A Lisburn woman was one of 275 Open University students who received their degrees on 2 October in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast – In the biggest OU ceremony ever held here.
Gillian Frizzell, who graduated with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), decided to study with the OU when she realised that opportunities would open up to her if she did some further study.
She said: “Since then I got the bug and almost felt I had to make up for lost time. I got a real appetite for learning and haven’t really stopped since.
“The flexibility of the course was great. It allowed me to choose key elements that suited my career interests along with those compulsory modules which were the foundation of the qualification.”
Gillian has been able to further her career with the MBA.
She continued: “The course has helped me develop my career in HR and as I’ve worked through the course over the last seven years I have changed roles within the same organisation which has helped me utilise my skills and experience and put into practice my new learning.
“My learning has given me the confidence to stretch myself and has also give me better knowledge of the things I like and the things I don’t that help my career development.”
She added: “All the study was well worth it as I feel stretched and challenged in my daily work and my new skills and experience allow me to work part time and mainly from home giving me a great work life balance.”
Baroness Nuala O’Loan was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University for the exceptional contribution she has made to the legal profession, her work as Police Ombudsman and contribution to social development in Northern Ireland.
Baroness O’Loan explains what this award means to her.
She said: “I am exceptionally proud and honoured to receive an Honorary Doctorate from The Open University. It was even better to receive the award at such an inspirational ceremony, alongside hundreds of dedicated and committed graduates in Belfast.
“I have been a supporter of the work of the OU for many years and recognize the great work it does in opening up the doors to education to thousands of people, making a difference to their lives. I have an extra special affinity with the OU since my mother was one of its first graduates in the 1970s, and now I look forward to further engagement with the University in the future.”
John D’Arcy added: “The Open University has been increasing access to education for over four decades, enabling people, regardless of their previous educational attainment or personal circumstances, to fulfil their potential.”