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STAR graduates

A host of star students and staff members on the part-time degree programme graduated at the University of St Andrews this week.

Our oldest this year, Joyce Cormie (82) from Leven, started her studies in 2012, following the death of her husband. At the time, she came to realise, “I didn’t want to be like Caitlin Thomas who wrote a book about leftover life to kill, because I thought there’s more to life than that.”  Spurred on by one of her friends on the programme and daughter Vicki Cormie (Senior Academic Liaison Librarian), she applied, and quickly realised, “after the first semester I knew it was for me. I’ve just loved the whole thing.”

The oldest graduating student in June 2017 - Joyce Comrie

Originally from Edinburgh, Joyce graduated alongside fellow students on the part-time degree with an Ordinary MA. She said, “It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve been embracing as much as possible from lectures to being part of University life. I was treated as ‘normal’. If any of my friends were thinking about it, I’d say grasp the opportunity with both hands. It’s been challenging but so rewarding.”

Students through alternative routes graduates

Meanwhile, the first Honours graduates (pictured left to right Kim, Brogan and Harrison with Joanna Fry, the University’s Education Liaison Officer for Lifelong and Flexible Learning) of the University’s STAR Access programme also graduated this week. Kim Morrison (BSc (hons) Cell Biology), Brogan Mckelvie, (BSc (hons) Biochemistry) and Harrison R Horne (BSc Chemistry) all graduated on Wednesday 21 June.  STAR students come to the University from Further Education Colleges, initially onto the General degree route, and are given ongoing support to help with transition and settling in. Their point of contact, Jo Fry, not only celebrated their achievements with them but joined in with a graduation of her own.

All three came to St Andrews from Dundee and Angus College, and both Brogan and Kim are going onto postgraduate study; Kim at Dundee and Brogan at St Andrews, while Harrison plans to start his own business.

Speaking afterwards, Kim (22) from Arbroath, said the St Andrews’ experience had been ‘life changing’. She continued, “I entered the university a very shy individual with minimal confidence, and I am happy to say I am leaving as a confident, sociable individual. I have to thank all of the amazing people I have met, both staff and students, for both inspiring me and helping me develop as an individual.

“I know it was one of best decisions I have made in life so far, and I would not change anything. I assure you that if you choose to study at St Andrews, you will not regret it.”

Fife Provost Prize winner -

And last but not least, Zoe Garvie, the Fife Provost Prize winner for Evening degree student of the year, also crossed the stage of the Younger Hall to collect her BSc General Science Degree.  Zoe, from Kinross, started the evening degree as ‘the perfect way to test the water’ in 2011. Six years and two children later, Zoe was ‘always being chased out by the janitor’ during her studies and in her spare time has been campaigning to keep the local library open as well as starting her own business having fun with 4 to 11 year olds through science.

Although she is looking forward to sleeping again, she said, “I hope that one day St Andrews will see me back but, whatever happens, I’ll never be done with learning. It has been an absolute privilege to have come to St Andrews. The calibre and enthusiasm of the teaching is astonishing across the breadth of subjects I’ve taken and my fellow students have been a pleasure and inspiration to meet. There are so many of us who juggle commitments and stay up all hours to fit in the time for assessments, so it is a real honour to have the effort I’ve put in recognised.”

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