BSc Honours Medicine Class of 2021 Degree Conferrals Take Place Virtually

Friday 2 July 2021
former presidents of the School of Medicine and Bute Medical Society, Orrin McAleer and Cait Murphy,
Orrin McAleer and Cait Murphy pictured outside the School of Medicine with their dissertations


BSc Honours Medicine graduates will have their degrees conferred in an online ceremony by the Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Science later today. The School of Medicine is marking this year’s graduation by broadcasting an online Prize Giving Ceremony led by Director of Teaching, Dr Alun Hughes.

The Principal Sally Mapstone informed staff and students earlier this year that in-person graduation ceremonies would be postponed.  This decision was taken following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Routemap for Exiting Covid Lockdown, which made it clear that large scale public events would not be possible in Scotland in June. Social distancing guidelines meant the Graduation venue’s capacity would be reduced from 1000 people to 100 people while travel restrictions meant logistically in-person graduations were not feasible.

The university has provisionally set aside three weeks in June 2022 for the cohorts of 2020, 2021 and 2022 to graduate in-person.

The former presidents of the School of Medicine and Bute Medical Society, Orrin McAleer and Cait Murphy, shared their feelings on their experiences over the last three years and on graduating virtually.

Despite Covid restrictions, Orrin and Cait spoke of the comradeship amongst medical students that developed during the last year. The graduates clearly have plenty of fond and positive memories of their time at St Andrews. On what he will miss most, Orrin said: “I’ll miss the beach! I’ll also miss the community. There aren’t many places or universities where you get to meet people so well across year groups and subjects…or even get to know the staff so well. I’ll miss being always a stone throw away from anything I need and only a step away from friends.” Cait, who missed studying in sociable settings, still gleamed with positivity “I absolutely loved all three years at St Andrews even during the pandemic. I’m so lucky that I lived with four medical students that are also my best friends – this made it much easier to have a support system.” Cait, who will go onto continue her medical degree at Manchester added, “I’ll miss the staff and the medical school building – it’s a nice, compact space, easy to get around and meet and study with friends…I’m never going to live in place where all my best friends are only five minutes’ walk away.”

Cait also reported that the last year had been very successful for the Bute Medical Society – the society organised a series of online talks, sold more merchandise than in previous years and held a very successful online ‘Bute Review’ comedy evening which was live streamed on You Tube.

Orrin and Cait are looking forward to their online graduation and will be spending the day with their families.  Both are already planning their return for in-person graduation in 2022.

On passing on their wisdom to the new entrants to BSc Honours Medicine, Cait encouraged students to get involved in societies to meet people and Orrin suggests being bold, “Knowing as many people from different walks of life and places in St Andrews makes it the most enjoyable.”

Graduating students are invited to share pictures of their virtual graduation day with us by using the hashtag #standrewsmedicinegraduation2021 and tagging us on Twitter and Instagram @StAndMedicine.

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