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VRU Director Karyn McCluskey has been honoured by The Open University with the award of Master of the University at a ceremony in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Saturday 24 October. Ms McCluskey had her award conferred alongside 460 graduating students and fellow honorary graduates Dr Heather Reid OBE, physicist and meteorologist; Dr Alison Elliot OBE, Associate Director at the Centre of Theory and Public Issues and the first female Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; and actor, author and activist Alan Cumming OBE. Mr Cumming and Dr Reid were recognised for their exceptional contributions to education and culture, while the awards given to Dr Elliot and Ms McCluskey were a consequence of their outstanding public service. The Open University makes honorary awards in line with its mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas, and the promotion of social justice through the development of knowledge and skills. The 460 graduates having their degrees conferred came from all over Scotland and beyond. Many of today’s graduates have fitted their study around work or family commitments; some have a disability or live in a remote or rural community; while others lacked traditional university qualifications or come from low-income households. For all of them, today’s ceremony marks the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to learning. John D’Arcy, Acting Director of The Open University in Scotland, said: “Our students are a constant source of inspiration, working incredibly hard to fit learning into their lives and proving that part-time higher education makes a meaningful difference to individuals, families and communities. “The exceptional calibre of honorary graduates we have here today shows how highly our students, and colleagues who teach and support them, are regarded. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to welcome them as part of The Open University family." Karyn McCluskey, Master of the University, said: “I'm so pleased and humbled to receive this degree from The Open University. It’s such a huge privilege to be able to do the work that I do, working with men and women who are trying to change their lives for the better so their children can have better outcomes than they’ve had. I know so many people who have used The Open University to change the course of their lives, studying while holding down jobs, caring for children and elderly parents, and even while caught up in the justice system. The OU is life-changing and one of our greatest institutions.”

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