A terminally ill student has been rewarded for his “relentless drive” with a private graduation ceremony in his hospice.
Friends, family, nursing staff and academics gathered around Northampton University undergraduate Dennis Newlove for the emotional celebration at Cynthia Spencer Hospice on Thursday.
The 28-year-old began studying health studies and social care at the university in 2014, shortly after he was diagnosed with throat cancer.
Despite bravely battling the disease throughout his course, the cancer sadly spread around Newlove’s body before becoming terminal.
After he was admitted to hospice care earlier this month, the “inspirational” student’s lecturers decided to organise a private graduation for him ahead of July’s main ceremony.
“There cannot be an exact expression to describe how I feel today,” Newlove said after receiving his degree. “Today is the best, and the beginning of the best to come.
“Studying for this degree has been very challenging, considering my health, but the university has proved to me that any challenge can be beaten.”
Newlove, who wrote about his condition in his dissertation, received a 2:1 for his degree.
In a touching speech, university lecturer Sindy Banga commended him for being “resilient, patient, determined, strong, positive and optimistic”.
“We, your tutors, would like to say... that it has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work with you and get to know you.”
Newlove’s friend Leticia Asumang, who attended the ceremony, said she was “not surprised at all” that he completed his degree, despite his serious illness.
“His tenacity and his relentless drive is incredible – where he gets it from, I don’t know, it amazes me,” she said.
“I have never known a more positive person than Dennis. When I’m down, he lifts me up.”
According to staff, the ceremony was the first time they have organised a graduation for one of their patients.
Despite the early presentation of his degree, Newlove said he was “determined” to attend the main graduation ceremony next month.