Hundreds of teaching alumni recognised with honorary degrees

Published: 1/07/2019

More than 700 teaching alumni returned to York St John last week when the University awarded honorary degrees to students of Ripon College and York St John who were awarded a Certificate of Education before 1980.

Teaching alumni at Cert Ed Honorary Degree ceremonies

Six ceremonies were held on campus over three days on 25, 26 and 27 June. The Honorary Degree of Bachelor of Education (Bed Hon) was awarded in celebration of the University’s 178-year heritage as an educational institution and in recognition of the academic rigor demanded by the Certificate of Education of the hundreds of teachers who have gone on to inspire generations of young minds.

Speaking at the ceremonies, Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of York St John University said, “York St John and the colleges that preceded us have trained thousands of teachers over nearly 180 years, teachers who have gone on to inspire countless children and have contributed an invaluable amount to this country. Awarding some of those teachers with an honorary degree is a fitting tribute to all their hard work.”

Alumni who attended included sisters Molly Major, Shirley Bennett and Pam Rowe (nee Edson) who all studied at Ripon College and graduated in the 1950’s; a selection of former York and Ripon students from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA; and Barbara Vincent and Jennifer Webb, two of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, the first seven women admitted to study at York St John in 1962 alongside the 450 men.

Dick Bate, leading FA coach and football educator, was awarded a posthumous honorary fellowship on Wednesday 26 June in recognition of his outstanding contribution to coach education in football. He dedicated his life to football and sadly passed away in April 2018. Dick was an exemplary member of the 1965-1968 PE cohort and a member of the 1960’s cup-final winning university team.

Children from partner schools across the city took part, with choirs from Knavesmire, Park Grove, Wigginton, Yearsley Grove and Scarcroft primary schools performing at each ceremony. A number of special guests also attended. These included: Gail Brown (Ebor Academy Trust Executive Headteacher, Alumna of York St John); Norma Machell (former Scarcroft School Deputy Headteacher, Teacher of the Year in a Primary School 1999, Alumna of York St John) and Honorary Fellows of the University, Sylvia Shepherd and Jack Linley.

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