GRADUATES of the University of Hertfordshire's business school received their degree certificates this morning in a ceremony at St Albans Abbey.

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The efforts of some 3,400 students are being recognised in series of 12 ceremonies in the medieval cathedral this week.

Those who have been studying business, accountancy and economics queued this morning for a handshake from chancellor Lord Salisbury before accepting their certificates from registrar Philip Waters.

Also participating are the recipients of 16 honorary degrees and fellowships, made to “pillars of the community” to recognise their contributions to academic studies, charity or public service.

Yesterday Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive officer of Tesco, received an honorary degree, while this morning it was the turn of former vice chancellor Neil Buxton.

Professor Buxton's contribution to the university's creation out of Hatfield Polytechnic in the early 1990s was praised in a closing speech by the current vice-chancellor Tim Wilson, who revealed that the main library on the De Havilland campus would be renamed after his predecessor.

He told the graduates: “Beware of what you have learned.

“You have learned the skills of business but you have learned a lot more.

“You have learned tolerance and understanding.

“My own generation have not had that privilege.”

Each ceremony is addressed by a chosen student - today it was the turn of Arti Hararni, who said: “Whatever challlenges life will throw at us, we are now equipped to face them.”

After the ceremony, Gary Gusine, 22, from south London, told the Review: “After four years, I have got a 2:1 in finance and economics.

“It has been a fantastic experience.

“Now I am going on to bigger and better things.

“My ambition is to be a millionnaire and own a Porsche.”

Arpita Patel, 22, from west London, said: “I studied international business with French.

“I've had a really good time, although it was certainly a challenge. I am grateful to everybody who helped me through it.

“The best bit was the year studying in Paris, even thougt I had to study in French.”

The ceremonies, which start at 10.15am, 2.15pm and 7pm, will occupy the cathedral until Friday.