Thousands of students welcomed back to Derby to graduate

27 October 2021

7,000 students are set to graduate from the University of Derby in the coming weeks - its first in-person graduation ceremonies to be held since the pandemic started.

The graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 and 2021 will take place across 19 ceremonies between Wednesday 10 November and Thursday 18 November at Derby Arena.

As well as students celebrating their successes, each year, notable people with a strong connection to the University or to the city, are chosen to receive an honorary degree at these annual awards ceremonies.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Arlo White, sports presenter and broadcaster (Honorary Doctor of the University) 
  • Craig Guildford, Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police (Honorary Doctor of the University)
  • Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health for Derby City Council (Honorary Doctor of the University) 
  • Gavin Boyle MBA, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (Honorary Doctor of the University) 
  • Jim Campbell OBE, forensic scientist (Honorary Doctor of the University) 
  • Ken Cooper, Managing Director of Venture Capital Solutions at the British Business Bank (Honorary Doctor of the University) 
  • Professor Robert Pendlebury (Honorary Doctor of the University) 

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: "We are delighted to be hosting our first in-person graduation ceremonies since before the first government restrictions were implemented in March 2020.

“Graduation is a time to celebrate the hard work, commitment and successes of our students and we are so proud of everyone who is going to be graduating, particularly given the challenges they have faced while studying throughout the pandemic. We cannot wait to welcome them back and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

“We will also be celebrating the achievements of our new honorands and recognising the positive impact they and their work has had on the region and beyond. Our honorands provide inspiration for the thousands of our graduating students who are about to embark on their careers or further academic study. Congratulations to all.”

To mark the beginning of the award ceremonies, a special service will take place at Derby Cathedral on Monday 8 November at 6pm. The service will include participation from students and staff of the University of Derby, with representation from various faith traditions. 

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at or call 01332 591891.