Meet the class acts of 2011/12
24 September 2012
The Annual Awards ceremony at Oatridge has seen more than 300 students from all over Scotland and beyond graduate, 77 of them with distinction.
Twenty-two learners in Agriculture and Engineering, Animal Care, Countryside Management, Equine Studies and Farriery and Horticulture and Landscaping emerged as "Best Students" in their year group. They received their prizes from an international sporting legend, Matt Dawson MBE, who was part of the England squad which won the Rugby World Cup in 2003.
The occasion was both happy and poignant as it was the last before the College mergers with three others on October 1, and staff, students, families and friends heard promises that the combined organisation will be good for farming, food production, research and landbased education in Scotland.
Professor Bob Webb, who will take charge of new national rural college, SRUC, on October 1, told the audience that the move to bring together Oatridge, Elmwood in Fife, Barony in Dumfries and the Scottish Agriculture College comes at a time when a global population explosion is predicted and that feeding billions of extra mouths was moving to the top of the political agenda.
Outgoing Oatridge Chairman Wilson Marshall said: "I sincerely believe that the future of landbased education will be greatly enhanced by the merger and the research and consultancy aspects in particular will be important to teaching and learning."
David James, the Principal of Oatridge College for the last ten years, thanked staff for their support and professionalism over that time and during the merger process. He told them that they had shared "an incredible journey" which had seen £12 million of investment, which had transformed the campus. He also pointed out that Oatridge had generated a financial surplus for the last eight year. "We are a successful organisation," he said, adding, "The ethos of a place is hard to pin down and define, but I believe we got it right. Oatridge is taking something very special to the new organisation. Be proud of it."
Matt Dawson was at Oatridge in his role as a Food Ambassador for Oatridge's catering partners, Sodexo. Earlier he had performed the official opening ceremony at the newly refurbished refectory, the "Eating Place". Work was carried out over the summer at a cost of £650,000. Matt is seen in the second picture with the chefs who cook thousands of meals for staff and students every year.