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Anthony Ogogo awarded honorary fellowship and gives inspirational speech at University of Suffolk graduation ceremony

PUBLISHED: 20:49 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 20:49 20 October 2016

Graduating students (no photo caption issued). Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.

Graduating students (no photo caption issued). Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.

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The University of Suffolk celebrated the work of its final three honorary graduates at its ceremonies on Thursday.

Anthony Ogogo celebrates beating Gary Cooper in their Middleweight contest at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.Anthony Ogogo celebrates beating Gary Cooper in their Middleweight contest at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Lowestoft boxer Anthony Ogogo was recognised with an honorary fellowship. The London 2012 bronze medallist was unable to make the event as he prepares for a fight against Craig Cunningham for the vacant WBC International Middleweight title in Birmingham on Saturday, which would be his first professional title.

But in a video message, he said: “Congratulations everyone gradating today, I’m sorry I can’t be there. I really am gutted; I have been looking forward to it for weeks and weeks. Hopefully I will get all your luck and support come Saturday night.

“So over to you, massive congratulations. You are now going into the big wide world. If I’ve got any advice it is to have a dream, have a goal and work towards it no matter what. I have had quite a few setbacks in my career and been told that I should pack up and do something else with my life.

“I’ve got a dream of becoming world middleweight champion and I work hard every single day to one day make that a reality.

Neil Watts. Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.Neil Watts. Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.

“Be bullish, when people say you can’t do something use it as fuel to do it, want it even more and that’s what I have done. I have been very lucky in my life; I’m being honoured with this award today which I really, really appreciate.

“You guys will face some hurdles in your life, overcome them and come back stronger and more successful. Congratulations.”

A total of 1,342 students were conferred at ceremonies this week. It was the last full student cohort of the former University Campus Suffolk.

The university became a fully-fledged, independent higher education institution in August this year.

The final day of University of Suffolk's graduation ceremonies have taken place at Ipswich Town Hall. Ruth May pictured. Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.The final day of University of Suffolk's graduation ceremonies have taken place at Ipswich Town Hall. Ruth May pictured. Pic: James Fletcher/University of Suffolk.

The university was set up as University Campus Suffolk in 2007 under a partnership between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Essex.

And in May this year, following a three-year scrutinised application, it received approval to become an independent university and gained permission from the Privy Council to change its name. That became official on August 1.

The university’s vice chancellor Richard Lister had previously told this newspaper how the change in status will provide a £30 million annual boost to the local economy as the university aims to almost double its cohort of students over the next five years from 4,5000 to around 7,000.

Next autumn will see the conferral of the first degrees awarded by the University of Suffolk.

Meanwhile, former Sudbury Upper School and Northgate High School headteacher Neil Watts was recognised for his work in education, as well as roles with regulatory bodies such as Ofqual, the Architects Registration Board, the Press Complaints Commission and the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Mr Watts, 64, said: “I came to Suffolk to start a new sixth form in 1981 in Stowupland and I thought [Suffolk] had everything, but lacked its own university.

“(But) we have all moved towards getting our own University of Suffolk, so I feel very privileged to pick up my award.”

Mr Watts joined graduates from health and nursing courses, including pupils he has previously taught.

Executive director of nursing and NHS Improvement board member Dr Ruth May was honoured with an honorary doctorate for her work in NHS leadership roles, including chief executive positions at two hospitals, and a primary care trust, joining nursing graduates for the occasion.

She said: “I’m very excited and privileged to accept this on behalf of the nursing profession.

“I would say to those graduating today be proud, work as a team and go for it. I’m only as good as the nurses out there and it is a wonderful profession to be in. It’s tough right now but equally these students, they are our future.”

Honorary Awards recognise notable contributions to the educational or cultural well-being of society.

This can be in business, industry, commerce or enterprise, for academic distinction, for public or community service or an exceptional involvement in the university.

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