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Graduation 2022 - 07/03/22

Thank you for your email and for your feedback expressing your concerns at plans for Graduation 2022.

We recognise that the last two years have been incredibly difficult and challenging for all our students. We appreciate the disruption that COVID-19 has had on their student experience and everyday life.

We know that Graduation is the highlight of our students’ academic journey with us. It’s the celebration of their efforts and a chance to come together with friends, family, and academic staff to mark and celebrate your achievements.

We made a promise to all our graduates that, as soon as it was safe to do so, we would deliver an in-person Graduation event that would recognise all those years impacted. As I am sure you can appreciate, this presents a huge logistical challenge. We are different in terms of size and scale to many other universities, and we have been planning this event around constant changes in Wales’s COVID-19 restrictions and continued levels of uncertainty.

Our previous venue was not big enough nor suitable, and we explored all available options on campus and around the city. It’s for this reason that we took the decision to host three years of Graduation ceremonies in the Principality Stadium. We consulted with students on the venue and the feedback was universally positive. It allows more friends and family to attend which has been restricted by our previous venue. It also allows some flexibility if COVID-19 restrictions were to return to Wales.

We have been open and transparent that there will be changes to the format of our ceremonies. The format and timings were also discussed with student representatives throughout the planning process. The sheer size and scale of numbers means that it would be difficult to keep some elements of our traditional ceremonies, particularly reading out names and crossing the stage at the ceremony itself. It takes at least one hour to read around 350 names; but each Cardiff ceremony will host thousands of graduates. We are however actively looking for ways to incorporate a personal element for each graduate over the course of the day, to ensure there is time for personal recognition and celebration. We can assure you this decision was not taken lightly, and we are extremely conscious of the need for personal and individual recognition.

That notwithstanding, it is important to stress that we are still finalising the format of the event. Your feedback will help inform this. There is a large amount of work that is still going on to prepare for Graduation and I am grateful to the many members of staff who are working incredibly hard to make this event happen. I am keen to ensure that all our students’ hard work and efforts are recognised.

I can assure you that Cardiff’s Graduation events will be bigger and better than ever before and will include individual photograph opportunities in the Stadium, live music and entertainment. There will also be individual School-level celebration events around Cathays Park prior to the formal event at the Principality Stadium which will be an opportunity for students to celebrate with university academics and fellow-graduates. Again, your feedback will help shape those events, and we’ll look to release more details shortly.

We will be writing again to all students to formally invite them to their ceremonies. Further details on the exact plans for the day will be outlined. As I’ve said, we will be reflecting on your feedback and I am grateful to you for sharing your concerns and views with us.

I do hope I can look forward to welcoming you to your in-person Graduation celebration.

Best wishes,

Claire Morgan 

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Student Experience