'Immensely proud': 1100 UC students prepare for graduation ceremonies this week

Photo: File
Photo: File
Three Canterbury University graduation ceremonies for nearly 1100 students will be held in central Christchurch this week. 

Two ceremonies are due to be held on Wednesday and one on Friday. The events, which will will involve graduands from a range of UC colleges, aim to draw more people into the central city as students slip on their academic regalia and take part in a parade from The Arts Centre to the Christchurch Town Hall before their ceremonies.

Last year a record number of UC students graduated, with almost 3000 taking part in the 2020 ceremonies.

One of this year's graduates says a drive to help troubled young people is behind her decision to study criminal justice at UC.

Alex Wilson, 22, will be one of the first six people to graduate with a Master of Criminal Justice degree from UC at the Christchurch Town Hall on Wednesday.

Wilson initially had plans to apply for police college but said her studies revealed other choices and opportunities.

"I’ve learned so much about youth justice and it’s opened my eyes to what I really want to do.

Alex Wilson will be one of the first six people to graduate with a Master of Criminal Justice...
Alex Wilson will be one of the first six people to graduate with a Master of Criminal Justice degree from Canterbury University. Photo: UC
"It’s really cool to be one of the first group to graduate with an MCJ.

"It’s a small class so we’ve become close and we’re looking forward to celebrating our graduation together."

The post-graduate MCJ qualification was introduced at UC for the first time last year.

UC Criminal Justice director Jarrod Gilbert said the masters course gives students an even greater skillset before entering the workforce.

"I feel immensely proud of these first graduates. I think our criminal justice system will be better off with them contributing to it."

Wilson already has a Bachelor of Criminal Justice from UC, and has worked part-time at Te Puna Wai ō Tuhinapo youth justice residence in Rolleston while studying. She is now looking for a full-time role where she hopes to help young people stay out of crime.

"Working at the residence has made me realise what these kids have gone through and how they don’t have support networks around them," she said.

"I understand more about the importance of that support in preventing crime and trying to stop young people ending up in the youth justice system or in prison.

"The MCJ course was very discussion-based and we talked a lot of about what’s happening in our criminal justice system today.

"We also visited Rolleston Prison and had several experts come in and talk to us about their experiences."

UC Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey said the graduation ceremonies are important occasions.

"The university has strong connections with the city and we invite local people to take this opportunity to share in our students’ success after years of hard work.

“University of Canterbury graduates make a significant contribution to the Canterbury community and economy. Almost half - 47 per cent - of employed UC graduates who finished their study in 2019 found work in Ōtautahi Christchurch and the surrounding area."

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said the influx of students and their whānau will bring a welcome boost to hospitality and retail businesses.

“Graduation ceremonies bring a real buzz and excitement to the city and they also demonstrate that Ōtautahi Christchurch continues to be a hub of quality education and innovation."

UC April Graduation Ceremonies at the Christchurch Town Hall:
Three UC graduations are being held in Christchurch this week, including two on Wednesday and one on Friday.

The events – involving nearly 1100 graduands from a range of Colleges will draw hundreds of people into the central city each day as students wearing academic regalia parade from The Arts Centre to the Christchurch Town Hall before attending their ceremonies.

Wednesday, April 14


  • Te Rāngai Pūkaha | College of Engineering


  • Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture | College of Business and Law
  • Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora | College of Education, Health and Human Development








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