Cathy’s ‘shocked, pleased and proud’ after finishing degree

Cathy Harkness celebrating her graduation with her parents, Clifford and Brenda Harkness.
Cathy Harkness celebrating her graduation with her parents, Clifford and Brenda Harkness.

A Lisburn student has spoken of her shock and pride after graduating from The Open University with a law degree.

Cathy Harkness (30) graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) last month after completing her degree course while working.

At a ceremony involving 258 graduates of all ages and backgrounds and from a spectrum of careers, Cathy also saw the degree of Doctor of the University conferred on author Colm Tóibín.

Cathy decided to study with The Open University as she wanted to further her career in law.

“I studied Law for many years whilst working in a solicitor’s office full-time, with the intention to further my career in law and become a solicitor myself one day,” she explained.

Reflecting on her years of study, she continued: “I always saw my studying as taking one year at a time so I didn’t find it overwhelming. Each year I passed my assessments and exams meant I signed up for the next course.

“I am immensely shocked, pleased and proud of myself for finishing my studies and achieving my ultimate goal of graduating with a law degree.”

Many of the 258 Open University graduates fitted their studies around work or family commitments; some have a disability or live in a remote or rural community.

John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University commented: “I offer a huge congratulations to all of our graduates today. Each one, just like Cathy, has worked incredibly hard, juggling their studies alongside their jobs, families and commitments. They have demonstrated how part-time higher education really can transform lives.”