Posted 1 October 2003ALMOST 500 STUDENTS GRADUATED from Harper Adams University College last month in a ceremony held at the Shropshire campus. A further 30 individual prizes were also awarded.
Guest of Honour Sir Don Curry, Chair of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food and author of the Curry Report: ‘Farming and Food – a sustainable future’ told graduates they had a bright future ahead of them.
“I am convinced that if the industry is willing to acknowledge the need for change and participate in a programme of change then there can be a very bright future for the farming and food industry. Furthermore, the industry still plays a vital role in Britain’s economic growth.
“In the 21st Century, the farm can become the platform for rural enterprise. I envisage the farm as a multi-functional business operating at the very heart of the rural economy – the engine of innovative and dynamic economic growth in the countryside, which disseminates best practice, stimulates other enterprise and encourages economic growth throughout the rural community.
“Our rural areas don’t have to become economically stagnant backwaters, devoid of industry and employment, crippled by a lack of basic services and poor public transport. Rather they can offer a wonderful alternative to young people as a place to live, proffering a quality of life unrivalled by many of the towns and cities to which they feel compelled to move in search of work.
“There can be, and I believe there will be, a much brighter future for the British farming and food industry. It will be different from what my generation has experienced but it can still play a vital role in this country and in economic growth.
“Your energy, your enthusiasm and your innovation are needed to help us create a vibrant, successful and robust rural economy. Together we can re-invigorate rural communities so that they become places where young people want to live and work because they see real career and commercial opportunities.
“I therefore believe that now is not a time for young people to be disconsolate about embarking on a career in the countryside. Rather, it is a hugely exciting time to do so – as the [Sustainable Farming and Food] Strategy progresses and more milestones are reached, new opportunities will arise for industry and young people wishing to enter it.
A total of 492 students graduated during the ceremony, which took place on Friday, September 19, 2003. Individual prizes including the Lloyds TSB Bank Best Student Award, the JCB Limited Group Prize, the British Sugar Co-Products Award and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Prize were awarded at a special luncheon prior to the main ceremony.
Professor Wynne Jones, Principal of Harper Adams, thanked the graduating students for contributing to the success of the University College.
He said: “It is thanks to your efforts and the partnership you engender with us as a staff which ensures this excellent feeling of community, friendship and motivation, which permeates the college and instils this genuine sense of pride of being a student at Harper Adams and from now on as ex-students.”
Notes to Editors: Full transcripts of the speeches delivered on Graduation Day by Sir Don Curry and by Professor Wynne Jones are available on request. A selection of suitable images is also available in electronic (.jpg) format. To obtain either of the above, please contact the Press & Publications Officer Nick Barnes on E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org