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    Posted 23 September 2002

    ALMOST 500 Undergraduate and Postgraduate students formally completed their studies at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, as they celebrated their Graduation last week.

    A total of 491 students graduated during the ceremony held at Harper Adams' campus near Newport on Friday, September 20, 2002. Friends and family, staff and well wishers looked on as they collected their degrees and diplomas from the Guest of Honour, Mr Digby Jones, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

    In addition, 25 individual trophies, prizes and awards were presented to the winning students during a special ceremony earlier in the day.

    Libby Purves OBE, an author, columnist in The Times and presenter for BBC Radio 4, also attended the ceremony, to present certificates to graduates of the University Access Course after their detective work reunited her with a bicycle, lost since her University days.

    The University Access Course is a one-year alternative to 'A' Levels that prepares students for Higher Education. An impressive 32 students will progress to either degree or HND study, after graduating from the course this year.

    Speaking about her own education, including an academic degree, vocational training with the BBC and latterly, practical experience working on her husband's organic farm, Libby Purves said she was glad to be associated with 'this most excellent course' and urged the students to keep on learning.

    She said: "All education meshes together and that's what makes a whole person and a more capable person."

    The mood of the day was very much one of optimism for the Graduates' future and Professor Wynne Jones, Principal of Harper Adams University College, highlighted this in his address.

    He said: "May I emphasis the importance for you graduating today that opportunities open up very often when a sector is not at its best. Do be alert to those opportunities and let us hope that all those already in those industries give you the opportunity of being heard and developing and bringing forward your own solutions to take us forward.

    "We need fresh blood, creative and innovative ideas and energetic people with the drive to take us forward."

    As Guest of Honour, Mr Digby Jones was also invited to present the graduation address and echoed the sentiment of optimism, while adding a note of caution.

    He said: "It's an important time for everybody, for all 55 million of us here in Britain. We are the fourth biggest economy on Earth and we are the greatest trading nation on the planet. No one trades around the world like the British."

    But he added: "Complacency is a dreadful disease. If we are complacent about our prominent position then we will lose it. We have the highest growth and the lowest inflation but what we now have to do is jealously guard it."

    Mr Jones called on both European and domestic governments to reduce bureaucracy, red tape and regulation to help level the playing field. He said: "Most of you are graduating into a sector that is one of the most highly regulated in our economy.

    "We need regulations and laws to protect us and ensure fairness but we need them to be more cleverly imposed and fairly implemented across the single market."

    Focusing on rural concerns, Mr Jones added: "The rural aspects of our economy are going through challenges right now and it concerns me that a lot of government does not understand the problems. There really are some serious issues that all need addressing."


    Notes to Editors:

    „h Photographs from the event will be available in due course and will be distributed with appropriate press releases. If you require an image for general use, please contact Press & Publications Officer Nick Barnes on +44 (0) 1952 815 371 or E-mail:

    „h Please find a copy of the speech delivered by Harper Adams' Principal Professor Wynne Jones attached. Unfortunately, formal copies of the other speeches were not made available.

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