HUNDREDS of students are ready to embark on the journey to a new life as they graduate from the University of Chester on Friday (March 19).
Accompanied by their family and friends, more than 470 students will follow in the footsteps of the University’s countless alumni when they graduate across three ceremonies at Chester Cathedral on Friday, March 19.
His Grace the Duke of Westminster will be congratulating the graduate scholars during the ceremony at the city centre’s cathedral, which will be streamed live on to the University’s website.
As Foundation Chancellor of the University, His Grace will be joined by four eminent individuals each of whom will be awarded Honorary Degrees for outstanding achievements in their chosen fields.
Among those celebrated names will be Tim Firth, the Cheshire-based writer who will be awarded a Doctor of Letters for his outstanding collection of works for the stage and screen which include the box office smash Calendar Girls and most recently Confessions of a Shopaholic.
He will be joined by the Rt Reverend Brian Noble, Bishop of Shrewsbury, who will receive Doctor of Theology, nursing specialist John Caley who be given a Master of Science, and Shane Flynn, former CEO of the Bank of America and most recently Chair of Chester Renaissance who will be presented with a Doctor of Business Administration.
Professor Tim Wheeler, the University’s Vice Chancellor, said: “Here at Chester we are fortunate to be able to tap into a rich vein of success, achievement, creative talent and benevolence and we are delighted by our honorary graduates’ association with us, as role models for the next generations of students.
“The graduation ceremony marks the culmination of hard study, fellowship and sometimes sacrifices. The graduands who are about to step out into a whole new realm of possibilities can be assured that they have all made their mark on Chester’s academic, cultural, sporting and social landscape and will continue to do so as they use their degrees as their ticket to shape the world around them.
“We wish them all every success in their future careers, and with the opportunities that lie before them.”
During the ceremonies, the University’s Public Orator, Professor Chris Walsh, will outline the notable careers of the Honorary Graduands, and the outstanding contributions they have made in their chosen fields.
The Rt Reverend Bishop Brian Noble, Bishop of Shrewsbury – Doctor of Theology honoris causa, of the University of Chester.
The Rt Rev Bishop Brian Noble spent six years at Ushaw College in Durham, where he studied Philosophy and Theology. In 1960 he was ordained Priest for the Diocese of Lancaster where he served as Curate at churches in Preston and Maryport before being appointed as Catholic Chaplain at Lancaster University in 1972.
In 1980 he took became Lecturer in Theology and Liturgy at Beda Pontifical College in Rome, returning to the UK in 1987 when he was Parish Priest at St Benedict’s, Whitehaven and Rural Dean of West Cumbria.
He was made Canon of Lancaster Cathedral in 1994 and a year later was consecrated Bishop of Shrewsbury.
Among his considerable achievements, His Grace’s work contributed directly to the creation of two inter-faith schools in Macclesfield and Runcorn.
Always a great supporter of the University of Chester, he has also actively encouraged the work of Catholic Chaplain, Father Paul Shaw of St Werburgh.
Tim Firth – Doctor of Letters honoris causa, of the University of Chester.
Born in Chester and having lived in Cheshire all his life Tim Firth is a true home-grown talent.
Schooled in Warrington, he attended the University of Cambridge where he became involved in student drama, writing and touring with Cambridge Footlights.
After graduation he was commissioned by Alan Ayckbourn to write Man of Letters, which
lead to his first West End play Neville’s Island.
His stage, TV and film work, including Our House, The Flint Street Nativity, Money for Nothing, All Quiet on the Preston Front and Confessions of a Shopaholic will be familiar to many.
But he is probably best known for his award-winning film Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, the stage version of which has raised nearly £200,000 for Leukaemia Research.
John Caley – Master of Science causa, of the University of Chester.
Douglas-born John Caley’s long career in nursing began in 1955 when he entered Nobles Hospital in the Isle of Man as an assistant nurse.
He moved to Walton Hospital, Liverpool, in 1962 and entered Queen Elizabeth College, University of London in 1964 to study a diploma in Theory and Practice of Nurse Education and Training.
Having returned to Walton to teach he was appointed Principal Tutor in 1969 managing the General Nursing School in Chester and in 1973 became Director of Nurse Education in Warrington.
He has worked for the Joint Board of Clinical Nursing Studies, the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and Mersey Regional Health Authority and regularly contributed to the Department of Health’s regional reviews.
Having devoted much time to help move nursing and midwifery training from the NHS into higher education, he has been a Visiting Fellow at the University for the past seven years.
Now retired, he works closely with adults with learning disabilities, and has been Director, Trustee and, most recently, Chairman of the charity Chester Link.
Shane Flynn – Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa, of the University of Chester.
A business graduate, Sligo-born Shane Flynn is a founder and Managing Director of USA-based equity firm Cordja.
Prior to this, however, he spent 17 years working for MBNA – most notably as Senior Vice Chairman of MBNA America, Chief Executive Officer of MBNA Europe and as a member of MBNA’s executive committee.
In 2008 he was appointed Chairman of the economic development organisation Chester Renaissance, where for two years he has chaired the private and public sector partnership that oversees new developments in the city centre.
A keen fisherman and sailor, Shane Flynn sits on the Board of Trustees of St Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware, is a Trustee Emeritus of Maine Public Broadcasting Network and has been named Leitrim Person of the Tear and Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellows in recognition of his community and charitable work.