Telford graduands acknowledged at ceremony

Telford students and staff were treated to fine weather as they paraded proudly down the main street of Balclutha yesterday.

For Lauren Wilson (20), of Dunedin, who graduated with distinction in Telford certificates of agriculture and farm management, graduation day was extra special - taking home five awards and one scholarship.

"I wasn't expecting any of them. It's pretty awesome."

Miss Wilson planned to return to Telford next year to study for the diploma of rural business.

At the ceremony, Lincoln University vice-chancellor Dr Andrew West said graduation was a rite of passage.

"I hope you remain working with the land or around it," Dr West said.

Lincoln was committed to Balclutha, and planned to invest in its Telford campus, he said.

Connecting Telford to broadband, expanding distance learning, and expanding the university's relationship with the Telford farm board are among changes mooted by the tertiary provider.

Lincoln hoped to investigate the opportunity of creating a demonstration farm at Telford - a farm running dairy and beef commercially and seen by farmers as something to learn from, he said.

It also planned to provide distance education in schools through broadband.

"Lincoln is not a university of Canterbury farming systems. We see ourselves playing a bigger part in Otago and Southland."

This year's graduation was the second under the banner of Lincoln University. Telford Rural Polytechnic merged with Lincoln on January 1, 2011, becoming Telford, a division of Lincoln University.

Telford was founded in 1964 as a farm training institute and Lincoln in 1878 as a school of agriculture.

helena.dereus@odt.co.nz