DEGREE AWARDS '08: Triple Joy For Hawkins Family At Awards Ceremonies

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 DEGREE AWARDS '08: Triple Joy For Hawkins Family At Awards Ceremonies

Date posted: 17 January 2008

It’s a family affair as three members of the same family are set to graduate at the University of Derby’s Awards Ceremonies this week.

Elaine Hawkins, 45, from Ballacraine Drive, Ripley, and her two daughters Rachel and Paula graduate together on Friday, having successfully completed their studies at the University. Organisers have made it possible for the three to graduate together at the second of three Friday ceremonies, which starts at 12.35pm.

The three are among more than 2,000 students set to graduate during a total of six ceremonies at our Awards Ceremonies, in Derby, at the Assembly Rooms, on Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19. Eight Honorary Awards will also be presented to high-achievers and well-known personalities, including glam rock legend Roy Wood, from the band Wizzard.

After initially arriving at our Kedleston Road site, the city centre will be bursting with excited students wearing pale blue, red and black gowns and mortarboards, celebrating with family and friends and Derby is gripped by graduation celebrations. The ceremonies are also set to be displayed on the BBC Big Screen for the first time.

At the ceremonies, Elaine graduates with a 2:1 BA (Hons) Education Studies degree, and currently works at Bennerley Secondary School, in Bennerley Avenue, Cotmanhay, where she has been for four years.

Her eldest daughter, Rachel, 24, completed her degree in BA (Hons) in Tourism in the summer as well. She works for Derbyshire County Council as a traffic and safety technician in the Environmental Services department. Her final year dissertation was related to tourism in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where she and her partner have been on holiday three times.

And her other daughter Paula, 21, has completed an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Studies, and is now working in the respiratory medical ward at Nottingham City Hospital.

Elaine said: "I am so pleased with what I have achieved and I am so proud of my daughters as well. We will have other members of the family at the ceremonies so it should be a special occasion."

Rachel, who lives with mum but is set to move into a new home in Leabrooks, Ripley, with fiancé David, said: "It’s great that we will be able to graduate at the same ceremony and we appreciate that the University has made this possible.

"The most challenging part of studying all at the same time was that we had to take it in turns to use the computer. One of the benefits was proofreading one another’s work as well as offering encouragement, and we are delighted for each other."

Paula, from Sanders Close, Ilkeston, added: "I am very proud of my mum and sister and what they have achieved. Working on my course at the same time, they were studying was a huge support."

Melanie Bayes, one of the Awards Ceremony organisers within the University’s Student Support and Information Services Department, said: "It is an extremely unusual situation for three members of the same family to be graduating together.

"Rachel was initially going to graduate at Buxton, but asked if they could all be at the same ceremony. It involved some rescheduling but we have made it possible and we hope they all enjoy the day."

One of the Honorary Award Winners, Roy Wood, of the band Wizzard – known to millions across the globe for his musical talent and the 1973 Christmas classic I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day– becomes an Honorary Doctor of Music.

Roy is widely recognised as one of the most significant British musicians of post rock and roll popular music history, contributing to glam rock, rock, progressive rock, and psychedelia.

The other honorary award winners are:

  • Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar
  • John Stobart, one of the world’s pre-eminent maritime artists
  • Derek Latham, founder of Latham Architects
  • Graham Joyce, an international award-winning novelist of "fantastic" fiction
  • Pollyanna Pickering, one of Europe’s foremost wildlife artists
  • Tony Hams OBE, a regional champion of sustainable development
  • Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor (Designate) of the University of Liverpool and former Chief Executive of HEFCE.

VIP guests, including the eight Honorary Award winners, will enjoy refreshments and mix with friends and well-wishers in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Council House, before and after the ceremonies.

Onlookers in the city centre can also enjoy two morning processions to Derby Cathedral for thanksgiving services, led by the Oriele Marching Band (on Friday) and the Heage Brass Band (on Saturday).


This press release was written by Deputy Head of Press and PR Simon Redfern on 01332 591942 or email:

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