In a festive and intensively emotional atmosphere, more than 800 graduates of Metropolitan College in Athens and Thessaloniki threw their hats off to celebrate the successful completion of their studies in three Graduation Ceremonies that took place at the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls respectively.
During the ceremonies the graduates received their degrees by four reputable partner British Universities: University of East London, Solent University in Southampton, Queen Margaret University and University of Portsmouth, in the presence of 5.500 distinguished guests and graduates’ family members.
The President of Metropolitan College, Mr Konstantinos Rodopoulos, opened the glamorous ceremonies in Athens and Thessaloniki, warmly congratulating the graduates on their success. During his speech, he mentioned: “This day is dedicated to our graduates and their families who trusted Metropolitan College to reach the required scientific background and become acclaimed professionals and responsible citizens. This day is the first step and the beginning of the route towards your personal and professional development and recognition”.
Mrs Kate Smith, British Ambassador in Greece, was the keynote speaker at the evening Graduate Ceremony that was held in the packed hall “Christos Lambrakis” at the Athens Concert Hall. She started her inspirational speech expressing her surprise for Metropolitan College’s development that created the need to organize two Graduation Ceremonies throughout the same day. Addressing to the graduates, she mentioned: “This day is an opportunity to celebrate your achievements and the completion of your studies. I know the courses you completed are demanding, rigorous and internationally recognized. Metropolitan College is a centre of excellence and the statistics and results and the reputation bear that out clearly. The variety of the studies available at the College, in a collaboration with five British Universities with strong and growing reputation is really remarkable and I know that is based on an unshakeable commitment to the transformative power of education. The educational and business model, in which Metropolitan College has been a leader, provides a wonderful and life-changing alternative. British transnational education presents an enormous opportunity for a collaboration to grow even further. It’s a top priority for British Embassy to promote this model”.
The guest speaker in the morning Graduation Ceremony in Athens was Mr Giannis Retsos, President of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE). During his speech he inspired the audience with the following words: “Stay open to new ideas, thoughts and reflections. Support the difference, the research, the innovation. We want you to be the next successful generation and stand out for your attitude, your skills. Your mind should always focus on the future. Today you receive a passport for a trip full of expectations. Thanks to your studies at Metropolitan College, you now have the expertise on many aspects of the modern world”.
In the Graduation Ceremony that took place at Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the keynote speaker was Mr. Anastasios Tzikas, President of Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre HELEXPO. During his speech, addressing to Metropolitan College’s graduates, he mentioned: “We rely on you to change this country and place it where it deserves to be… among Europe’s top practices on ethics, sustainable development and solidarity. And, yes, you can! I am here today to convince you that Greece has the potential to be ‘Europe’s California’ in the forthcoming years, and you, taking advantage of your powerful knowledge and your persistence, could be the pioneers”.
The honored guest in Thessaloniki Graduation Ceremony was Prof. Dr. Ir. Vladimir Pletser, academic, writer and candidate astronaut. The Belgian World Record holder for his participation in 14 different airbus types designed for parabolic flights, mentioned during his overwhelming speech: “Always seek new opportunities and don’t persist in decisions you have made in the past years for your professional life”.
The three Graduation Ceremonies in Athens and Thessaloniki were also attended by senior academic staff from the partner British Universities. University of East London was represented by Professor Hassan Abdalla, Deputy Vice Chancellor, as well as Dr. Carrie Emma Weston, Associate Dean and Director of Learning and Teaching in the Cass School of Education and Communities. Queen Margaret University was represented by Dr. Richard Butt, Vice Principal and Prof. Fiona Coutts, Dean of School, Health Sciences & convener of the Council of Deans of Health Scotland. Respectively, Captain Syamantak Bhattacharya, Dean of Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering represented Solent University. The all congratulated Metropolitan College’s graduates and welcomed them in the Universities’ International Alumni Network.
A worth-mentioning moment during the Graduation Ceremonies was the celebration of Metropolitan College’s 10 years anniversary in Physiotherapy studies. Back in 2009, Metropolitan College offered for the first time in Greece the undergraduate programme of studies in Physiotherapy, in collaboration with the distinguished Queen Margaret University of Edinburgh. Throughout the years, the programme was curated by top academics and researchers, invested in specialized Physiotherapy laboratories of the College with state-of-the-art equipment and developed a wide network of cooperating clinical settings, recognized in Greece and abroad, providing a high quality learning environment to its students. The anniversary was attended by former academics, graduates who are now recognized professionals in Physiotherapy in Greece and abroad, as well as current faculty members who received an honorary prize for their contribution to the programme.
During the evening Athens ceremony, Metropolitan College’s social and humanitarian work in collaboration with the Non Profit Organization Solidarity Now was highlighted. Solidarity Now is a network of people and organizations whose goal is to assist and support those most affected by the economic and humanitarian crises. In the context of this collaboration, students from Arizona State University attended a two-weeks educational programme in refugee centers, designed by Metropolitan College. Mrs Antigone Lymperaki, General Manager of Solidarity Now, attended the ceremony and during her speech, she mentioned: “The main target of education is to discover what happens in the world outside of us and inside us, and how these two worlds connect and interact. Furthermore, education aims to find the best way to make these worlds a better place.
Our collaboration with Metropolitan College approaches all the aspects of the educational procedure”.
A remarkably exciting moment of the Athens ceremony was when all attendees warmly welcomed numerous award-winning Metropolitan College students who stood out this year with their social and humanitarian work, their great athletic distinctions, but also their academic and scientific achievements in the subject of their studies.
Furthermore, according to Metropolitan College’s tradition, the graduates with the highest overall grade received awards with the courtesy of TAG Heuer, the Swiss world-leading luxury watch manufacturing company. This year, three graduates with distinction received the “TAG Heuer Excellence Awards by Metropolitan College”.
Both ceremonies came to an end with the presentation of the annual Metropolitan College faculty members awards. More specifically, this year the awards were:
► “ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE” award in recognition of athletic achievements combined with remarkable academic work
► “ACADEMIC ETHOS & INTEGRITY” award for ethos and consistency demonstrated during the teaching career, as well as,
► “ACADEMIC RECOGNITION AND EXCELLENCE” award for academics who stand out for their long-running and substantial academic work.