Lews Castle College and UHI are central to the economic future of the Western Isles . This was the message delivered to graduates, staff and families at last week’s Lews Castle College Graduation in Stornoway.
The ceremony was addressed by Lews Castle College UHI Principal Iain Macmillan, UHI Vice Chancellor & Principal Professor Clive Mulholland and Keynote speaker Jane Maciver – Chief Executive of the Stornoway Port Authority .
Around 200 people attended the ceremony some of whom travelled from as far as China to attend.
In the last session Lews Castle College has further broadened its base with people from more than 10 countries joining the college to study, teach and carry out research with recruitment to full time courses now in excess of 500.
In her keynote address Jane Maciver emphasised the importance of people working together and the way that Lews Castle College UHI has become pivotal to broadening opportunity in the islands and supporting economic development.
She went on to describe how important it was for educational institutions to reduce barriers to success and reduce social exclusion .
“Lews Castle College is a classic example of how through working together and broadening opportunity we can all move forward in a way which benefits the whole community,” said Ms Maciver.
“In many ways the work of the students and staff are an example of the way forward for our community.
“As can be seen from those of you here today - the college involves a huge spread of people from different backgrounds who have benefitted from studying here in the Isles.
“We can all see - from looking around the islands - the benefits we can achieve through working together and how assets like the college, the new marina and the Bridge Centre can bring to our economy .
“Lews Castle College UHI is central to these and other economic developments,” she added.
College Principal Iain Macmillan added that each Graduation provides the opportunity for the community to see how far Lews Castle College has come.
“ Not only do we provide local students with the opportunity to study from home - we now attract people from across the world.
“Our students take part in national University sports competitions , our researchers work with colleagues across the world and our graduates are hired by world class organisations .
“Our staff and students have a lot to be proud off and looking forward we are determined to fulfil our vision of widening opportunity and supporting economic development in these islands,” said Principal Macmillan .
University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice Chancellor Clive Mulholland added: “As Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, I would like to congratulate all of our new graduates, not only those of the University of the Highlands and Islands, but also those of the colleges and research institutions which form our partnership.
“This is an important time in your lives where exciting new opportunities in work and education lie ahead.
“In the last year, I have met some of the university’s students when I visited Moray College UHI in Elgin and West Highland College UHI at Portree and Fort William.
“I welcomed the opportunity to speak with many of you about your work and projects, and I look forward to visiting more of the university’s partners in future.
“The university’s educational partnership is founded on our remarkable environment and our rich cultural heritage.
“I hope your study has enabled you to absorb these riches and has perhaps encouraged you to contribute to them yourselves in your future careers.
“I wish you every success in your chosen careers and hope that you will keep in touch with the university and support us in years to come.
“We are proud of our alumni and alumni can rightly be proud of the pioneering educational partnership they have helped to create.”