Graduation 2020

Congratulations, and welcome to our alumni community!


Messages of support

In typical Leeds style, our community have come together to share their messages of support to you on your graduation.

Marina Fuentes (Business Economics 2017)

Congratulations class of 2020, you are well prepared, smart and hard-working individuals. You can achieve your objectives and dreams if you stay curious. Welcome to your new life, it's as fun and exciting as it was on campus 😊

This may be sound like a cliché, but it's so important to realise your passion and find a job that helps you achieve this. A second piece of advice would be to set clear personal and career goals and write them down. Last but not least, keep on learning new things. Curiosity will open doors.

When I was at Leeds, I was involved in the Volleyball society and I was also part of the Erasmus Student Network's committee as Treasurer. The people I met were the best part of my experience at Leeds. I was able to meet many national and international students with whom I had a great time.

One of the things I miss the most is being in the library, discovering books and learning about economics. My time at the University of Leeds was very happy.


Richard Harris (Chemistry 1965)

Congratulations and well done! I hope you have a truly satisfying career! It won’t be easy, but you will have had a first-rate education, just persevere. I also hope you leave Leeds with as many happy memories as I have. Good luck.

Onyinyechi Nwosu (Masters in Engineering, Technology and Business Management 2017)

First things first, congratulations class of 2020!

You are graduating at a moment where life as we know it is changing. This gives you an edge into soaring in this new reality! You may not be able to celebrate as you had planned at the beginning of your journey in Leeds. But one thing you should always know is the Class of 2020 cannot be forgotten. You make the first page of a new history.

Go conquer the world - you are equipped for this and much more. The world is your oyster. Go succeed! You have received your degree from one of the top schools worldwide. You may not know it yet, but the University of Leeds has started the process in shaping you for the world. Be bold, apply your knowledge, have an open mind, go take up space and make Leeds proud.


Michael Copestake (Law 1973)

Well done on getting your degree in challenging circumstances. It is so sad that you will not have your usual graduation ceremony at this time, but take heart that you have enjoyed a great education at Leeds which will set you up for the rest of your life. It is now up to you to use it to make the best of yourself and to make your mark on society.

The world needs well educated, articulate and thoughtful people. There is a mass of opportunities out there - go for them! Be positive, look for good opportunities and grab them when they materialise. Don't be disappointed if this takes time. The best opportunities are worth waiting for. Enjoy life.


Joanna (History 2003)

Congratulations and a massive well done on completing your programme of study! Whilst you won’t be having a traditional graduation ceremony, know that previous Leeds students stand with you and wish you all the best for the future. It may not be an easy time for you, but you can be proud of your achievements. And 2020 will be a year to remember! Stay positive!

Mark Harvey (Civil Engineering 1980)

Congratulations on graduating in the most difficult of circumstances and immediate futures. I am sure we will come through this and we will need you. You are young enough to be flexible - have dreams and hold on to them. I send you my best wishes for your futures. Whatever you do, change the world.

Leeds is a great city, in a great county, with a great history. It took me many years to beginning joining in some of the activities of the alumni community, I am so glad I did. I return to give occasional lectures to MSc students and it is a great honour to be able to share my experiences with them. I hope it helps.

I hope things change after this crisis - environmental, social and economic policies have to meet our real needs.


Jeanette Davies (Sociology 1994)

Class of 2020 – remember that the grit and determination which has got you this far in these challenging times will stand you in good stead to face the future. Keep making mistakes and learning, every day you will learn something new – keep doing that as it will benefit you in your career and in your personal life too. Keep going with purpose and you will succeed in what you want to do with your life.

Keep learning! Every day. Find your passion. Sometimes it is found in the unlikeliest place. Never give up. Have a growth mindset.

Leeds has a vibrant alumni community and you can choose to take part in it after graduation if you wish. It is good to make contacts which can help you in your future career. Keep connected and use help offered from fellow alumni.

Going to university was the best time of my life. I hope it was for you too. Congratulations on your graduation. Leeds is a great place to study. If anyone wants support on working as a secondary school English teacher, please email me (via the Leeds Alumni Office). I would be very happy to advise you about careers in Education in the UK and abroad.

My main memory of studying at Leeds was the library - I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was. And studying with amazing professors who were experts in their field! My MA in Sociology has helped me in my career enormously. I have had a varied career in education culminating in teaching in Sweden and becoming an Academic Manager in Stockholm.


Mohammed Fayaz Ali (LLM International Business Law 2008)

A degree from the University of Leeds is a cause for celebration and to rejoice. I am sure you will also have gained a load of memories, which you will carry for rest of your lives. I wish you all the best.

Studying in the UK and especially at the University of Leeds was an amazing experience. It’s been a privilege to carry a degree from the University of Leeds with me into my career. Being part of the alumni community is an honour, and I believe every alumni should have a lifelong connection with its alma mater.

I graduated in 2008 during the times when the world was hit by economic crisis. My hopes of securing a job in the UK was shattered, and many of my fellow classmates were in the same situation. I initially felt dejected and frustrated. However, without losing hope, I returned to my country, India, and with a positive attitude, started my own law practice. With a lot of effort and hard work over the years, I have now established a reasonably good practice. Therefore, my message to the graduates of 2020 is to not to lose hope. Stay patient, keep your focus, and continue working towards your goals. Remember - we are the masters of our own destiny.

If you have a passion to pursue a particular career, you should pursue it come what may. Be a fighter and never rest until you have achieved your goal.


Helen Webb (French / Management Studies 1987)

Well done! I’m sure it hasn’t been easy, but you've made it!

Congratulations on completing your degree in the toughest of climates. The resilience, self-learning and adaptability you've shown will do you proud in the workplace. Good luck with whatever is next - as a Leeds graduate, you're well placed to achieve your dreams ... and you'll be pleased to know it's not only students who have great fun while working hard!

As a Leeds Graduate, you're well placed to succeed. Work hard, play hard and have faith in yourself. Keep trying and keep smiling, even when the road ahead is challenging. Ensure your academic achievements are supported by life skills. Resilience + work ethic + interpersonal skills = success.


Aris Sotirelis (Advertising and Marketing 2018)

If managing to graduate during a global pandemic is not considered a major achievement, then what is? Kudos to all of you!

Your graduation might be different, but different can also be special. Stay positive - the alumni network is waiting for you to join us! Every crisis generates opportunities. Try to be encouraged and not disappointed with the situation we are currently facing.

Elsa Shen (Corporate Communication and Public Relations 2012)

Very well done! A new chapter begins! Be kind to yourself, and always be happy.

Life is a marathon. Sometimes we do encounter difficulties or situations that are out of our control. Be patient, be resilient, be positive, be reflective. It will all become part of your life’s treasures. Keep learning, and have a growth mindset. It is important to pace yourself with the change of the world. But also be resilient - sometimes it takes effort to catch up.

Rob Quaye (Transport Planning and Engineering 2009)

Welcome to the Leeds Alumni Community. As your time at the University of Leeds draws to a close, all of the hard work has paid off. Congratulations!

I believe the best times lie ahead of us. A new and bigger stage awaits you, and it is full of opportunities. I know that no matter which part is yours to play, you will have a role in making this world a better place.

Nathalie Pennell (BSc Biochemistry 2017)

Congratulations Leeds graduates of 2020! You’ve had the toughest final year of us all, which makes this achievement of yours even more special. Enjoy the feeling and keep your spirits high. Well done and welcome to the world of graduates!

The fact that you’re graduating now shows that you can succeed in the face of adversity. Don’t panic about the future - things will work out in the end.

The friends I made at the University of Leeds have shaped me into the person I am today. My degree truly prepared me for the career I chose to take and I’m so grateful to have studied at Leeds.

Try to pick a career you really love and be enthusiastic about whatever you choose to do. It’ll make a big difference to your everyday working life. Also try to strike a balance between work/study and enjoying yourself – they're just as important as each other. Be prepared to make many more friendships at work and to continue learning. Good luck!


Mike Levy (Economics 1980)

Congratulations on graduating from one of the world's great universities. You're at an incredibly exciting time of your lives, and my generation is leaving you with some major issues to grapple with. I can't wait to see how your ideas, creativity and drive make this world a better place.

Leeds gave me three of the best years of my life; intellectually, socially and in my personal development. Being a Labour supporter when Margaret Thatcher first got elected was interesting. My political arguing received lots of practice! Somebody much wiser than me once said "I don't mind what you think, but that you think" and that summed up my political discussions at Leeds.


Nicola Grant (Theology and Religious Studies 1997)

Well done class of 2020. You have achieved so much in unprecedented times, and your strength and resilience will shine through. Be proud of all you have done.

You have completed your degree in trying circumstances and your grit and determination shows you have the ability to succeed in uncertain times. Be strong, believe in yourself and look at what is out there.

I still look back on my time at Leeds as one of the best. Friends I made there are friends for life and I completed a PGCE at Leeds in 1997 and still teach now. I love it!

Big congratulations class of 2020!


Howe Wong (MEng of Electronics & Electrical Engineering 2011)

Congratulations to you, 2020 graduates! Leeds has given me unforgettable learning experiences, and shaped me to become a more resilient and adaptive person. I believe these attributes that Leeds gives you are vital in the current economic market, and will help you do well in the future. Congratulations!

Kaizin Sadri (Corporate Communications and Public Relations 2016)

Dear 2020 graduates, let me start by congratulating each and every one of you on successfully completing your course, even during these testing times. Your determination and perseverance has finally been rewarded. While the most beautiful part of the journey has come to an end, you can still cling onto those memories. There are exciting times ahead and many more achievements are waiting ahead to be celebrated!

A very warm welcome to our Leeds Alumni community, which helps you keep in touch with your classmates, and connect with senior fellow industry professionals who are here to guide you with the next steps of your journey.

With the pandemic bringing in unprecedented challenges in the job market, you may face setbacks, but do not lose hope! Start networking with people established in your field - use the Leeds Network, MyCareer and our Alumni community. Building your personal brand online also significantly helps you connect with the right people. When I started working in the communications industry in India, I was assigned to work on building reputation for a global banking institution with no background whatsoever. While it was not easy, I challenged myself each day to learn, and I ended up garnering significant success. So my advice to you, my dear graduates - seize opportunities which challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. Be open to learning new things because it will add value to the next step of your journey. In the end, it’s all worth it. Good luck for your next adventure!

Leeds has given me one of the best years of life. I truly made some friends for life and some beautiful memories, which never cease to brighten up my dull days. Having mingled and studied in a diverse environment helped me greatly excel at my first job. I was able to successfully work with people across the globe and was praised for my focused and professional work ethic, which I successfully developed whilst studying at Leeds.


Bruno Hannud (Combustion and Energy 1991)

I wish to congratulate you on your graduation. The world is full of brand-new challenges, ready to house the kind of students you were tailored to be. The international environment which Leeds provides us with is as important as the academic expertise which the University excels in. Your future now depends on you.

Diane Nixon (Maths and Computer Science 1979)

You should be proud of what you have achieved and what you are going to achieve.

Graduating from Leeds University gives you the strength and best foundation to take the first step into the rest of your life. I have had 2 very different careers- Leeds Uni allowed me to open doors for myself. It will for you too. It is about mindset. If you are determined enough you will make it happen. Never give up, just find another way.

Make friends, connections and network. Always be kind to people and you will be remembered. It really is a small world.

At University, I joined the Ents Society, which made me love music. I have attended loads of concerts, and music is a big part of my life.

I went into a computer career where I had opportunities to work in other countries. I emigrated to Australia and used my degree to complete a graduate diploma to retrain as a Maths teacher. I now work in a remote Aboriginal school in northern Western Australia.


Simon Bird (Zoology 1989)

Huge congrats on your graduation, and welcome to the global Leeds alumni family from Washington DC! While I'm sure your final term has been odd and less than ideal under unprecedented pandemic circumstances, your future is sure to be bright. Please feel free to connect via the Alumni Office if you find yourself stateside in future.

Rest assured that what you have learned and will continue to learn will help you succeed in both the immediate and longer-term future. Keep exploring, keep asking difficult questions, work on defining your own definition of success, and build on your undergraduate experience.

Remember that you are one of the privileged few to have successfully graduated from a top university with a strong international reputation. Use that advantage to make a positive impact on your chosen career discipline, give back to society, and help communities in need of your expertise.


Reshmy Prasad (Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Systems 2017)

Congratulations on making it through! After putting in all the hard work during these last years you must be thrilled to finally hold that certificate in your hand, and relieved that all the tough work is over.

2020 has not been the year we hoped it would be. 7 months in, these unprecedented times have at least taught us one thing – life doesn’t always go exactly to plan, but we are equipped with the ability to adapt and adopt new ways. I hope you will have the wisdom to keep moving forward, no matter what blocks your way. Being an alumna of the University of Leeds has always helped to give me an edge in my professional career, and I know it will do the same for you. Don’t be disheartened. Gain confidence, polish your professional skills, network online, and wear the University of Leeds alumni badge with pride - I know you will be just fine!

Being an international student, moving from the comfort of what I knew to an unknown city and culture was initially daunting, but the warmth of the University helped me to feel really at home. My time at Leeds, from managing a part-time job alongside my studies, to taking part in clubs and activities, to going on so many countryside trips with the wonderful friends I met, has all helped me to grow into the person I am now.


Edidiong Chioma Amos (MSc in Geographic Information Systems 2012)

Congratulations to you all on your well-deserved success. This must be a very proud moment for you.

I join you today to celebrate this phase of your lives and also welcome you to our great and vibrant alumni community. You have obtained a degree from this great institution, so as you go out into the world, have a ‘never say never’ attitude. Keep a positive mindset, and know that whatever you set out to achieve, you CAN DO IT. The sky will be the beginning of many heights for you to reach. I wish you the very best for all your future endeavors. Keep shining!

Despite these challenges times, it is what you have inside of you that will stand the test of time. Tough times never last, but tough people do. Be resilient, persevere and be bold enough to face the world. Great opportunities await you.

Remain confident in yourselves and keep improving your skills – you never know when a new opportunity may come knocking. Best wishes for the next phase of your life!


Haytam (Earth Science, Msc Structural Geology 2007)

Congratulations on your well-deserved success and remember - if opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. DO NOT GIVE UP - think big. Love your study and make the world a better place.

Rahul Ahuja (Information Systems 2003)

Enjoy this moment. You have worked very hard for this and you deserve to be holding that degree with pride. Many Congratulations!

These are tough times for everyone, but we will get over this. Have faith. Our ancestors and forefathers overcame numerous challenges to give us the life we have today. They fought against odds during their time and overcame numerous calamities to survive. We will also work through this. During the next few months, continue to build your network even if virtually. Connect with as many people as possible to identify and create new opportunities. The troubled times won't last forever. As we overcome this pandemic in the months to come, countries and economies will open again. People are needed to run businesses and economies. They will need YOU. Have faith and hang in there. You will get through this.

Have faith in your abilities. You got through Leeds Uni and graduated. This in itself is an amazing feat. Be hopeful of what the future holds for you. It will work out.

I was a part of the Leeds Hiking Club. The amazing treks we had always brings back fond memories. I also met new people from across the globe – University was an experience that I know I will never have anything like again. The friends I made back in 2003 are still my friends. We continue to connect and also visit each other occasionally, travelling half the globe to do so.


Jane Blewitt (Genetics and Microbiology 1981)

Congratulations on completing your degree, especially in these difficult times. Talk about it with enthusiasm and use what you have learnt to make a difference.

You have already achieved a lot – completing a degree is a fabulous achievement. Be confident in the knowledge and skills you have gained, and use this confidence to move onto the next stage of your life. Remember that you have much to offer. The knowledge and skills you have gained will not go to waste. Be patient, confident in yourself and stay positive. Things will get better.

Welcome to this fabulous community of Leeds graduates. It’s a great way to keep track of what’s happening in Leeds and around the world.

My time at Leeds was fantastic – making new, lifelong friends. Trampolining and gymnastics took up much of my spare time, despite several injuries!

Leeds gave me lifelong friends. My degree and later nursing qualification have enabled me to move into the charity sector – I now coordinate a research programme.