Archbishop Stephen Cottrell cassock landscape

Special Spring graduations begin, celebrating Classes of 2020 and 2021


Five days of ceremonies have started today (Monday 25 April) at Carlisle Cathedral, celebrating the academic achievements, resilience and determination of 2,700 University of Cumbria graduands. 

Seventeen ceremonies are taking place within the city’s Historic Quarter. Four each per day from Monday-Thursday, before the final ceremony brings celebrations to a close on Friday (29 April). 

The ceremonies fulfil a promise that Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell made to University of Cumbria Alumni Association members from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 that they would get the opportunity to enjoy a full graduation experience, coming together when pandemic guidance could allow for such large-scale events to take place safely. 

Three ceremonies will include the following special events: 

  • Monday 25 April 2022 

Granted Research Degree Awarding Powers in 2019, the University of Cumbria awarded its first PhDs in 2020. Today, the milestone is marked ceremonially when one of these successful PhD students will collect their scroll in person. 

  • Wednesday 27 April 2022 

The inauguration of the University of Cumbria Chancellor, The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, takes place on Wednesday afternoon. 

Ahead of the ceremony, Archbishop Stephen, said: “I’m delighted to be joining the University of Cumbria for my first ceremonies as Chancellor, conferring academic awards on these graduands – the Classes of 2020 and 2021 – who have demonstrated success, determination and resilience.  

“We see in them how education can transform lives and opportunity and we celebrate the important role the university is playing in raising aspirations and enabling skills to be learnt and updated, helping the region and beyond to prosper and flourish.” 

  • Friday 29 April 2022 

West Cumbrian teacher Kerryann Wilson will receive the Alumnus of the Year award during Friday morning’s closing ceremony. The award recognises exceptional achievements of a graduate. 

Kerryann has worked at Energy Coast UTC since 2015 where she is now the Vice-Principal. Described as a dedicated, inspirational, remarkable teacher, Kerry Ann was a Gold award winner at the Pearson National Teaching Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School (September 2020).  

Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell said: “This week finally gives us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who have waited patiently for their day. We are proud of every one of them. As well as their academic success, they have demonstrated their determination, commitment and resilience and now many are working in their chosen fields or taking part in further training and study, with a firm focus on transforming their lives and those within their communities. 

“We’re also thrilled that we’ve been able to work once again with partners such as Carlisle Cathedral, Tullie House and the Crown & Mitre Hotel to ensure the stage is set for these graduands to enjoy the day and recognition they truly deserve.” 

Watch online 

All graduation ceremonies will be streamed live online for the first time. Watch via

Everyone attending is being encouraged to share their celebrations across social media using the hashtag #wearecumbria 



Visit here for a downloadable selection of photographs and video from today's first ceremonies, involving the separate Institutes of the Arts and Health.

Additional images below

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, who will be inaugurated as Chancellor of the University of Cumbria at a special ceremony in Carlisle Cathedral on Wednesday 27 April 2022


West Cumbrian teacher Kerryann Wilson, who will receive the University of Cumbria Alumnus of the Year award at the closing graduation ceremony taking place at Carlisle Cathedral on Friday 29 April 2022

Media opportunity – 27 April 

The inauguration of the University of Cumbria Chancellor, the The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York 

The Archbishop will be available for media interviews between 10.45-11.30am on Wednesday 27 April only. His inauguration ceremony is at 1.45pm. 

Media opportunity – 29 April 

The final ceremony starts at 9.30am on Friday, and will include the presentation of the Alumnus of the Year award to Kerryann Wilson. The ceremony is expected to end around 10.30am.  


If you wish to attend any of this week’s graduations, please work with the university communications team to plan ahead and discuss what requirements you may have.  

Due to the number of ceremonies and time constraints, arrangements and the operation for our Spring graduations are different in comparison to previous years. Therefore, we will work hard to help meet your needs and appreciate your early approaches to discuss filming and interview opportunities. Email