First class honours celebrations

The Hugh Baird University Centre is celebrating its best ever results for the BA (Hons) in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design, with no less than seven students achieving first class honours degrees from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Together with six upper seconds and three lower seconds, the results mark the tenth year of the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design programme at Hugh Baird and set an impressive benchmark for the University Centre’s brand new degree programmes launched for 2014.

Watched by proud family, friends and lecturers, all sixteen graduates of the course picked up their degrees at a lavish ceremony at Preston’s Guild Hall. Amongst those receiving first class honours degrees were Matt Longden, Leona Nichols and Nikki Phennah.

Matt first completed a Foundation Degree and, after three years travelling Australia and New Zealand, returned to the Hugh Baird University Centre to complete the BA (Hons) top up. Leona’s first class honours degree comes hot on the heels of her success at this year’s Hugh Baird University Centre Degree Show where she won Best in Show for her exhibit. Her stunning piece was inspired by prominent jewellery designer Stephen Webster MBE. When Leona contacted the company to research for her project, they were so impressed with her ideas that they loaned her thousands of pounds worth of jewellery to incorporate into her design and have since invited her to visit their Harrods concession to present her design concept to them.

Achieving a first class degree was particularly poignant for Nikki whose inspiration for her final project was her dad who had terminal cancer. Having worked closely with Clatterbridge Hospital and Cancer Research UK, Nikki said:

“So many opportunities have opened up for me since my final project and the support I received throughout at the Hugh Baird University was amazing. I’m extremely proud to be graduating with a first class honours degree.”

Angela O’Brien, Programme Manager for the Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design courses at the Hugh Baird University Centre, said:

“All the students worked extremely hard to achieve their results and the design concepts challenged and stretched them. We are very proud of all of them and we wish them every success in their future careers. We know that some are already using what they learned on their degrees and have taken up employment in some fantastic roles. We are looking forward to welcoming them back to the University Centre to inspire our next generation of undergraduates.”

The Hugh Baird University Centre offers foundation degrees, BA/BSc honours top ups and professional teaching and accounting courses through its partnerships with UCLan, Edge Hill University and AAT. Generous bursaries are available and there’s still time to apply for September 2014. Applications will soon begin for 2015 too, so if you’re interested in finding out more about the exciting range of university level courses, visit the website at, or telephone the Student Advice Team on 0151 353 4444.

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