Retired politician Anna Lo was honoured by The Open University (OU) with the award of Doctor of the University at a ceremony in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall today (Friday 5 October 2018).
Ms Lo was recognised for her exceptional contribution to public services and had her award conferred alongside 201 graduates – of all ages and backgrounds and from a range of careers.
The Open University makes honorary awards in line with its mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas, and the promotion of social justice through the development of knowledge and skills.
Many of today’s graduates have fitted their studies around work or family commitments; some have a disability or live in a remote or rural community, while others did not have traditional university entry qualifications, or came from low-income households. For all of them, today’s ceremony marks the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to learning.
One student is Danielle Douglas from Dungannon, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Early Years. The Open University provided her with the flexibility of combining her studies with work, childcare and many other responsibilities she had in life. She wanted to return to education to provide a better life for her and her daughter, and now she has made her dream a reality.
I recently applied for a job and a BA (Hons) was a criterion for the role. Knowing that I had just finished my degree gave me confidence to apply and I am pleased to say I was offered the job. The degree has now given me options of work that I may not have otherwise had.”Danielle Douglas from Dungannon
“I would like to congratulate every one of our graduates today. Each one has shown remarkable dedication, fitting in their studies alongside their jobs, families and commitments. They have demonstrated how part-time higher education really can transform lives.
We are also delighted today to welcome Anna Lo to The Open University family.”
“I am absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award of an honorary doctorate from The Open University. When I was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s former Employment and Learning Committee, I much-admired the University’s ethos of lifelong learning and widening participation to all those who never had the chance to access higher education to fulfil their potential.
My personal experience resonates with the values of the OU as I left school grudgingly at 17 due to economic and cultural barriers in my birthplace, Hong Kong. I made my way to university in Northern Ireland at the age of 41 and subsequently also studied for a Master’s degree on a part-time basis.
The OU offers flexible and efficient learning pathways to enable people who are in employment or have caring responsibilities to not only enrich themselves but also society. I will be very proud to be a recipient of an honorary doctorate from such an important learning institution.”Anna Lo, Doctor of the University
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