Chelmsford is gearing up for a joyous fortnight of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) graduation ceremonies – the first to be held in the city since 2019.
More than 3,000 students, clad in ARU gowns and mortar boards, will formally receive their degrees during 24 ceremonies at Chelmsford Cathedral from October 4-14 – many of whom have waited more than a year after completing their course due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing physical ceremonies from taking place.
Those graduating will be watched and cheered by more than 6,000 guests.
On Thursday, October 7, ARU will also bestow an honorary degree on Nicholas Alston, who grew up in Chelmsford, became the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex in 2012, and joined ARU in 2016 as chair of the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER) before stepping down earlier this year.
After a career in defence and security, he received a CBE in the 1997 New Year’s Honours list, and in 2017 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Essex. He will receive the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws.
Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: “For many of our students, it has been a very long wait to cross the stage to formally graduate. Whether they completed their course in 2020 or in 2021, the challenges they have faced due to this pandemic were unprecedented.
“This year’s graduation ceremonies will therefore be particularly special and it will be a joy to once again see so many of our graduates in Chelmsford city centre celebrating their success with friends and loved ones. We are very proud of them.”