Celebrating Leicester’s Citizens of Change on National Graduates Day

The University of Leicester is marking National Graduates Day to celebrate the resilience and achievements of graduates from the class of 2020

180 students from the University’s School of Medicine graduated early this year to join the NHS as part of a national effort against the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the start of July around 5,000 students attended online celebration ceremonies to commemorate their achievements and their next steps into a different world to which they started.

Although the working world may seem a very different place today, Leicester graduates are in great demand. Plans are already in place for students joining the University in September to create a safe campus space, whilst delivering a dynamic, immersive and safe learning experience through ignite, a new dual learning platform.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “The Class of 2020 will be remembered for graduating into a world that is drastically different to the one they began their University education in – they have a unique opportunity to shape their future as leaders and Citizens of Change.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen countless examples of our students going above and beyond to serve their communities and use the lockdown as an opportunity for growth and strength – from our medical graduates joining the NHS front line, to those students volunteering locally to help vulnerable people.

“Today we recognise the difficulties they have faced and their fortitude to make a positive impact in a world that has been changed by COVID-19. I am immensely proud of the example they have set and look forward to welcoming our new students in September.”

Daniel Slavin, 28, from Leicester, graduated early from the University of Leicester’s Medical School this year. He is an Interim Foundation Year One Doctor at University Hospitals Leicester. Speaking about his experience at the University of Leicester, he said: "I wanted to go to Med School for a long time and the fact that I can now become a doctor was enough for me. In the context of the current crisis it has been quite difficult to sit at home and think that I could be taking blood and be of some use, so it has been a nice feeling that if hospitals need a doctor, I am here and ready to go.

“Graduating from medical school via Zoom was a unique experience, but one I was proud to be involved in. The delay in getting to wear the cap and gown for real just means we have an excuse for a big reunion next year."

Figures from Universities UK (UUK) show 85 per cent of graduates in high skilled jobs reported that their qualification gave them an advantage when securing their employment.

National Graduates Day is an initiative launched by UUK as part of its #WeAreTogether campaign, which was launched in April this year to showcase how the higher education sector is working together in the fight against COVID-19.