Imperial students celebrate in largest ever Postgraduate Graduation Ceremonies


Royal Albert Hall on Graduation Day

Today's Postgraduate Graduation Ceremonies will see nearly 3,000 graduands awarded their postgraduate degrees in the Royal Albert Hall.

Watched by over 7,000 guests, the event will be hosted by Imperial's President Professor Alice P. Gast. Addressing the audience of graduands and their guests, Professor Gast will highlight the bonds between the day’s graduating cohort and William Perkin, one of the College community’s illustrious forebears. As a student at the Royal College of Chemistry in the 19th century Perkin discovered a new synthetic dye and its whole new colour, mauveine: 

Today we celebrate how the risks you took have paid off. We celebrate the rewards of your hard work, the knowledge you have gained and the bright futures you have ahead of you.

– Professor Alice P. Gast


“The purple in the hoods you and other Imperial graduates wear were chosen because of Perkin. The colour purple symbolises the spirit of endeavour and discovery, and the risk-taking nature that characterises those with an Imperial education and training.” 

“Like William Perkin you, our postgraduate students, are risk takers. When you enrolled, you knew you were taking on challenging advanced courses of study and research.  For some of you, your decision to pursue further study was a change of direction in your careers or academic interests. Many of you will have travelled a long way to study in London. You have undertaken projects not knowing where they will lead.  Today we celebrate how the risks you took have paid off. We celebrate the rewards of your hard work, the knowledge you have gained and the bright futures you have ahead of you.” 

The new graduates will join an international network of 170,000 alumni, supported by more than 50 alumni associations worldwide. 

Outstanding contributions

During today's ceremonies honorary degrees will also be awarded to Professor Frank Kelly, Professor of the Mathematics of Systems and Master of Christ’s College at the University of Cambridge, in recognition of his contribution to mathematical sciences; and Imperial’s Professor Elizabeth Simpson - recognising her contribution to transplantation biology. 

Receiving Imperial College Medals are Imperial’s Associate Provost (Institutional Affairs) Professor Stephen Richardson and Professor Henry Rzepa, Emeritus Professor of Computational Chemistry, acknowledging the outstanding contributions they have made to the life and work of Imperial. 

Outstanding student achievement will be celebrated with awards for Ryan Browne (Chemistry), Marily Nika (Computing), Jassel Majevadia (Physics) and Aeneas Wiener (Physics). Their awards recognise the students’ contributions to both the College and the wider community, including for work in volunteering, outreach and supporting and inspiring fellow students. 

Professor Miriam Moffatt and Professor Clare Lloyd, both from the National Heart and Lung Institute, receive awards in recognition of their outstanding research supervision of postgraduate students, while Dr Yujie Zhao (Chemical Engineering) receives an award acknowledging excellence in pastoral care during her work as a subwarden. Dr Liz Elvidge from the Postdoc Development Centre receives the Julia Higgins Medal, awarded in recognition of her work on gender equality. 

Graduates and their families will be able to continue their celebrations at the Imperial Festival, the College's two day public festival, on the 9 and 10 May. The Festival, which features hands on science demonstrations, music and comedy, will include special events for alumni as well as being open to the public.

See the press release of this article


John-Paul Jones

John-Paul Jones
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