Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Week Commencing 8 January 2018


Friday 12 January 2018.


I Attended the Durham University Conferment of Degrees at Durham University Cathedral, Durham.




Senior staff at Durham University gathering before the procession.

It was a pleasure once again to attended the 2018 Durham University Winter Congregation Held at Durham University at 12.00 noon, with the Mayor of Durham, Consort and Senior University Staff.

The ceremony attended was for the Faculty of Science including Biosciences and Engineering and Computing, Faculty of Social Sciences and Health including Business School.


In good company with the Mayor and Consort of Durham.

Similar to the Summer Congregation we proceeded to our seats into the Cathedral, once the Presiding Officer was formally ordained, the congregation were seated then formalities began.

The Cathedral was packed with very proud parents, family and friends to be part of this special occasion. It was great to see so many students who had completed their studies and were undertaking new adventures.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge gave an opening address indicating that they are committed to ensuring the students are well taught, challenged and nurtured during their time at Durham. They are taught directly by some of the world’s leading researchers in their fields, who are at the forefront of developments in the area, and can therefore apply their latest research to their teaching.

Durham is a University of ancient traditions and modern values. It originated in a small medieval city but its reach is now global, with students joining Durham from over 150 countries. Their staff and students reflect the values and ambitions of different cultures from around the world and have many opportunities to learn from each other. Yet as the University has grown and innovated, their departments and colleges have remained close communities in which staff and students can work together and support each other.




Durham Cathedral’s beautiful stained glass windows.


The graduates were presented to the Vice Chancellor of the University to shake hands and to be congratulated for their achievements.

A special award was made to Jonathan Rutter an Honorary Doctor of Letters for his contribution to art work and the Charity trust he established. He is also a fellow of St John’s College.

Jonathan moved into the investment world and purchased Jacob and his twelve Sons a series of paintings by the Spanish master, Francisco de Zurbaran as well as the 900 year old Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, where they have been housed for more than 250 years. Determined to keep the paintings for the people of the North East and beyond, and to give them access to the beautiful castle, Jonathan established The Auckland Castle Trust which recently became to be known as The Auckland Project.

Well done to Jonathan for his award and hope his project sees many visitors.

On completion of the awards and closing ceremony, the Congregation and Staff Procession lead the way out of the Cathedral on to Palace Green, followed by graduates and their guests into the wintery weather to great applause.

Well done to all the students in securing their degrees.

Following the ceremony we were invited to join, senior University staff for lunch in the Birley Room at Hatfield College, where we met up with Professor Stuart Corbrige and thanked him for his words of wisdom during his address and also for making us welcome and creating a splendid afternoon.