Fiasco mars graduation day for Karen

GRADUATION should have been the proudest day in the life of Karen Bruce.The ceremony at Suffolk College for the newly qualified nurse was the culmination of three years of hard work both in the classroom and on the wards at Ipswich Hospital.

GRADUATION should have been the proudest day in the life of Karen Bruce.

The ceremony at Suffolk College for the newly qualified nurse was the culmination of three years of hard work both in the classroom and on the wards at Ipswich Hospital.

But when she stepped up to collect her Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing, in front of her parents, aunt and

husband Nigel, 34, who had all taken a day off work to share in her success, she was sorely disappointed.

The envelope, which should have contained her prized

certificate was empty.

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For Karen, 25, it was the final heartbreak in a long line of catastrophes.

Despite having booked

tickets for the day last week, when she arrived, she

discovered she had not been allocated a seat.

After some confusion she was told she would have to sit right at the back, among the parents and friends of other students – not even with her own family. Eventually, she persuaded the organisers to allow her to sit on the end of a row with her classmates.

Then, leafing through the awards certificate programme, she was staggered to find that her name had once again been left off.

Next came the indignity of being handed an empty

envelope when all her friends were awarded certificates.

The final insult was to see that her name failed to appear on the graduating sweatshirt for the class of 2002.

"The whole day was a

complete farce," said Karen, who works as a paediatric nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

"It was as if I didn't exist. There was no recognition of everything I'd done. It was a really big achievement for me and I had really been looking forward to graduation but it was completely spoilt.

"I was in tears practically the whole day."

Karen's dad Andrew, who lives in Kesgrave and is a maintenance supervisor at St Elizabeth Hospice on Foxhall Road, said: "It is appalling that our daughter's graduation should have been ruined by incompetence. This day cannot be repeated or replaced."

Cath Hamilton, deputy academic registrar at Suffolk College, said it was not

unusual for certificates to arrive after graduation and that Karen had been given an envelope so she would not stand out from other students. She added that copies of the programme with Karen's name in have now been reprinted and that T-shirts could also be printed if she so wished. The certificate, she said, was

available the following day.

She added: "We have apologised to Karen both on the day and afterwards. We are also upset that this should have occurred. We did everything we could on the day to minimise her distress and to ensure that she was treated like all the other students."

She added that over the three days of celebrations more than 1,100 students graduated at seven

ceremonies attended by approximately 4,000 guests.

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