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31st August 2017, 4:23pm
Thousands set to graduate alongside Lincolnshire heroes
Graduation at Lincoln Cathedral Thousands of students will celebrate years of hard work and achievement when they graduate alongside Lincolnshire heroes old and new in the magnificent surroundings of Lincoln Cathedral next week.

The University of Lincoln will hold 11 graduation ceremonies, with around 3,000 students collecting their degree certificates, from Monday 4th – Thursday 7th September 2017.

The ceremonies will celebrate the achievements of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, and will also honour the major contribution made to society by a number of honorary guests.

Among the people receiving honorary awards from the University this year are several acclaimed figures from the county, including Bomber Command veteran George “Johnny” Johnson MBE DFM – the last remaining British survivor of Operation Chastise, the famous World War II “Dam Busters” raid which flew from RAF Scampton in May 1943.

Johnny will be awarded the prestigious award of Honorary Doctor of the University, in recognition and appreciation of his enormous contribution to British society. His illustrious career in the RAF began when he joined up at 19 years of age, and he went on to become a bomb aimer. In World War II, he flew 50 missions from 1942-1944.

Johnny retired from the RAF in 1962, having progressed to the rank of Squadron Leader, and trained to become a teacher. He dedicated his teaching career to supporting people with learning difficulties and later worked at Rampton and Balderton Hospitals, developing pioneering programmes in mental health rehabilitation. Having retired from teaching in 1980, Johnny has since worked enthusiastically on behalf of a number of RAF and local charities.

The University of Lincoln is currently working in partnership with the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust to preserve the heritage of Bomber Command by constructing a digital archive and providing the content and interpretation for a fascinating exhibition which will be housed in the new IBCC visitor centre.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, said: “It is an enormous honour to be joined by Johnny Johnson MBE at our graduation celebrations. I can’t think of anyone more inspiring for our students to graduate alongside.

“We are immensely proud of each and every one of our graduating students and very much look forward to congratulating them and wishing them well as they move on to a host of exciting new careers and academic endeavours. Graduation also gives us a valuable chance to thank those who have supported them along the way – friends, family and lecturers – which makes it a very special occasion.”

Joining Johnny as recipients of honorary awards from the University of Lincoln will be Danny and Nicky Cowley, Manager and Assistant Manager of Lincoln City FC. During the 2016/17 season, the brothers led the side through one of its most successful and memorable years ever – making history as the first non-league team to make the FA Cup quarter-finals in more than 100 years. The pair guided the players and 10,000 fans from Lincoln all the way to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal and make club history. The celebrations continued at the end of the season, with the side’s promotion from the Vanarama National League to the English Football League.

Danny and Nicky Cowley will both receive the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Lincoln, in recognition of their success and contribution to the city of Lincoln.

Danny Cowley said: “Myself and Nicky are very privileged to receive the Chancellor’s Medal. Since we’ve arrived at the Club it’s been a pleasure to work closely with the University of Lincoln’s lecturers and students. We feel that Lincoln City Football Club and the University of Lincoln are both aligned in our core values and principles. We both invest in people and believe whole heartedly in education and personal development. It is crucial for the future of the city that both institutions work closely together to give back to the people of Lincoln and the local community. We look forward to continuing our working relationship for many years to come.”

There will be 11 Honorands in total at this year’s graduation ceremonies, collecting awards alongside students from all four of the University’s academic Colleges.

Among the students graduating this year is Becky Lancashire, who studied BA (Hons) Journalism and landed her dream job with ITV just weeks after finishing her studies. Becky will begin work as a Trainee Production Journalist with ITV Channel Television in September, having completed an internship with Sky Sports News during her time at university.

“The Journalism course was phenomenal – without it, I couldn’t have even dreamed of working for an organisation like ITV,” Becky said. “University taught me a vast range of life skills that are applicable to any job or situation; team work, commitment, planning, organisation, time management, self-confidence – the list goes on.

“My lasting memory of Lincoln is that it’s a stunning city with a great university; it’s a place where my career started, and so did a lot of very special friendships. I just wish I could trade places with current applicants and do it all over again!”

The University of Lincoln’s graduation ceremonies will take place from Monday 4th – Thursday 7th September 2017 at Lincoln Cathedral.

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