University Centre Reaseheath graduates from the academic year 2019 / 2020 have belatedly celebrated their success at a spectacular graduation ceremony in Chester Cathedral.

University Centre Reaseheath is an academic partner with the University of Chester and both education institutions shared a graduation ceremony in the historic building last week.

The ceremony should have been held in November 2020 but was delayed for over two years due to the Covid pandemic.

Over 300 Reaseheath graduates from the Class of 2020 were awarded degrees in agricultural science, animal science, zoo management, rural events management, environment and wildlife conservation, equine science and dairy technology.

Among them were dairy technicians from Reaseheath’s unique Eden training programme, a bespoke education initiative supported by leading companies in the dairy industry and aimed at producing world-class employees through degree level apprenticeships.

Reaseheath actively supports this type of higher level learning, which allows those already in employment to continue in practical and academic study. The university centre also has well established industry links, resulting in aligned degrees, relevant undergraduate work placements and scientific research projects.

Opening the ceremony, Rev Gill Reeve, Chaplain at the University of Chester, told the graduates that they had studied through extraordinary times with many additional challenges and that it was a pleasure to acknowledge their incredible commitment and dedication and to celebrate their wonderful achievements.

University of Chester’s Chancellor, broadcaster and writer Dr Gyles Brandreth, said that the graduates left the University of Chester well equipped to serve society and communities,  and that their degrees and awards would pave the way to happy, successful and worthwhile lives.

Reaseheath’s Dean of Higher Education, Associate Professor Peter Greenall added: “We are very proud of the success of the degrees which we run in conjunction with University of Chester, and we look forward to expanding this programme.

“Our degrees are designed, resourced and delivered in partnership with the industries we serve, ensuring that they deliver the relevant academic knowledge and practical skills that employers need.  As a result, our graduates leave us with the transferable skills and competitive edge to succeed and are ready to take advantage of worldwide opportunities. We look forward to following their journeys within their chosen careers.”

Nine Reaseheath graduates were singled out for special recognition:

Meredydd David Award for Academic and Technical Excellence

Josie Wall (FdA in Rural Events Management)

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Research

Leah Cox (BSc Wildlife Conservation and Ecology)

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement and Personal Progression

Imogen Quirk BSc (Hons) Equine Science

Eden Student of the Year 2020 (sponsored by the Society of Dairy Technology)

Ross Halliday and Gintare Jonuittene (FdSc Dairy Technology)

Also nominated for Dean’s Award

Jessica Garrigan (BSc (Hons) Animal Management)

Hannah Mumford (BSc (Hons) Zoo Management)

Buddug Williams (FdSc Agriculture)

Katie Monton (BSc (Hons) Landscape Architecture)

Prominent businessman Ian O’Docherty received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Chester during the ceremony in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business in the North West.

Currently CEO of Appreciate Group, a Liverpool based provider of gift experiences and digital rewards, Mr O’Docherty is also the non-executive Chair of Chester Race Company. He is a previous Chair and CEO of MBNA Ltd in Chester.