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2016: Our year at a glance


A look back at the notable successes of staff, students and alumni over the last twelve months.

Pink Portland Building


Leeds Beckett University was once again named in Stonewall's list of the top 100 gay-friendly employers in the UK; whilst Professor Kevin Hylton was named Patron of a charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of black and minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.

A major new programme designed to better support local authorities in tackling the country's growing obesity epidemic, creating a whole systems approach to obesity, was launched; and Landscape Architecture and Design students presents their design proposals for public landscapes as part of the Design and Community project.


New research, led by Dr Theocharis Ispoglou, found that dietary supplements containing specialised amino acids commonly used by body builders could help elderly people maintain their muscle mass, increase their physical fitness and potentially help them avoid falls.

The idea of northernness and northern culture, from rugby to literature and music, was examined in a special issue of the Journal of Cultural Research, edited by academics at Leeds Beckett. Their research was featured in the Daily Mail; whilst research by Dr John Elliott for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) Institute was featured by the BBC in a story around what would happen if aliens contacted Earth.

Final year BA (Hons) Public Relations student, Mary-Kate Reynolds, scooped the top accolade in the annual Claire Mascall PR prize, when she won a placement with the London Stock Exchange and a £500 expenses bursary.


In March, Leeds Beckett was ranked as one of the top five universities in the country for its graduates going on to be CEOs; whilst enterprising business graduate, Morgan Dowler, launched her innovative new business, Love Me (And My Secret, with a line of specialist underwear designed for breast cancer patients.

Morgan Dowler

Researchers produced a set of guides to best practice in supporting higher education students on the autism spectrum; and Dr Marc Fabri shared his advice on this topic with the Guardian Higher Education Network.

Netherwood ALC School in Barnsley ;took the Codebug crown in a Yorkshire schools Wearable Technology challenge; whilst new research by Dr Glenn Williams found that most people who convert to another religious or spiritual tradition do so after experiencing a 'light bulb' moment.


In April, the new Cybercrime and Security Innovation Centre (CSI) was launched, with Leeds Beckett experts working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police to develop new ways of fighting the growing problem of cybercrime.

As servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force prepared for an expedition to Nepal, a team of Leeds Beckett researchers tasked with improving their physical performance at altitude were featured on BBC Look North and BBC Radio Leeds; whilst research by Dr Margarita Gomez Escalada for BBC One's Rip Off Britain programme found faeces bacteria on the ice served at fast food restaurants.


Students working at the 2015 Live at Leeds music festival

Leeds Beckett students once again helped to stage one of the city's biggest live music events as Live at Leeds returned for the May bank holiday; and the new Independent Food and Drink Academy, the first of its kind in the country, was launched at a two-day event in the city.

Daniel Pucell, BSc (Hons) Creative Entertainment Technology graduate and Lead Environment Artist for Supermassive Games, won a BAFTA for the 2015 game, Until Dawn; whilst three talented graduates won a competition to design a new Sustainable Technology and Landscape Resource Centre for the University.

An event held in partnership with the Sporting Memories Foundation helped people from care homes and those living with dementia to share their memories of the 1966 World Cup as part of Dementia Awareness Week. The event was featured on Channel 4 News.


A team of Leeds Beckett staff and alumni celebrated winning two gongs at the 2016 annual Royal Television Society (RTS) Yorkshire awards for the documentary series, India's Frontier Railways.


A new report on the State of Men's Health in Leeds was produced by the Centre for Men's Health and featured on BBC Look North. Commissioned by Leeds City Council, the report provided the first complete picture of the breadth of issues affecting men's health in the city.

Research from the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality revealed that the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 boosted the economy by nearly £60 million; and award-winning author, Sunjeev Sahota, was appointed Writer in Residence.


Stephanie Hirst portrait

In July we celebrated the achievements of over 5,000 students and 13 honorary graduates at our graduation ceremonies at Headingley Campus. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis received an Honorary Doctorate alongside radio star and transgender icon Stephanie Hirst, whilst Olympic diver and BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student Yona Knight-Wisdom celebrated success in the classroom as well as on the springboard.


Behind the scenes at Leeds Beckett graduations
Taking you behind the scenes at our graduation ceremonies held in July 2016.

Behind the scenes at Graduation 2016

Taking you behind the scenes at our graduation ceremonies held in July 2016.

KickerThis is a kicker.

The Outfit

All our graduates wear Leeds Becketts colours, with a different colour hood denoting which award they are receiving.

Caps and gowns can be tricky outfits to wear, so its important everything is in place. Staff from William Northam helped our graduates get it perfect, with a little refinement from friends of course...

A video posted by Leeds Beckett University (@leedsbeckett) on




Ushers were on hand for any last minute tweaks in the auditorium, too. Who says it just has to be the graduate that wears the cap? Plenty of family members got in on the action by trying on the hats.




The Honorary Graduates

Over the week, we awarded 13 honorary doctorates to people from the world of sport, broadcasting, the arts and academia.

The honoraries stop by for a [short video](https://youtu.be/X5STl1SpIoE) before collecting their award. Broadcaster Stephanie Hirst was happy to chat to our interviewers before receiving her Honorary Doctorate of the University for her contribution to public life. Each honorary graduate sits as part of the platform party and as Jason Gillespie shows below applauds the graduates as they collect their degrees.


At 97, President of the Leeds Rhinos and Chairman of the Rugby League Conference, Harry Jepson was our oldest honorary graduate this year. He was [awarded an Honorary Doctorate](http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/news/0716\-leeds\-rhinos\-president\-receives\-an\-honorary\-degree/) for his contribution to education and rugby league, and was congratulated on his acceptance speech by Leeds Becketts new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Tracey Lancaster.


The Photos

With such attractive and historic surroundings, our Headingley Campus lends itself well to photos. There's a team of professional photographers covering the entire week, plus plenty of talented amateurs snapping away.

Graduation really is selfie\-central. And when you're in such an Insta\-ready location, its a case of #nofilter.


Getting a shot of your family member or friend crossing the stage can be tricky, but where there's a will, there's a way.


It wasn't just photos we were after. We had a full film crew getting footage of our graduates to use online.



The Ceremony

All ceremonies took place in our tennis centre, which was totally transformed into a huge auditorium to hold our graduates, their guests and the University's dignitaries.

With so many people to look after, ushers are crucial, as is the military\-style planning to make sure everything runs smoothly. Queuing isn't as easy at it looks staff ushers make sure graduands are in the right order, so when they cross the stage as their name is announced, its the right person that strides across for their moment of glory. It might be a formal and slightly nerve\-wracking affair, but there's still opportunity for a mini\-celebration with your course\-mates. A key figure at the ceremonies was our Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Slee. He greets and applauds all the graduates, always with a smile on his face. We make sure we cater for everyone that's taking part in Graduation. We were happy to provide a British Sign Language signer to translate the ceremony for one of our guests. Couldn't attend in person? Doesnt matter, we live stream all ceremonies online and on campus. The vision mixers made sure you saw all the best action.




The Celebrations

Many of our graduates rounded of their day by celebrating in the Graduation Village otherwise known as The Acre.


Academics formed an impromptu guard of honour for graduates as they left one ceremony. Our massive 2016 sign saw people queuing for that unique photo. Colleagues from Dine served food and drink from their huge catering tent. The staff worked hard to make sure everything was just right for a proper celebration. And of course, no graduation ceremony would be complete without a bit of cap throwing.


So so happy to have graduated with these girls. We've been through thick and thin but weve done it! Masaive congrats gals mega proud of us all. It even looks like we caught our hats! Now let's get dddddrrrunnkk!!!!! #beckettgrads #leeds #beckett #graduationcelebration #gals #bestfriends #love

A video posted by Lucy Pearce (@lucyyyypearce) on




After the hardest and best 3 years of my life I've finally graduated with some of my favourite people in the world! #graduation #beckettgrads #sassqueen

A video posted by Safi Ahmed (@safiyahahmed) on




#wemadeit #leedsbeckett #graduation #captoss #celebration #classof2016 @leedsbeckett #beckettgrads

A video posted by Annabel (@annabel__young) on






Celebrating our Honorary Graduates
Each year Leeds Beckett University presents honorary awards to individuals or organisations whose work and achievement reflect the values of our University and who have made a positive impact on our region. This year we were delighted to recognise individuals from across education, the arts, sport, industry and commerce, and public life.


Research led by Dr Andrew Wilson and published in Scientific Reports revealed that stone objects collected by prehistoric hunters were effective as throwing weapons to hunt animals, whilst researchers questioned the publication of the government's childhood obesity strategy.

Leeds Beckett graduates Alistair Brownlee and Sam Quek won gold at Rio 2016 whilst Tom Bosworth defied expectations to finish sixth in the men's 20km Race Walk.

Leeds Beckett athletes at Rio 2016
Focusing on Leeds Beckett graduates who are competing at this year's Olympic Games in Rio.


In September, Leeds Beckett was ranked for the first time in the league table of the world’s best universities and was once again accredited with the Customer Service Excellence standard.

Final year BA (Hons) Filmmaking student, Bradley Shaw, was announced as the winner of a national film competition, aiming to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO).

Recording regular audio diaries can improve the confidence of those living with dementia and help to reduce stigma attached to the condition, according to a Leeds Beckett research team, whilst the launch of a study to investigate the long-term health effects of playing rugby, was reported by the BBC.

Historians in the Centre for Culture and the Arts and the Leeds Sustainability Institute unveiled the results of a research project, commissioned by Historic England which celebrate England's queer history. The research was featured extensively in the national media, including the The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Guardian.


In October Leeds Beckett supported the inaugural Audio & Radio Industry Awards (ARIAS), hosted by the Radio Academy at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. The University also maintained its undefeated record with a 12th consecutive Leeds Varsity crown and also celebrated fifty years of landscape architecture education.

Researchers hosted a conference at Leeds Town Hall to share research designed to ensure progress in tackling obesity, whilst Brendan Gough, Professor of Social Psychology was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

A study published by Dr Peter Branney, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, suggested that penile cancer research should explore quality of life up to and beyond treatment and was reported by the national media, including the Daily Express.


Perrie Edwards wearing GoGuy

BA (Hons) Events Management graduate Sophie Guy showcased her innovative new party clothing brand, GoGuy at The Clothes Show 2016 and Leeds Beckett pledged to help transform the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Jim McKenna, Carnegie Professor of Physical Activity and Health spoke to the BBC following figures released which suggested swimming participation in England has fallen by nearly 24%. Sean Dodson, Senior Lecturer and postgraduate leader in journalism wrote a piece for the Yorkshire Post tackling 'fake news' and safeguarding the future of journalism.

Carol Potter, a Senior Lecturer within the School of Education and Childhood published research which highlighted the importance of fathers in the care of children with autism.


In December, MSc Finance graduate Alistair Brownlee was named as runner-up at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, whilst Kate Grafton, Principal Lecturer in the School of Clinical and Applied Sciences was announced as one of 55 new National Teaching Fellows by the Higher Education Academy.

Research led by Dr Katie Dhingra, Senior Lecturer in Criminological Psychology, suggested that interventions aimed at preventing suicide amongst students must be designed separately for males and females. A series of original short films made by teams of over-60s in collaboration with filmmaking students was premiered at the Hyde Park Picture House.

Psychology expert Dr Steve Taylor wrote about leadership and power for the Huffington Post whilst ITV reported on Leeds Beckett lecturer Vicki Gilbert as she set out to swim the distance of the English Channel in the name of a charity.

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