University of Stirling celebrates its 100,000th graduate

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The first ever student to achieve a postgraduate degree at the University of Stirling has returned to campus to congratulate its 100,000th graduate.

Dr Hazel Sommerville – one of only six people who graduated in 1968, a year after the university opened – offered her best wishes to Baijun Lui, who is among more than 1,400 students graduating from the University of Stirling this week.

Baijun graduated with a Masters of Letters in Publishing Studies, after moving to Stirling from Shanghai in February 2021.

She said: “I feel excited and very fortunate to have been named the 100,000th graduate. I studied copyright trading for my undergraduate degree and there are not many universities that offer publishing – I was happy that Stirling does.

“I found the course very informative, covering all aspects of the publishing industry, and my tutors were very supportive. I enjoyed online lessons because, as English isn’t my first language, it meant I could watch tutorials and videos a few times.

“Although we didn’t have as many opportunities for offline practical activities due to COVID, the tutors encouraged us to participate in online book fair events and keep up with industry developments.”

Reflecting on her time in Stirling, the self-confessed Scotch whisky lover added: “The campus of the University of Stirling is absolutely beautiful. The natural surroundings can be very inspiring for your studies. I can’t imagine being tired of studying in the library when you’re looking out of the window at the beautiful loch – you instantly relax.”

Baijun is now living in Edinburgh and looking for a job in publishing: “Eventually I’d like to work in international contract trading, and even have my own publishing house one day.”

Lord Robbins conferring the university’s first master’s degree to Hazel Sommerville at the inaugural graduation ceremony, Pathfoot Dining Hall, December 1968 (Credit: University of Stirling)

Dr Sommerville was one of just six Class of ’68 graduates, having completed an MSc Mathematical Psychology. She joined fellow alumni Alastair Gentleman, Sue Roberts, Lorn MacIntyre and Mary MacIntyre – who were also among some of the first to graduate from the university – to celebrate its 100,000th graduate. 

Dr Sommerville said: “I was delighted to meet Baijun and I wish her all the best for the future. To all the 2021 graduates I would say ‘Carpe diem: Grasp opportunities as they come along and don’t shy away from challenges.’”

Thinking back to her own experience at the University of Stirling, she said: “There were only four of us on my course, and just over 200 altogether on campus – staff and students – so everyone socialised together.

“The 1968 graduation ceremony was held in Pathfoot Coffee Lounge; it was very special and intimate with excellent food and wine. There was all the pomp and circumstance of graduation but with only six graduates!”

Today, the University of Stirling has a diverse population of more than 14,000 students, with 120 nationalities represented on campus and degree course partnerships in Oman, Singapore, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Featured Image Credit: University of Stirling

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Fourth year Journalism Studies at the University of Stirling

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