De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was able to celebrate two people with close connections to the university this week.
Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor David Wilson, and alumna Sunita Mason CBE both received honours at today’s graduations ceremonies.
Professor David Wilson becomes a Honorary Doctor of the University, one of the highest honours that DMU confers.
A widely-published expert in local government, Professor Wilson became Head of the Department of Public Policy, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, and ultimately Deputy Vice-Chancellor at DMU, a post he held until retirement. He was then made Professor Emeritus and Pro Chancellor.
Speaking just before the ceremony, Prof Wilson said he was “very privileged” to become an Honorary Doctor of the University.
The prestigious title, which is a rarely awarded, is given to those “of high intellectual or cultural distinction, who have rendered distinguished and substantial services to the university over a period of time.”
Professor Wilson told graduands how his own time at university had shaped his life, adding: “You are privileged to be studying at one of the most dynamic universities in the UK. It really is a great place to be a student, and indeed a member of staff.
“Nelson Mandela, who received an honorary doctorate here in 1996, said ‘A vision without action is just a dream. Action without a vision just passes the time – but a vision with action can change the world’. What a wonderful mantra that is.
“Never give up on your hopes and dreams, even when the dice seems to be loaded firmly against you. Nelson Mandela did not give up and he changed the world.”
Sunita Mason CBE, who graduated from DMU in 1991, became a Doctor of Laws. She is legal director of children’s charity the National Youth Advocacy Service, a District Judge who advises the Home Office and led a national review into the way in which criminal records are checked.
She is now part of a major independent inquiry into child sex abuse, assessing whether organisations have taken seriously their responsibility for child welfare.
She said: “I feel humbled, privileged and so excited to be part of this day with everybody here. It was incredible; really special. There was more pomp and ceremony here than when I was at the Palace for my CBE. It was great.
“I had a brilliant time here as a student. I still feel really lucky. The tutors here were very supportive. There’s been this incredible change on campus since I graduated.
“What they’re doing here is exciting, fresh and vibrant. It almost makes me what to come back and do it all over again.”
Today was the turn of students from the Faculty of Business and Law, whose families came from all over the world to be with them on their special day.
Hayford Akowuah, who graduated in Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: “I thought the ceremony was really really good and I am so proud. I got quite emotional as I made my walk across the stage.
“My three years has been quite a journey for me, I’ve had ups and downs, but my time here has been so worthwhile.
“DMU will be seeing a lot more of me in the next few years, I’m writing a book about being a young Christian at university which I’d like DMU students to get their hands on and I’m also pushing forward with my company.”
Business and Management student Aman Rashid said: “I thought the ceremony was very moving, very ceremonial and a fantastic end to my time here at DMU.
“However, this isn’t the end for me as I am coming back to do my master’s in Business Management in the Creative Industries.
“I’ve had great experiences alongside my studies and I’ve enjoyed networking and communicating with local business to apply my skills in the real world.
“Doing a master’s here, I hope to get more experience, giving me the skills to go into business management in the media industry.”
Posted on Tuesday 18th July 2017