ABERDEEN’S Robert Gordon University (RGU) has become the first UK university to hold Masters level graduation ceremonies in three overseas locations for students on corporate oil&gas industry-related programmes. Cappings have been held in Kazakhstan, Algeria and, most recently, Venezuela.
Such graduations are an integral part of the institution’s plan to progressively expand its portfolio of in-country deliveries.
Robert Gordon became the first overseas university to hold a Masters level graduation ceremony in Venezuela just a few weeks ago.
The graduates were from the first cohort of students of a five-year contract signed in 2006 with Venezuela’s national oil company, PdVSA. They had graduated “in absentia” in July and were able to celebrate with a formal ceremony back in their home country.
A total of 45 students achieved Masters degrees in Petroleum Production Engineering, Drilling & Well Engineering or Oil & Gas Engineering, with 12 achieving distinction.
Professor John Watson, dean of the faculty of design and technology, travelled to Caracas to preside at the ceremony, in the presence of UK ambassador Catherine Royle.
The ceremony was hosted by Dr Hercilio Rivas, president of INTEVEP, PdVSA’s research establishment and a member of the PdVSA board of directors.
In July, 2006, RGU became the first UK university to stage a Masters graduation in Kazakhstan. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, participated in the first international graduation ceremony at Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU) in Almaty. Robert Gordon has been collaborating with KBTU since it was established in January, 2002.
Six months later, RGU held the first Masters graduation ceremony by a UK university in Algeria, following a two-year programme delivered in collaboration with Sonatrach, the national oil company of Algeria, and its training organisation, the Algerian Petroleum Institute (IAP).
At that time, 40 students were awarded an MSc in Asset Management with options in Petroleum Economics and HSE, with six rating a distinction.
A second round of Algeria graduations was marked in December, 2007.