Double distinction for Evening Degree graduate

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Left to right: Dean of Arts Professor Roy Dilley, Elizabeth (Betty) Watson, and Provost of Fife Frances Melville

Left to right: Dean of Arts Professor Roy Dilley, Elizabeth (Betty) Watson, and Provost of Fife Frances Melville.

Elizabeth (Betty) Watson, a newly-graduated part-time student at the University of St Andrews, has been rewarded for her achievements over the last year.

The Provost’s Prize, in its tenth year, is awarded to an outstanding student who has persevered and flourished in their degree course, often in spite of challenging circumstances.

Betty Watson left school at 15 to support her family after her father suffered a major accident at work. She worked as a fish merchant for a number of years, married and raised a family.

In her late thirties Betty decided to return to Waid Academy to take an O-grade and then a Higher in English.

Although studying at University had long been her dream, she had little confidence in her ability, in large part due to her deafness.

It was over 20 years later, when she started work at the University of St Andrews as a housekeeping assistant in David Russell Hall, that she learnt about the Evening Degree programme and decided to apply for a place.

Betty entered the programme in 2002 and persevered with her studies – through health and family commitments, and even when she lost her hearing aid – to graduate with an MA (General) degree with Distinction.

Betty said:

“I would recommend the Evening Degree to anyone.  You meet so many people that you wouldn’t otherwise come across – and everyone is so friendly. I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many in the University, especially Student Services and my scribe for the last three years, Victoria.”

Her tutors all commended her sense of humour and cheerful participation, and all remarked on her genuine love of learning.

Betty was presented with her award at an evening reception in St Andrews last night (Tuesday 14 September, 2010), which was attended by Provost of Fife Frances Melville, Dean of the Faculty of Science Professor Alyson Tobin, Dean of Arts Professor Roy Dilley, and Evening Degree Co-ordinator Nicky Haxell. Commenting on the award, Nicky Haxell said:

“Betty’s good humour and determination over the years of study made her many friends among the students and staff on the Evening Degree. We are all delighted with her award, which is well-deserved and reflects the commitment she has put into her degree.”

Aimed at adults over the age of 21, a General Master of Arts or Bachelor of Science general degree can be obtained within 3 to 9 years, depending on prior qualifications and whether the student prefers to study one or two sessions a week. The first cohort of part-time students graduated in 2004, and the programme celebrates its 10th Anniversary later in the year.

The reception was also held for the 49 new students about to begin their part-time degree studies this year.

Students returning to study after a gap are eased back into the way of things with a specially-designed study skills programme at the start of the course. Various financial arrangements are also in place to help those on low incomes take advantage of this flexible academic programme.

Further information about the degree course can be obtained from Nicky Haxell, Evening Degree Co-ordinator, University of St Andrews, Hebdomadar’s block, 75 North St, St Andrews,  KY16 9AJ, telephone 01334 462203, [email protected]. Application is now open for February 2011.

Notes for News Editors

Photographs of the event are available from the Communications Team on 01334 462 109.

Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager on 01334 462 109 or email [email protected]

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