Sophie Raworth inspires next generation of journalists at City graduation ceremony
Among the hundreds of smiling faces enjoying the sunshine at City University London's graduation ceremony this week, two were attracting particular attention; BBC journalist Sophie Raworth and graduate Camilla Mills (pictured, left) were the undoubted stars of the day.
A graduate of City's Department of Journalism, Sophie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her career and contribution to broadcast journalism, which has included her current role on BBC's News at One, and regular appearances on the BBC News at Six and on BBC News at Ten.
Sophie, who often returns to talk to current students, described her time at City as a "turning point" in her career and said: "I arrived in September 1991 nervous, excited, and determined to do well. I worked hard - really hard - and I loved it. The course gave me the building blocks - and most importantly the confidence at last - to go out there and get a job in a profession I'd long wanted to be part of.
"I love my job. I feel incredibly privileged to be doing it. It's challenging, fascinating and brings with it a daily rush of adrenalin. I will be eternally grateful to City, particularly to one of my tutors, John Decker, who was always so kind, encouraging and inspiring."
Camilla Mills, a student speaker at the ceremony, was one of the many in room who hope to emulate Sophie's achievements, but her journey, which she outlined in a moving speech, has been more trying than most.
Diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at 15, she underwent nine months of chemotherapy, during which she was unable to attend school, but still managed to pass her GCSEs and 'A' levels and enrol on a degree course. Then at 18, and had to drop out of university after just eight months of study, when her father, a BBC journalist, died.
When she was ready to study again she took the advice of a colleague of her late father and enrolled on the BA Journalism course at City's prestigious Department of Journalism.
She told the audience that being from a family of journalists she had vowed not to follow them but the more she learned at City, the more she fell in love with the profession. She said: "The endless discussions about how journalism was a dying industry did not deter me once I realised that all I wanted was to be a journalist with the ultimate ambition of reporting from conflict zones."
In a speech that epitomised triumph over adversity, Camilla told her fellow graduates to embrace the challenges that lie ahead: "As we teeter on the edge of the rest of our lives, let's turn and look at our past and the dots that have connected us to this exact moment. For many, including myself, tomorrow is still very much the unknown but I am sure we will look back and remember today as yet another dot in our lives."
City University London has over 17,000 students of whom about a quarter are from outside the EU and over a third are postgraduates. In 2012 City awarded more than 5,000 degrees. These graduates will join more than 130,000 alumni from City University London, which is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Sunday Times University Guide 2013) and starting salaries (Which University?). City's notable alumni include Mahatma Gandhi, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Founder of EasyJet), Dick Olver (Chairman of BAE Systems) and journalist Dermot Murnaghan.