College graduates donned their gowns and mortarboards on Friday as they celebrated their graduation at a lavish event at Woburn Sculpture Gallery.
This was the first time that higher education students from Milton Keynes College have been awarded their diplomas just like their university counterparts, and the group had recently completed courses ranging from business, photography, computing and systems development to performing arts, media production and graphic design.
Dr Julie Mills, college principal and chief executive, said, “Our students have worked hard and proved themselves in subjects judged at the same level as people taking undergraduate degrees, so why shouldn’t they be recognised with just as much pomp and ceremony? They’ve certainly earned it.”
Kerry Brinklow, 27, who returned to education to study performing arts so she could go on to become a drama teacher, said: “Today has really added to everyone’s sense of achievement. Not everyone gets to go to university so how amazing is it that our local college can offer you that graduation day? “The hat, the gown, the outfit planning, that final photograph. To capture that moment is important for so many of us.
“My daughter has severe Cerebral Palsy so returning to education wasn’t an easy option. It’s been the college’s flexibility, support and consistency that has enabled me to achieve an education and keep on going.”
Dr Mills also marked the event by awarding the first Honorary Fellowship of Milton Keynes College to Dr Ann Limb OBE DL for her outstanding contribution to the college.
Dr Limb said: “I am hugely proud to be associated with Milton Keynes College. From my point of view, and judging from the faces of the students here today, I truly believe that ceremonies such as today’s which celebrate great achievements are extremely worthwhile.”