Strathclyde Business School: 30 June 2017, 11am

Strathclyde Business School: 30 June 2017, 11am


Good morning,
ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. And a very warm welcome
here to the University of Strathclyde, to the Barony
Hall, for what is going to
be a wonderful morning, something that we’re all going
to enjoy. Converting these students, and undergraduates and
post-graduates into Strathclyde Alum, as
we confer their degrees. A very warm welcome to the
families, friends and supporters from
all over the UK and beyond. The Barony is one of
the jewels in the crown of the Strathclyde Estate. It’s a fantastic place
where we have public events, we have balls, we have major
conferences, but most importantly, we have our graduation
ceremonies. And this morning’s ceremony is
the last of the summer season. Over the past 10 days, and including our wonderful
students this morning, we will have graduated almost two and a half thousand
students. So we’re quite a cohort of
Strathclyders entering the world to make a
difference, and we’ve also welcomed one
of very two interesting people into the Strathclyde family. You may have noticed
that Sir Billy Connolly became an honorary member
of Strathclyde community just last week. Mr Nigel Cantwell, an
outstanding individual, who made a big difference
to the United Nations codes for children’s wellbeing, Mr Nigel Whitehead, who’s
the managing director of BE Systems, responsible
for employing 30,000 people in a Strathclyde mechanical
engineer, and that, adorn, one or
two of the ceremonies. This morning, were no different, we have an additional treat
or all of you that are here, where we’re going to
honour a very dear friend and an accomplished contributor to the University of
Strathclyde, and that’s Mr Richard Hunter, who’s immediately to my left, who’s my convener of court, about whom you will hear
a little bit more shortly, just at the start of this
ceremony. Once we’ve done that, I
will confer the degrees, and then we’ll go to me
giving a short update before we break. So with that agenda in place, let me now formally declare
this congregation open, and invite Dr Jack Perry to
introduce the honorary graduate, thank you very much indeed. Vice Chancellor, I have the honour of
presenting Richard Hunter, the convenor of court, of the
University of Strathclyde. Richard first joined the
University court in October 2005, serving as a
lay member until August 2012 when he was
nominated and appointed by his fellow
court members to take up office as convener of
court, and to lead the University’s
ultimate governing body. Richard has served for
five years as convener, overseeing the University’s
management administration, and safeguarding its name and
values. The membership of the court is
diverse. With the majority of laymembers
drawn from the wider community. That is they are neither
staff nor students. This diversity is important, because it ensures that the
court is able to exercise sound and
well-informed judgement , in its collective decision
making, and at Strathclyde, is able
to fulfil its public duties, to serve its community and wider
society. Richard has demonstrated
outstanding leadership of the University’s governing
body. He has been our chief
cheerleader, and has lead the challenge
of the university’s high-level strategy and
its plans for the future. He’s brought to this
work excellent judgement and great competence. During Richard’s term of office, he’s presided over a number
of notable and memorable events in the university’s
history. Among these, was the
outstanding performance in the 2014 Research Excellence
Framework. Their comprehensive rating of
research at UK universities, and also extensive investment
in the Strathclyde estate. The £31 million sport,
health and wellbeing centre, currently under construction, a £16 million teaching and
learning hub to benefit future students, and the flagship £89 million
technology and innovation centre,
which was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in
2015. And more affectionately
known as the Advanced Centre for Advancing Advance Things. The entire university
community is therefore indebted to Richard for the
leadership he has displayed, and today’s award is merely a
token of our immense gratitude
to him for his service. Richard brought to the post of
convener a wealth of professional
experience from a distinguished 40 year
career. After his schooling at
Kelvinside Academy in Glenornan College, he was educated at Strathclyde
University. And in 1975, graduated with a
BA in Finance and Marketing. He then joined the accounting
firm of Arthur Young, and qualified as a chartered
accountant three years later. In 1981, he joined
distillers Robertson Baxter, the heart of what is now
the Etherington Group, a truly world class Scottish
headquartered company, and one of the largest
distilleries, renowned for The Famous Grouse, Highland Park and McEllan. Richard thrived in this
business, and in 1986 was appointed
as Finance Director of Robertson Baxter. In 1994, he was appointed
as group finance director, a role that he would
retain until his retirement 20 years later. Richard played a key role in
the complex reorganisation of the group into a single
integrated business, following several major
acquisitions. This transformed the company into being a highly-respected
global leader in its industry. Richard is fluent in French and
Spanish, and in the course of
complex international deals, was able to put his linguistic
skills into practise, by negotiating with business
partners in their own language. I should perhaps remind people
today that service on the university’s
court is voluntary and unpaid. Their work is fascinating,
and very worthwhile. But it is onerous in terms of
the time commitment required. Particularly for the convener. There are times, Richard,
when it must have felt like a full-time job. It is a tribute to Strathclyde, that such
high-calibre individuals serve the university so
willingly. But it is also a great tribute
to Richard that he has been prepared to
devote so much of his life to Strathclyde, he’s a
great example of someone who has lived by the principle
of service before self. If I’ve painted a picture of
simply a devoted technocrat, then I truly apologise, because that does not do this
man justice. Richard is a man of great
humanity and compassion, always living the university’s
values, and promoting its mission
of widening access, encouraging diversity, and genuinely valuing the
role of the student body in the governance of the
university. He also has a huge array of
interests. Fishing, sailing, rugby,
golf, photography, all of which are pursued with
great energy and passion, and a depth of knowledge. A real technophile, Richard has
always got the latest electronic
and photographic toys. He can even sometimes get them
to work. (audience laughs) He can also be seen tootling
about in his treasured 1977
Tahiti Blue Triumph Stag, a family heirloom lovingly
rebuilt. Perhaps more importantly, he’s a devoted family man. Husband to Christine, and father to Louise, Emma and
Andrew. All of whom are here today
to join us in celebrating Richard’s graduation. Christine was a general
medical practitioner and senior partner of a large
practise, and she and Richard both pursued
similar demanding professional lives, with both retiring from
full-time work at the same time. All of their three children
are also high achievers in their chosen careers, and I know from my
discussions with Richard, how very proud he is of all
three of you. And not just for what you’ve
achieved in your lives, but for the kind of people
you’ve grown up to become. I hope you, in turn, are just
as proud of your father today. Richard, it has been a
privilege for all of us on court to have served under your
leadership. You’ve set a great example,
not just to your successors on court, but today’s and
tomorrow’s Strathclyde
graduates. Service before self. Not bad, Richard, not bad at
all. It therefore, Vice Chancellor, gives me very great pleasure to present to you, Richard
Hunter, for the degree of Doctor
of the University, Honorus Causa I create you Doctor of the
University, Honorus Causa, Richard,
thank you for everything you’ve done for the University, and very best wishes and you
will not lose touch with this institution. Many congratulations. (audience applause) Principal and Vice Chancellor, colleagues on court and senate, and most especially to senate
members for the great honour
they’ve done me today. Ladies and gentlemen, and most
especially, fellow graduands, thank you, Jim, and your colleagues here at
Strathclyde for this most generous award
today. As you know, I’ve had
great fun and enjoyment helping you and the team
achieve ever greater success, and this is an unnecessary
but very much appreciated recognition by all of you. Thank you too, Jack, for
introducing me in a way I almost recognised. I suggested you shouldn’t be too
polite and you rather let me down. (audience laughs) I was asked to say some
wise words to our graduands today for about three to five
minutes, but quickly realised I couldn’t
actually fill that time with the sum total of my wisdom, so instead I thought I might
just share three things with you, which I think, among
many, I have discovered or at least come to realise in the 42 years since I
graduated from the business
school here at Strathclyde with
such a sense of optimism, and relief. But before that, there’s just
one thing I should say to those of
you who are a bit nervous about coming up on the platform, and please don’t tell everyone
else, it’s a piece of cake. Be sure to just enjoy
your moment up here today, you well deserve it. The three thoughts I’ve
picked out to share with you concern learning throughout your
life, having fun, and valuing people. Let me just take a moment on
each. It took me a long time to
recover from 19 years of compulsory learning, punctuated by crazy periods of
studying and highly stressful exams. My learning at school and
university always seemed to be
aimed at the next exam, or the next qualification. I don’t really remember
it being very enjoyable. Later, as Jack mentioned, I chose to learn French and then
Spanish over my lunch times in the
office to help me manage my business
relationship with a French supermarket
company, and the acquisition of a
Caribbean rum business. That ability helped me to be
able to chat to people of those countries
in their own language, and help to cement lifelong
friendships, which I treasure to this day in
France and the Dominican Republic. Later still, I went to night
classes, and then away for a
week with six large men on a small boat in gale force
winds, to pass my sailing skipper
certificate, which I’d always wanted to do, despite never having owned
a boat before or since. But the sense of
achievement from being able to take my young family
away on a sailing boat, on my own, and amazingly,
getting safely back to harbour has never left me. I may never do it again,
but I’ll always have the knowledge I’ve learned. So my realisation from this has
been learning never really stops. It instead becomes
infinitely more enjoyable when it’s done because you
want to learn something new, and not because it’s compulsory. Today may seem like the end
of your learning journey, but let me assure you all, it really is just the beginning. And I’m sure you’ll greatly
enjoy learning more new skills in the future. When you wonder if you can
possibly manage some new challenge,
just give it a try. You also learn a lot
by trying and failing. My second discovery, if you
will, is that I quite accidentally
ended up doing a job for 33 years
that I realised later was great fun. My daughter Emma once said to
me, “Dad, is it true that your job “really just involves
flying around the world “in business class seats, “staying in fancy hotels, “and then going out to
a couple of restaurants “and bars for the night?” I realised that was a
pretty fair description. (audience laughs) If you left out a couple
of hundred sets of budgets and accounts, a few stressful
meetings, and frequent 4AM starts on a
Sunday to fly to the other side of the
world. I think my all time most
stressful day may have been having to stand up
in London in front of 20 senior
bankers I had never met, asking them to lend us £500
million. When my colleague who was
bringing me the presentational
materials for the meeting had just rolled her car over
on the way to the airport, and I was on my own. More seriously, however, and one for you to
think about after today, is I think I did determine
at your stage in life, not to end up working in some
company producing widgets I didn’t
understand, or maybe stuck in Department Z of a global corporation of such
size that I could never stand
out as an individual. And instead of that I
joined a little known private company, where a work
colleague originally said of my decision: “You’re joining who?” That company went on to become one of Scotland’s largest
private businesses, and was, and still is owned by
Scotland’s largest charitable trust, giving me an added emotional
reward throughout my career. And yes, I did also end up
drinking great whiskies, in great bars in amazing
countries around the world. So that’s a secondary
suggestion. Don’t just apply for the
next job that arises, but think about what you want to
be doing in five, 10 or 20 years from now to be having fun, and then work out whether this
next job starts to take you there or not. It’s a very long working life if you’re not enjoying yourself. Finally, I think it took me
far too long in my career to realise the importance of
people, relationships and culture
in your workplace. The six or seven of us who’d
work together on the board for many years, developing the Etherington
business, sat down in a personal
development course late in our careers, where
we all had to write down the things that we felt
had contributed most to our business success. I think we were all quite
surprised and amused to find that
we actually thought the people we worked alongside were the most important thing. We’d never told each other that, and it was a real bonding moment
for us. The right atmosphere in your
workplace will define your
enjoyment and satisfaction in your own career, and you need to work
in doing your own part to create this. It means that basic things
like honesty and integrity, support for your friends and
colleagues, no matter how difficult the
circumstances you are they found yourselves
in, and recognition that people’s
talents are far, far more important
than their failings. And always putting your
own maximum commitment into everything you do
rather than looking to see who else is doing the same, need to be your lifetime
principles. I think among my many failings, it took me too long in my life
to learn to practise this positive
approach to others. I also learned that people
working with you appreciate praise at least as much as they resent
criticism. So use the former more than
the latter, if you can. You will spend, by my
accountant’s calculations, something like, it’s depressing, 90,000 hours of your life at
work. So the people you work with will
hopefully become good friends as well. Choose your workplace and
your colleagues carefully, and if you decide it’s clear
that you can never be happy where you
are, change jobs. So that really is the end
of any useful thoughts I might have today. You’re setting out on the
most fantastic journey at your age. And don’t let any doomsayers
tell you otherwise. Life will definitely be
challenging. Full of successes and failures, pleasures and stresses, ups and downs, but always
interesting. Rudyard Kipling wrote a
fantastic line his poem, If: If you can meet with triumph, and disaster, and treat
those two imposters, just the same. What a great philosophy for you
to take into the next phase of your
life. Don’t get carried away with the
successes, but always realise that after
every apparent disaster, or every night time worry over the day or event ahead, life will go on regardless,
afterwards. And you will be sitting
at home the next night, with a glass of wine in your
hand, surrounded by friends and
family. So I wish you all the very best in whatever life you choose to
follow. And I finish with the words of
the ancient Highland blessing: May the road rise up to meet
you. May the wind be always at your
back. May the sunshine warm up on your
face, the rains fall soft upon your
fields, and until we meet again, may your God hold you
in the palm of his hand. Good luck in your chosen
careers, and thank you very much. (audience applause) Principal and Vice Chancellor, in the name of the university, and by the authority of senate, I present to you these students. For the degree of Doctor
of Business Administration, for research in the
Department of Management, Vincenzo Luigi Vito. (audience applause) For the degree of Master
of Business Administration: Mazen Montana Aeberhardt, Paul Barker, Shaun Colin Briggs, Stewart Carlisle, Emma Caroline Cartwright, Terence James Dillon, Flurin Thomas Grond, Terrence Joseph Hoare, William Howie, Hwee Kok Yoong, Razan Kayyali, Haitham Samir Ahmed Mohamed
Khalifa, David Lee Boon Wai, Ke Shin Loke, Douglas Bryson Martin, Mukesh Mukundan, Bruce Nsereko-Lule, David Rei Ner, Colin Rogers, Marie-Lina Romanos, Paul Rooney, Leeanne Abapo Senn, Isam Abbas, Tarek Habin Abou Jamra, Onur Adanir, Ahmed J A AlKahlout, Noor Aymen Ali Al Qadhi, Samira Azizova, Chang Syh Aik, Georgia Dimakopoulou, Nikoloz Donadze, Faridah Hanim Sheikh Md
Fadzullah, Osama Abdelrazek Abdellatif
Hasaballa, Nyi Nyi Htwe, Tilemachos Kritsotakis, Lum Chee Hao, Ahmed Hassan Albanna Mohamed
Mahmoud, Stavros Michailidis, Sheena Mohideen, Vasiliki Monastirioti, Noemie Mooney, Mutassem Mazen Ali Musmar, Roshan Raj Nair, Mohamed Jaafar Ahmed Rastam, Prasanna Srinivasan, Tan Chian Ming, Nirmalendra Theepan, Darpan Tripathi, Woo Sai Man Stephen, Ghadeer Amjad Al-Lawati, Khudooma Saeed Hamad Alnuaimi, Ziad Belal, Hue Vern Harn, Mohamad Sabyre Houssen, Gunder Burkhard Schope, Daniel Shen. In Business Administration
with Specialisation in Leadership Studies. Abhinav Dhar. For the degree of Master of
Science in Business and Management, Johannes Emmanuel Doedens. For the degree of Bachelor of
Arts in Business Law and Marketing: Judith Peden, Megan Reid, Jamiu Olaiya Abdulsalam. In Hospitality and Tourism
Management: Kirsten Jennifer Bhatti, Noor Jan. In Hospitality and Tourism
Management and Business Analysis and
Technology: Ioana Negret, Iva Plackova, In Hospitality and Tourism
Management and Business Enterprise: Karolina Ivaylova Genova, Emerald Elizabeth Moody. In Hospitality and Tourism
Management and Management: Maha Hamad M AlDhwila. In Hospitality and Tourism
Management and Marketing: Lucy Pool, Iona Alexandrina Cairns, Amy Alexandra Grant, Megan Isabella McColl, In Human Resource
Management and Marketing: Eva Lalakova, in Management, Nikki Smyth, Angus Grey, Scott James Mason, In Management and Business
Analysis and Technology: Zoë Nicole Andrews, In Management and Business
Enterprise: Carrie Canning, Kieron Treanor. In Management and Business Law: Kieran Shellon. In Management and Hospitality
and Tourism Management: Tessa Alexandra Maria Vullinghs, Mehreen Akhtar. In Management and Human
Resource Management: Nicola Elizabeth Irvine, Denis Nikolov Yordanov, Rhea McKellar, Cristina Flavia Trombetta. In Management and Marketing: Lara-Jane Dantuma Johnston, Dylan Stevenson. In Marketing: Amy MacGregor, Karin Alexander, Thomas Barbour, Caitlin Rebecca Brodie, Jayne Ann Brown, Emily Campbell Callaghan, Lisa Jane Coulter, Daniel Joseph Docherty, Alexander Hay, Scott Kempsell, Adam Lyall, Murray MacGillivray, Callum McKenzie, Colin McKenzie, Mark MacLeod, Sophie Elizabeth Jane McNeill, Emma Nicol, Ryan Price, Arran Sinclair Sheach, Jonathan Daniel Slater, Anna Sooniste, Biliana Georgieva Stamenova, Emily Wan, David James White, Alistair James Grey, Alan Anglada Walker. In Marketing and Business
Enterprise: John Campbell Gebbie, Nicole O’Rafferty, Louise Hunter, Lisa Harriet Reilly, Nicole McGregor, In Marketing and Business Law: James Buchanan, Jemma Pettigrew, Aimee Nicole Jane Clark, Chantelle Lambie, Steffan Thomas Zacc Rodgers, Ross Simpson, Holly Agnew, Siobhan Pauline Shannon. In Marketing and Hospitality
and Tourism Management: Daniela Baycheva Baeva, Plamena Baycheva Baeva, Jennifer Clelland. In Marketing and Human
Resource Management: Ailsa Marie Bartholomew, Anna Isabella Lampela, Laura Wilson Borland, Francesca Church, Beverley Jane Clark, Lois Crawford, Danielle Caitlin Moran, Ryan Mulhern, Annalise Porter, Sarah Ann Barry. In Marketing and Management: Rachel Leigh Miller, Robyn Jane Young, Michelle Allan, Ralitsa Georgieva Arnaudova, Stephanie Boyce, Sophie Hinshelwood, Heather Mallis, Amy Malloch, Darren Joseph Moran. In Marketing and Psychology: Lynsey Rebecca Niven. Principal and Vice Chancellor, in the name of the university and by the authority of senate, I present to you these students: For the degree of Doctor of
Engineering for research in the Department
of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering: Magnus Johnston Harrold, Gabriel Marsh. For the Degree of Doctor of
Philosophy for research in the Department
of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering: Saishuai Dai, Konstantinos Dikis, Shi He, Lin Lin, John Angus MacSween, Konstantinos Sfakianakis, Ahmed Samir Shehata, Haibin Wang. For the degree of Master of
Science in Marine Engineering: Garyfallia Keratsa, Charalampos Livanos. In Subsea and Pipeline
Engineering: Mohamad Azfar Bin Zainurin. For the degree of Master of
Engineering in Naval Architecture
and Marine Engineering: Alexander James Blake, Andrzej Maksymilian Czerwonka, Angelo Lazaridis, Dimitrios Litsas, Charles Jamie McPartland, Konstantinos Monokrousos, Ioannis Psychas. In Naval Architecture
with Ocean Engineering: Travis Ang Chee Seng, James Ian Bowie, Corinne Samantha Bunton, Stephen Matthew Collins, Cecily Donaldson, Hamish Mclaren Forsythe, Marc Gazem, Emma Louise McCrossan, Mark Meahan, Christos Papazidis, Nicola Mary Paterson, Gary David Russell, Alexander Murray Sinclair. In Naval Architecture with High
Performance Marine Vehicles: Eilidh Alison Bruce, Peter Cameron, Hannah Louise Gibson, Angus Gray-Stephens, Calanach Jack MacDonell
Finlayson, Calum Norrie, Enrique Tintore, Rosanna Rowena Franklin Watson. For the degree of Bachelor of
Engineering in Naval Architecture
and Marine Engineering: Georgios Spetsiotis, Melissa Mary Jane Speirs. In Naval Architecture
with Ocean Engineering: Yufei Huang, Vasileios Chrysovalantis
Charlas, Zlatina Rumenova Paseva. In Naval Architecture with High
Performance Marine Vehicles: Douglas Henry Guthrie, Ewan MacLeod Harrison, Nathan James Robinson, Ruaridh McLean Wright, In Engineering Studies: James Alexander
Chilvers-Grierson. Well, what a productive morning. I’m trying to figure out what
the pace of entry across the stage, was telling me about the
business school and the engineering faculty. We’ll need to talk about that as a performance measure. But well done, and of course
that was the last cohort for the summer
session, so that was a great way to end
the year. But once again, ladies and
gentlemen, Strathclyde graduates, let me reiterate our warm
welcome here to this wonderful ceremony. A day that none of you will
forget. It marks the successful
conclusion of years of hard work, and now you’ve graduated
in front of your friends, your families, and your
academic colleagues. Today, as I said earlier, we welcome people from all over
the UK, and much further afield. We are delighted to see you
here, our international guests, to join here in our
celebrations. And of course we live
in interesting times, and as we reflect on the
recent political dynamics that continue here in Scotland, and the UK, across Europe, and indeed, across the Atlantic, it is worthwhile acknowledging that universities have a very
distinctive and important part to play in
society, and Strathclyde is clearly
at the heart of this. Strathclyde is a university where freedom of thought is
valued, and we encourage that. A place that is both
tolerant and inclusive, and where people of
diverse national, cultural and social backgrounds come
together to enjoy an excellent
Strathclyde education, and a shared student experience. We benefit from having staff and
students from 120 countries on this
campus. This is a socially progressive
community that we’ve created, and one that is an exemplar, and should be seen as
such for modern society. We are plural, we are
multicultural, and we strive to be enlightened. (audience applause) Thank you. That’s the family in as well, I do beg your pardon. (audience laughs) But in that context, and that’s an important
context these days, it’s a great honour, and it
always is to perform the capping ceremony
exercise. A very simple action, it’s written in the ceremonies
derived from ancient China, and indeed, the Middle East, to make personal transitions, and you’ve all had a very
important transition today as you leave the university and
enter into the next phase of your
lives. And when I capped each
and every one of you, it was a formal acknowledgement of your hard work and
successful completion of your degree programmes. And appropriately enough, Thomas
Edison, the famous American
inventor and entrepreneur, said that genius is 1%
inspiration, 99% perspiration. That is hard work. I was brought up in the sunny
climbs in a part of Glasgow called
Govan, in the ship-building
part of the community, and that town’s historical
motto, is: “nihil sine labore”. Or, nothing without hard work. And bear that in mind. You’re all clever, highly
accomplished people, but you will do your very best and you’ll make the greatest
impact if you continue to apply
yourself, to challenge yourself, and do that in a place, as you heard from Richard
earlier on, where you enjoy that
application. So I embrace that ethos every
day that I come into this
institution, and please that message with you from the hall toady, as
you enter your careers. And today you become members
of the Strathclyde alumni community, you’re the
leaders of our torch bearers, and like my generations
of graduates before you. And now with all that you’ve
successfully come through, and we’re delighted for you, I know that you would agree that you couldn’t have done any
of this without the support and
encouragement of your families and your
friends. It’s fitting that we
acknowledge their contribution, their part in the successful
completion of your university studies. Our graduates and the university
at large owe them an enormous debt of
gratitude, and as the first of my own
family to go to university here, at
Strathclyde, as it happens, in the Engineering faculty, I know precisely the
importance of such support, and I’m sure that today’s new
graduates and our university staff
would like to join me in thanking the families,
friends and supporters for all that
they’ve done to make today possible. Thank you very much indeed. (audience applause) And for our academic staff too, this is the highlight of their
calender, because the work that they’ve
done to help you achieve your great
outcomes is that their ultimate
professional reward, and Strathclyde has worked hard to provide you with a
first class education, and an excellent University
experience. For all of our students, regardless of background, so let me again invite our new
graduates, our new Strathclyders to join me in thanking our academic staff for the fantastic work that
they’ve done to support you in your
endeavours. Thank you. (audience applause) And as you leave here today, reflect on your institution and
be proud. We were founded in 1796, so this is our 221st birthday
this year. And throughout our history, the university of Strathclyde
has remained faithful to our founding principles in that we were established, and
I quote, for the benefit of all mankind. We were the only Scottish
higher education institution to be established during
the Scottish enlightenment. That’s an important distinction. During that time of challenge,
engagement, universities moving away from
being apart from society, but Strathclyde, when we were
established as Anderson’s Institution, was connected to society, and we keep that firmly
in the front and centre of what we are doing, and we’re driving forward
our strategy in that same exciting context, making it wholly relevant
to the 21st Century. Our founder, John Anderson, and whose name this place was
established, was a physicist, or natural
philosopher. He had strong lines
with Benjamin Franklin, that you’ll heard of, another American inventor and
academic, and Franklin was one of the
individuals that established the University
of Pennsylvania in 1751, under the motto of Useful
Knowledge. And that motto, along with
the enlightenment principles, stimulated our founded, John
Anderson, and beautifully resonates with
our motto of Useful Learning. And never has that
meaning been so relevant since our establishment
over 200 years ago. And the motto known by all of
our staff and certainly our students now, still defines our purpose as a
leading international, technological
university, that is socially progressive. Because as you’ve come here
today, in the buildings that you’ll
have passed on your way to the Barony hall. Our academics and our students
have been developing drugs to
diagnose and fight diseases and illnesses, for example, we currently have two
drugs in clinical trials, and one of our spur outs,
Mirinid, have had a multi-million pound
raise to fund the development of drugs to tackle degenerative kidney
disease, cancer and inflammatory disease. Strathclyders are also producing energy technologies and policy
solutions, to tackle climate change and establish a low carbon
economy, even in the face of naysayers
about climate change, we’ll have to make sure the data speak for itself. We’re also revolutionising
global manufacturing, and helping to create the
fourth industrial revolution, the so-called industry 4.0. Our students are working in
Africa, to establish water and power
supplies, and to deploy healthcare systems for remote communities. They’re bringing prosthetic
limb technologies to those in need in India, and we’re working to inform
public policy and to drive national economic
strategy. You heard about our 100 million
pound technology and innovation
centre, another important investment
in our infrastructure. Down in George Street, it has
redefined how academia works with
business, and the public sector. In there, we’re working in
photonics, bio-nano systems, smart
grid and future cities. Thomas Edison, I mentioned him
earlier, talked about his team and his
facilities as his inventions factory. Tic is absolutely our
innovations factory. But most importantly here at
Strathclyde, we work to help people
to have the opportunity to transform their lives, and the lives of the families. And as I referenced earlier, we still attract many first
generation university students to
Strathclyde, and finally, we have business
and industry the tools that they need and the talent that they need, such as we have in the hall
here, to promote economic growth, to create jobs and to provide us
all with a quality of life that
is sustainable and healthy. And these are some of the
reasons that we’ve had such a terrific
sequence of independent recognition of
not only what we do, but how we do it. In recent years, we’ve been
recognised in the annual UK Times Higher
Education awards ceremony, and that’s
included the UK research project of the
year, our high voltage engineers
and biological scientists working to destroy things like
MRSA, campli-bacteria E-coli, work led by my Vice Principal,
Professor Scott McGregor here today. We were UK University of the
Year, UK Entrepreneur University of
the Year, and November, just past, we were rightfully named as UK
Business School of the Year. How about that? (audience cheers) I’ll be celebrating that annual
award for the next decade,
according to the Dean, let me tell you. But just last week, I’m proud to
tell you, as well as the fantastic
academic accolades that we’ve been picking up. Our professional services staff in the University at large were
recognised at a major ceremony in London, and were named in the University
sector as having the UK Workplace of
the Year, and the Strategic Team of the
Year, and please join me to say a big
well done to my staff that have achieved
that. (audience applause) And all of this is driven by a
pursuit of academic excellence, and a six year cycle that
we are in the midst of just now, we have every single
discipline in every school, and
department of faculties across the UK, measured for
the quality of research, and in the last outputs, Strathclyde was deemed
as having the number one physics department in the UK, three in chemistry, four
in biological sciences, three of our engineering
department, including Naval Architecture,
Ocean and Marine Engineering, the top three in the UK. Or business school, number six, and have been number one
for research environment, and in the humanities and social
sciences, in the top 10 or government
and public policy department, law and social work, and social
policy. So the tide is rising at
Strathclyde, and it’s bringing all the ships
with it, if the Dean of Engineering
will forgive that analogy. So things are moving, and
things are moving fast here, and Strathclyde seeks to
demonstrate that we have a disproportionate
impact on people’s lives, the
economy and society at large. Mainly through you graduates, our proudest and most important
outcome are the people that we educate, the people that we set out
into their new professions, their new opportunities across
the world, and you’re there to help us
apply value and impact through the
transfer of our knowledge for industry and public sector
partners, and we continue to be a driver for sustainable economic growth, and Strathclyde has a
recognised, distinct role in this key national objective. Universities have to be seen
beyond the simple public purse
contribution here. It is important Scottish
government commits around 1.1 billion per
annum to universities, but in return, we deliver back over £7
billion worth of impact to the Scottish economy. And certainly the achievements
of the business school, and the faculty of Engineering, give me hope that we’ll
continue to drive that, and let me give you some
very much edited highlights, because those of these faculties are knocking the ball out the
park. As we heard earlier, the Strathclyde business school will rightly recognise the UK
Business School of the year this year. They’ve also established a new
masters in Financial Technology,
or FINTEC, launched here at Strathclyde to
support the digital transformation of Scotland’s financial sector. These students will develop the
financial programming and analytical
skills needed to reinforce Scotland’s
position as a leader in financial
innovation. Strathclyde International
Business student, Kirsten Alexander McGarry, was named Management
Undergraduate of the Year, at the Target Jobs Undergraduate
of the Year awards. The Growth Advantage Programme,
or GAP, run by the Hunter Centre
for Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with Santander, is contributed by Sir Tom
Plinter. It entered its second year, and the programme is for
businesses wishing to scale up, and it’s already been
recognised nationally and internationally as helping
to drive Scottish business success. Our MBA programme was ranked
by the Financial Times as number one in Scotland and in the top 10 in the UK, and Strathclyde was ranked
number two in the UK for Accounting and Finance and Hospitality, Leisure,
Recreation and Tourism in the Complete University
Guide for 2017/18. One of our academic
colleagues, David Eiser, in the Fraser Wallander
Institute in Economics, was appointed as an
advisor to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, and his advice will focus in
particular, in the implementation of
the new fiscal framework. In Engineering, Strathclyde
was ranked first in the UK for medical
technologies, in the Complete University
Guide. One of our colleagues,
Professor Becky Lunn, just two weeks ago, received her
MBA in the Queen’s Birthday honours
list for her contributions to
engineering. And just last week, the first
minister, Nicola Sturgeon was here on
campus, announcing another £9 million
investment in Strathclyde to build and develop a new
lightweight manufacturing centre at our major aerospace
hub out at the airport. Looking to take advanced
composites, titanium, aluminium into the
aerospace, automotive and energy
industries. One of our students, a
triple A student, Joe Gibson, and this is the second time in
three years that Strathclyde has
won the best engineering student of the year award, in the STEM, that’s the
Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths award for his
project on future aircraft design. He won a £25,000 personal
prize on that one, and I haven’t seen him
since, I have to tell you. (audience laughs) We’re looking forward
to him returning here, across the stage, I mean, he’s
got another two years to go, so I will catch up with him. But we were very proud of him, and the representation he makes on behalf of the engineering
faculty. The department that we’re
celebrating in the engineering faculty and the leadership of Vasos
Dracos, is Maritime Safety Research
Centre announcements, just in Dracos, I think
November, we launched that centre. Fantastic credit to Dracos, and an industrially driven
university partnership, the world’s first of its kind, aimed at improving
safety standards at sea, and this has been done in
partnership with the Royal Caribbean Cruise
lines, and DNVGL. And our mechanical engineering
professor, Professor Massimiliano Vaseli, mechanical aerospace had an
asteroid named after him. I’m so jealous. That’s Asteroid 2002, PX33, now known as Max Vaseli, and is in orbit between Mars
and Jupiter, apparently. And Max has been in orbit ever since that announcement
was made some months ago. Five of our female engineering
students, won the Engineers Without
Borders Design Challenge, just a few weeks ago. That’s Leanne Nimmo, Katrina
McGuihan, Laura Holiday, Rachel
Hoosan, and Amanda Onaga. Winning the engineering
people design challenge for the design of a
water treatment system, for a medical centre in Lobitos
in Peru. And just last week, as we try and prepare a new
generation of engineers, we had NASA for the
Scottish NASA Space School, on campus, two astronauts,
two space technologists, working with 100 of the most
gifted 50 students across Scotland, and we expect, as we have
seen in recent years, over 80% of them will
come here to Strathclyde to study engineering. So business school and
engineering faculty doing fantastically well, and to my graduates, this
is the exciting context within which you are graduating
today. You are now graduates of a
university that puts students at the hub of all that we do. We value education and
research excellence, and we support close
connections with society and business at large. And of course we are an
international institution. The world’s best universities
compete, collaborate and contribute
on the international stage, and we are no different. We have deep and
longstanding relationships across North America. Our principal partners are
Stanford, Caltec, MIT, and New York
University. World class institutions in
China, we work with Ching Wa,
and Peking Universities, number one and two in that vast
country, and also the Hong Kong
University of Science and
Technology. The number one technology
university in the world. In Singapore, our partners are
Nan Yang Technological University, and the National University of
Singapore, and we have a raft of
important European partners across the continent. Relationships that we value
deeply, and we will work hard to
maintain, and the uncertainties of Brexit, the connections such as those that are established through
universities are underpinning parts of the
fabric over connected Europe. We’ll have to see where
the negotiations get. There’ll be no doubt the
exchange between people, the free engagement and exchange
of ideas and collaboration is fundamental to a healthy society and growing
economy. But our students value
greatly and benefit greatly from being part of an
international university. It helps them emerge with
the skills that they need, and indeed for Scotland, to play a full part of the
world, and our students have been
exposed to different cultures and traditions, but most importantly, today,
graduates, you leave your understanding
and obligations as global citizens, and as well as making a
difference on the global stage, we are very proud of our roots
here in the city of Glasgow. I have the pleasure of sharing
the Glasgow economic leadership
board. I was the Independent
Commissioner that looked at our economy five
years ago, and we’ve now gathered great
industrial and business connectivity
to look at the same challenge that the
traders and merchants had at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th
centuries, and we drive now Scotland’s
economic on engineering, manufacturing, ship-building again, life
sciences, low-carbon economy, finance and
business, and Strathclyde is at the heart
of that, providing knowhow and the great
graduates we can use to fuel that machine. But very importantly, we
remain with some pride, the research-intensive
university in Scotland, with the largest number of young
people that come from some of the most
challenged socio-economic backgrounds. This year along, we’ve attracted
989 of people that come here
that have the wherewithal intellectually, and need
some support to come in here and benefit from the
Strathclyde experience. Whilst I told you that
two and a half thousand students have graduated
in the past 10 days, three weeks ago we had a first
graduation, and these were the students
in the children’s university. These were youngsters aged five
to 12. I have the honour of being
Chancellor of the children’s university, and we’ve got 120 youngsters, and their mothers and fathers
and teacher in this hall, traipsing across here wearing
their gowns and their mater boards, and I can’t help reflect as I do
often, I love that ceremony,
because I’m one of the few times I get to look tall
in a graduation ceremony. (audience laughs) The best one was a five year old when I actually had to kneel
down to cap her, she was absolutely
fantastic. But their mothers and
fathers were in here, none of whom has crossed the
threshold of our university before. Places that weren’t meant for
them. Places where their families
had no experience of. But our message to them was, Strathclyde’s doors are open for
talent, regardless of their background, and it’s open for talent
because Strathclyde can propel you into a career
that can make a difference. And on Wednesday this
week, in a similar vein, the deputy First Minister,
John Swinney was here, to launch our new institute for inspiring children’s
futures. We’ve 120 staff here that help us look after care
leavers, impact policy, influence,
as you heard there earlier about Nigel Cantwell,
the United Nation codes, for care leavers and children’s
wellbeing. So international technological
university, that is socially progressive. So let me conclude by
reflecting. If I were to describe
Strathclyde in 2017, I think it’s fair to
describe us as ambitious, having focus and momentum, and having the agility and
commitment to navigate the headwinds
that are out there in terms of policy,
economy and some of the, shall we say the tears in the
fabric of society at times. It’s a privilege for me to lead
this fantastic institution, with the superb support that I
get from my executive team, as well as the broader
community of academics, professional services and
support staff. And I would like to
think that our founder, John Anderson, would recognise
what we are doing today as the epitome of what
he sought to establish during the Scottish
enlightenment. We now seek, in this modern
society, to be an agent for
positive change in Glasgow, Scotland, UK and across the
globe. But most importantly,
ladies and gentlemen, I’m convinced that the class of
2017, all of you here today that have
graduated, can be a vintage year. Make a difference, make an
impact, and make us proud of you. And with that in mind,
as you leave here today, you’re joining an
international community of over 170,000 Strathclyders. So whatever you do with your
degree, and wherever you may choose to
work, remember that useful learning also should have you
applying your knowledge for the benefit of others, making a positive impact for
yourselves and the communities that you
belong to, respecting diversity,
valuing freedom of expression and thought, and ultimately
reaching conclusions and resolving disputes by
reason. These characterise the core
values of your university. And finally, to today’s
ceremony. On behalf of the University, I would like to extend again, my sincere congratulations
to every one of you. I wish you every success
in your future careers, please keep in touch with us, let us know about your progress. Very well done, and please enjoy the rest of this very special
day. Thank you. (audience cheers)

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