet for all to see. Screens were erected across the University to allow families and friends to watch their loved ones receiving their honours. They were even be able to watch it from the comfort of their own homes.

During the ceremony, the first Edge Hill Honorary Degree was awarded to Sir George Sweeney, former Principal of Knowsley Community College, who was knighted in 2000 for his services to Further Education.

Newly-appointed Pro Chancellor Chris Trinick, the retired Chief Executive of Lancashire County Council, presided over the historic ceremonies.