Graduates entering The People's Palace

Graduation ceremony 2024

Celebrating our 2024 graduates at The People’s Palace, London

On Friday 19 April, our 2024 graduation ceremony took place at The People’s Palace, Queen Mary University, in London. With colleagues joining us from the Universities of Essex and East London, and hundreds of graduands receiving awards, it was a day of celebration and recognition.  

Our Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Elisa Reyes-Simpson, opened the ceremony, while CEO Michael Holland delivered the welcome address – noting that “we gather to celebrate not only your academic triumphs but also the personal growth and perseverance that have marked your journey to this momentous occasion”.  

Havva Oykener, from the School of Education and Communities at the University of East London, and Dr Annecy Lax, Dean of Partnerships at the University of Essex, congratulated the graduands on behalf their universities, and welcomed them to their respective alumni communities. Dr Annecy Lax praised graduands’ commitment to “making a difference to the lives of others”, while Havva Oykener looked to the future, adding that “our institutions stand behind you, rooting for you, every step of the way”. 

As well as marking the achievements of our graduates, we also celebrated the life’s work of Beverley Barnett-Jones and Irene Henderson, who both received honorary doctorates.  

A qualified social worker, Beverley Barnett-Jones has worked in the field of child protection and family justice for many years, receiving an MBE in 2018 for her impactful work in this area. Beverley’s honorary doctorate was conferred in recognition of her contribution to social work services, and for her leadership in establishing the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) in Coventry, and pioneering interventions like the Daisy Model. In her response, Beverley shared that she was “humbled” and “amazed” by the award. Looking back on a journey that was “challenging, sometimes even painful”, she spoke of a “relentless optimism that change and transformation can happen” – also acknowledging the vital role that family, friends, colleagues and faith have played in her career.  

Irene Henderson is a coach, mentor and EDI training facilitator, who held numerous roles at The Tavistock and Portman, notably as our Trust’s first Associate Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and as Race Equality Champion. Irene has advocated for equality, patient safety and community engagement over many years, and her honorary doctorate reflects the lasting impact she has made on our organisation and wider community. In her response, Irene spoke of the importance of being a “voice” for those whose voices do not get heard, of the challenges involved in changing organisational culture, and of the value of staff being able to bring their “whole self” to work. She spoke warmly of her time at The Tavistock and Portman – “a very special place” – and closed with words of encouragement for our graduands to “remain your authentic, true selves” and to always “do what’s right”, recalling the words of Desmond Tutu – “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. 

The speeches were concluded by Hia Jordan, a graduate of our professional doctorate in Advanced practice and research: social work and social care (D55), who delivered a vote of thanks on behalf of our graduates – making a creative comparison between the learning process and ‘potassium’, inspired by the date of our ceremony and the element’s atomic number (19).  

After the ceremony, graduates enjoyed drinks and an informal buffet with their families and friends, peers and course tutors in the Graduate Centre.   

We wish all our graduates the very best as they embark on the next stages of their academic and professional journeys. We hope that you will all stay in touch with us through our Alumni Society.

What’s next?

All our graduates are warmly invited to join The Tavistock and Portman Alumni Society – a place to connect, share news, resources and opportunities, and stay up to date with the Tavistock and Portman.

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