High idealism

“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”

John Ruskin

It was with these words that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow (UoG) invoked the spirit of 19th-century English art critic, John Ruskin, at the recent graduation ceremony of the institution’s second cohort of students in Singapore.


The UoG graduation ceremony, which took place at Star Gallery, The Star Performing Arts Centre on 10 October, was held for students reading degree programmes in Aeronautical Engineering, Aerospace Systems, Mechanical Design Engineering, Mechatronics, Engineering Studies and Computing Science.

In his impassioned keynote address, Professor Anton Muscatelli, who is also principal of the university, first congratulated the graduates on achieving a major academic milestone.

While graduation ceremonies might represent momentous academic milestones, there was still much work to be done. Prof Muscatelli then pointed to Ruskin’s altruistic idealism and the importance of character building, calling on the graduates to think about their next challenge: “What do you think you will do with what you’ve become from this day henceforth?”

Expounding on the “fundamental potential of education to transform”, Prof Muscatelli who was also the ceremonial Bedellus, said he saw the graduates as “people who have been transformed with something of real value to offer”, and who are “able to interact and contribute to society”.

In closing, Prof Muscatelli, whose speech was warmly applauded by the audience, offered these parting words of wisdom: “The ball is now firmly in your court and your success has put you in the league of those who can take the lead and make the difference. You now have the opportunity and privilege, skills and ability to make this world a better place. The world is your oyster and it’s waiting for you.”

Graduation class

The ceremony rounded off with the graduates receiving their scrolls on stage, wearing hoods in colours representing the myriad flora of Scotland. As they made their way across the stage, in authentic Glaswegian tradition, the graduates bowed and handed their hood to the Bedellus who touched them lightly on the head and ‘capped’ them with UGS’ signature flat velvet cap.