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OU Class of 2020 - the highlights

Thank you to everyone who celebrated The Open University Class of 2020 in our recent social media celebrations. It was wonderful to hear so many inspiring stories from across the global OU community!

We’ve put together some highlights so you can see what we got up to and still enjoy all of the fun stuff.


Congratulations Class of 2020

What do Sir Lenny Henry, Steve Backshall, Prue Leith and Benjamin Zephaniah all have in common? They’re all part of your OU family and have shared their congratulations to our newest graduating class. Make sure you watch below and see which other famous faces you can spot:


Your stories

“I was kicked out of the house at 14, I never thought I’d have a degree!”

After a difficult start in life, Carla from Clydebank never imagined that university would ever happen for her. Despite the challenges, she never gave up and has now graduated with an OU BA (Hons) Open Degree, an achievement she says has been the “greatest achievement of my life so far”.

Read her tear-jerking story here.

“You have the power to decide who you will be!”

OU ambassador Finlay looks back on his 10-year journey with the OU in this fantastic vlog. He speaks about the benefits of distance learning and how he managed his mental health and gender transition around his studies. 

Watch his video message here. 

“We inspired each other to keep going”

When Laura and Jon first met, they realised they were both studying for degrees with the OU in Wales and soon a friendship, romance and study partnership began to blossom. After years of studying together and inspiring one another, they were delighted to graduate as part of the Class of 2020.

Read their story here.

"Studying helped me during difficult times"

Despite facing many challenging times – from family tragedy to contracting COVID-19 just before her final TMA – Michelle from Lisburn never lost sight of her goal. She's now a proud graduate with a Health and Social Care degree from the OU in Northern Ireland and wants to use her challenging experiences to help others. 

Read Michelle's story here. 

“The OU gave me my fourth (maybe even fifth) shot at a career”

We love this photo and story from OU graduate Lou who celebrated her qualification (in LEGO form!) this summer. She proves that it's never to late to make a change. 

Read about her journey to completing her Open degree here.




"I can never take tomorrow for granted and I want to squash in as much as possible!"

Karis from Inverness says that studying with the OU has helped her to realise just what she's capable of. Karis has congenital muscular dystrophy and is a member of Muscular Dystrophy UK's 'Trailblazer' network, which campaigns on key issues for young disabled people. She is now a proud member of the Class of 2020 graduating class and gained an OU Bachelor of Arts Open (Honours) Degree earlier this summer. 

Read Karis' story here. 

Here's to you!

From makeshift mortar boards to degree ceremonies in the garden - we loved seeing the spirit of our fantastic Class of 2020 and how you all still celebrated your success. Here are just a few of the brilliant graduates who took part:

Messages from your OU family

Sir Lenny Henry 

Clare Nasir

Cerrie Burnell 

Steve Backshall 

Val McDermid

Prue Leith

Joan Armatrading

Benjamin Zephaniah

Nigel Walker

Sharon Corr

Helen Richardson-Walsh

Judy Murray

Published: 24 September 2020