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Hi everyone! It’s Hayley here on the blog this week with an update on some of our recent activities. The last couple of months here at the University of Chester have been very busy! We welcomed potential future students onto our campuses at our Open Days, and also celebrated with this year’s graduates at our Graduation ceremonies in Chester Cathedral.

And of course, the Alumni and Development Team had a presence at all these events! We love the opportunity to talk to alumni about the benefits of registering with us, and the benefits that come with being a member of our alumni community.

Events kicked off in October with our Open Days at the Chester and Warrington Campuses for prospective students. We had a stall in the Sports Hall at the Parkgate Road Campus, ready to share our graduates’ stories via our case studies and give brief historic overviews of the institute.

Alumnus, Norman Dunsby (1993), attended one of our Open Days with his daughter, who is intending to study here at Chester next academic year. They were both very impressed with the campus, so much so, that Norman put pen to paper – or should I say, fingers to keyboard! – and put together his thoughts for the blog…

“What a wonderful day I had re-visiting my former University’s Open Day on the Parkgate Campus with my daughter. Many positive and exciting changes have been made to the campus environment and to academic life at the University. Lots of new buildings have sprouted to increase the University’s course provision, including more accommodation, which has recently been built to house more students on Campus.

“During the Campus Tour, there were many opportunities for prospective students which were highlighted and very much endorsed by the current Student Ambassadors. The Students’ Union reps were also great and told students what good work they do.

“Staff oozed passion about their subject matter and were focused on making the students feel very much at home and part of the university experience. I attended two taster lectures which were both interesting and very thought provoking. Staff were very honest, open and transparent in response to questions about the courses, their content and the commitment required to studying your chosen subject(s).

“Our thanks goes to all those dedicated staff, teaching professionals and Student Ambassadors who have put so much work in to making Open Day a great success – it was a worthwhile visit to the University Campus!”

Soon after our Open Days, Graduation was upon us! You might have spotted the Alumni and Development Team at Northgate Arena during graduation, helping our graduands find out how to sign up to our alumni network and making them aware of the benefits of being an active member of our global community.

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We are also always delighted to welcome back alumni who usher at the Graduation ceremonies. This year we were joined by one of our newest UCAA members, Jenny Grummert (1983). Jenny is currently studying for an MRes in History at the University and shared the following with us…

“When I last graduated from Chester, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and Irene Cara was encouraging us all to ‘take your passion and make it happen!’ That was 1983, and it was a Graduation of individual significance but with little importance to place as it was held in a city far away – OK, it was Liverpool! But it wasn’t our beloved Chester.

“Fast forward over three decades and I found myself standing, chilled but excited, at the vast West Door of Chester Cathedral, welcoming family and guests to Chester’s latest graduating class. The city outside buzzes with excited student voices – many of whom are so excited that they hadn’t even noticed they were at the wrong entrance. Those of us who volunteer at the West Door find ourselves a dubious fount of knowledge: calming anxious families who fear they won’t be able to see; lost ticket finders; directing graduands to the correct entrance (and even to the gowning room at the Northgate Arena on occasion); searching for seats; impromptu photographers; car park advisors; weather forecasters; restaurant and pub recommenders; GPS confirmers and even flight and ferry confirmers! Smartphones are wonderful things pre-Graduation. The red robes we wear seem to bestow upon us an air of knowing all – they are Cathedral choir robes, but they obviously have mystical qualities… We know little on the first day. By the eleventh ceremony of the week, we are comfortable in our role of Graduation and Cathedral guides – we may not know everything, but we can always find someone who does!

“It is a day of excitement, pomp and circumstance, laughter, joy, anxiety, thermal clothing and confirms Chester’s community spirit. The relationship between the 2

Cathedral, the city itself and the University is only made closer, somehow more considerate. As usual, Bill the Cathedral volunteer coordinator is integral to all the proceedings. This year we got to know city planners and councillors, who came to see the human impact of the ceremonies on the city. I have been a participant and a guest at many Graduation ceremonies, at different universities, in different countries, but the sound of trumpets reverberating around the Hogwartian Cathedral when awash with academic gowns, and energised by family and graduand excitement, is unsurpassable. I hope to volunteer at many more Graduation ceremonies – unless I’m the one sitting in the Nave, anxiously waiting to hear my name called to the podium. But even then, I’ll be looking over my shoulder at the West Door, anticipating the moment when it is thrown open and Chester’s latest ambassadors surge out into the world.”

So there you have it – a very busy couple of months at the University of Chester! If you would like to get involved with some of our activities, such as ushering at graduation or becoming one of our alumni case studies, get in touch! You can email us at alumni@chester.ac.uk or drop us a message on social media.

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alumni update Alumni events DARO staff Graduation Open Day