Class of 2023 Celebrate in Style

West Lothian College welcomed 220 graduates and over 500 guests to its graduation ceremony on 28 October to celebrate their success in gaining a wide range of higher education qualifications.

The special ceremony took place at the college’s Livingston campus where graduates were joined by families, friends and college staff who supported them through their studies. 

Speaking at the ceremony were the Alex Linkston CBE who is the Chair of the college board, college principal Jackie Galbraith and one of the Student Association presidents, Blair Stewart.

Joining the celebrations were elected members from West Lothian Council, the Scottish Parliament and the House of Commons – Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan, Councillor Andrew McGuire, MSPs Angela Constance, Fiona Hyslop and Sue Webber, and MPs Hannah Bardell and Martyn Day.

A new prize, the Alex Linkston Award for Outstanding Student, was introduced this year in recognition of the contribution that Alex has made to the college since he joined the Board of Governors since 2005. Former chief executive of West Lothian Council, Alex completes his final term as college chair next year and this new prize will be awarded each year in his name to an outstanding graduate.

The inaugural winner of the Alex Linkston Award for Outstanding Student went to HND Business graduate, Mark Comyns who, as well as achieving academic excellence, established his own business during his studies. Mark is now studying year three of an Edinburgh Napier University business degree at the college.

Student of the year awards were presented by college board members Moira Niven, Elaine Cook, Sue Stahly and Rehela Hussain.

Three prizes from the SQA recognised academic excellence. They went to HNC Contemporary Art Practice graduate, Jill Harvey who is now studying at the Edinburgh College of Art at Edinburgh University, HND Cyber Security graduate, Dylan Crawford who went straight into year 3 of a cyber security degree at Napier University, and HND Childhood Practice graduate, Susan Sommerville who is now studying for a BA Childhood Practice degree.

Students of the Year in the Business, Creative and Enterprise faculty were HNC Beauty graduate, Penny Stewart who is now studying an HND at the college and HNC Contemporary Art Practice graduate, Marie Henderson who is now at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee.

In the Care, Health and Sport faculty, the students of the year were HNC Sports Coaching graduate, Jen McCusker who is now studying HND Sports Coaching, and HND Childhood Practice graduate, Carol Walker.

Computing, Engineering and Built Environment faculty students of the year were HNC Electrical Engineering graduate, Mohamed Ali Khoudja who secured a graduate apprenticeship with SSE, and HND Cyber Security graduate, Finlay MacIver who is now in year 3 of a cyber security degree at Napier University.

Student of the year in the Workforce Development Faculty was Antonia Dickie who graduated with SVQ Level 7 Children and Young People.

Each year, the principal announces a new lifetime ambassador of West Lothian College. Lifetime ambassadors are recognised for the outstanding work they do for students and the college.

This year, for the first time, the award went to a former member of staff, Graham Clark who worked for the college for 27 years in a variety of roles.

Before he left earlier this year, he led the design and development of the college’s new Skills Centre for Sustainable Living (the ECOHOUSE). He is now pursuing a writing career.

Graham joins an impressive group of lifetime ambassadors – Donna Paterson-Harvie, John McGee, Roddy McKenzie, Aidan Martin and Jim Johnstone.

Principal of West Lothian College, Jackie Galbraith said: “I am so proud of everyone who graduated today. It was a real privilege to celebrate their achievements in the presence of so many of their families and friends. Every single graduate is an inspiration to others and I have no doubt they will make a great contribution to whatever they are doing now and in the future.”

The graduation event had a festival feel with a blistering performance from Drums N’ Roses in the college square. The sponsors who enabled the college to stage such an excellent celebration included DS Smith, JBT, UnitE, Developing the Young Workforce, Morrison Construction, Curries Print, Maxi Construction, McTaggarts, Glen Turner and Livingston Football Club.