Congratulations to the Class of 2021

  • Date

    Wed 21 Jul 21

A montage of nine portraits of students who have graduated from the University of Essex this year

University Chancellor the Rt Hon John Bercow has praised the Class of 2021 for their “talent and ability” and “hard work and persistence” as the University’s newest graduates attended online departmental celebrations this week.

His was one of three congratulatory video messages played to students as they celebrated their achievements with their lecturers.

Speaking in the pre-recorded message, Mr Bercow said: “Your inspiration, talent and ability, and your perspiration, hard work and persistence are what have got you here. You should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved.”

Reflecting on his own time as a student at Essex, he added: “Thirty-six years on from graduating I still feel the most enduring gratitude to this place.”

“We, you and I, have inherited a precious gift of a transformative Essex education…it’s a precious gift which we will carry for the rest of our lives,” he added.

He closed his congratulatory message by urging the Class of 2021 to help others, and to “be bold, be brilliant and be brave,” before adding that he wished to see Essex’s newest graduates at planned in-person graduation ceremonies in 2022.

There were also messages from the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster and from Students’ Union President Molly Purcell.

Referencing the Covid-19 pandemic, which has changed student life beyond recognition, Professor Forster said: “Given the challenges that we’ve all faced, that makes your achievements even greater.”

Professor Forster praised the extra-curricular achievements of graduating students and the impact they have made outside the classroom through clubs, societies and volunteering.

He concluded by saying: “Essex is a university that embraces inclusivity and internationalism. As a community, we’re led by these values and we believe in doing the right thing. And right now, in this world, these values have never been more important…The world needs Essex graduates now more than ever.”

Molly Purcell said: “It’s been such a tough year but we’re celebrating together in spirit.”

“You should be so proud and we’re so proud of you. And we’ll continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you on your journey,” she added.

The Class of 2021 join a community of over 100,000 Essex graduates. Studying and graduating during a pandemic has been no easy feat but many graduating students have overcome significant personal challenges, helped others and grasped opportunities along the way. We have been telling some of their stories.