SUCCESSFUL England cricket captain and renowned Sky Sports commentator, Nasser Hussain, handed out degree awards at South Essex College’s graduation ceremony.
The annual event for the College’s higher education branch, University Centre Southend and Thurrock, took place at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend yesterday evening (18 October.)
Hosted by Alan Pease, Assistant Principal of the College, 285 awards were handed out to students including a total of 31 first class honours degrees.
Angela O’Donoghue CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the College gave the opening speech. Angela said: “This evening is an opportunity for us to celebrate and recognise the success of our students. Many of our degree students are already working in their chosen industry and have achieved great things while studying at the College.”
Special guest Nasser began his career at Essex County Cricket Club, he went on to become one of the most respected captains in world cricket. He was instrumental in the revival of English cricket becoming the first England captain since Mike Brearley to win four test series on the trot.
Nasser gave a very inspiring speech to all the graduates and guests. He said: “If I could give you one bit of advice it would be to make sure you enjoy what you have achieved, enjoy every single step of your journey.
“This degree scroll signifies a journey, in the same way the England cricket cap I handed to Jimmy Anderson and other players did, it signifies everything you’ve done so far – the sacrifices you’ve made. You took the difficult option and this is your reward.
“However, your award is only half the story, don’t let it go to waste and make sure you continue your journey. Keep trying to be the best you can be!”
Student graduated in a variety of subjects including Early Years Education, Music Production, Sport Studies and Fine Art.
Mike O’Shea had more struggles to overcome than a typical student when he was diagnosed with cancer during his degree.
Mike, 25, from Southend found out he had a brain tumour during his first year. After surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Mike was able to return to his studies with passion and determination and he now graduates with a degree in Criminology and Forensic Investigation.
Mike said: “I have been informed by the doctors that my cancer is incurable but I have currently been in remission for three years and I have proved to myself that I can still achieve my goals, I hope this will encourage others to do so.
“I want people to know that being ill does not stop you from achieving your dreams, if you still want to learn you can!”
For more information about the higher education courses on offer at South Essex College, visit www.southessex.ac.uk/higher-education