Seeing son graduate was the icing on the cake for honorary doctor

Former Port Vale footballer Adam Yates surprised his mum by graduating from Staffs Uni – 10 years after achieving his degree qualification.

Man and woman in graduation dress outdoors

Staffordshire University graduate Adam Yates and honorary doctor Margaret Yates enjoyed their special day together

I’ve also been immensely proud since I found out my mum was getting an honorary degree and I honestly don’t think there’s been a day in my life when I’ve been more proud.

Adam Yates, Chief Operating Officer, The Hubb Foundation

Education leader Margaret Yates was attending the first day of the University’s Summer Awards ceremonies to receive the university’s highest honour - Doctor of the University - in recognition of her services to the teaching profession and dedication to the development of young people, education and schooling in Stoke-on-Trent.

But to make her day extra special, son Adam collaborated with the University on making a surprise appearance – donning cap and gown and crossing the stage to be congratulated on his award by the University’s Chancellor The Lord Stafford.

Adam, who has worked at The Hubb Foundation since retiring from professional football in 2017, completed his PFA Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting degree in 2013 but was overseas with the Port Vale squad when his gradation ceremony was taking place.

He said: “My mum’s been having a moan that I didn’t have the opportunity to graduate and the team at the university have been outstanding in terms of making this happen.”

“I’m proud of my university degree but I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony before and it was an amazing experience. I’ve also been immensely proud since I found out my mum was getting an honorary degree and I honestly don’t think there’s been a day in my life when I’ve been more proud.”

Margaret, who is Chief Executive Officer of All Saints Catholic Collegiate, described the experience as “one of the best days of my life” and said she was feeling “on top of the world”.

She added: “I had no idea about what was happening and was so focused on the graduates crossing the stage that I hadn’t noticed that the last in line was Adam. And then my mouth just dropped. It’s what we refer to in schools as an A moment.”

Listen to Margaret’s acceptance speech here.

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