HUNDREDS of students of the University of Bradford have donned gowns to graduate in two days of ceremonies.

More than 900 people are graduating over the two days.

And the university, which announced this week that it had boosted its financial performance in 2018/19 to an operating surplus of £400,000, was also honouring eight national and international figures with honorary degrees.

Among those being honoured on Wednesday were Ian Beesley, an internationally acclaimed artist and photographer who studied at Bradford Art College, David Wilson, who is an expert advisor to the UK Commission to UNESCO on the development of creative cities, and Dr Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, a Group President at Intel Corporation who gained a degree at the university.

Mr Beesley said: “It is absolutely fantastic, you couldn’t get a bigger accolade then being recognised by your home town university, particularly considering I didn’t go to university.

"I did spend a lot of time here in my youth, coming to watch all the bands and I remember thinking this was the epitome of a proper university, so to receive this, especially for my work in Bradford and awarded by the university, just makes me even more proud as a Bradfordian.”

Mr Wilson said: "It’s just a fantastic honour for me as a Bradfordian. I was born in Bradford, my parents worked in the textile industry in Bradford, my grandparents did, so my roots in Bradford go back quite a long way, two or three generations. So to receive the honorary degree from the University of Bradford is a complete honour in every way."

Dr Renduchintala: "It’s a great honour to receive this honorary degree from Bradford. Everything I have achieved in my career is built on the academic foundation that this university provided me.

"With my graduation in 1987, my PhD in 1990 and my MBA in 1991, that was the academic foundation upon which I’ve been able to realise all of my professional ambitions. So I’m incredibly humbled and honoured by this recognition by the university and continue to want the university to prosper in everything it does."

The ceremonies continue on Thursday with honorary degrees being awarded to Sir Nick Weller, chief executive and accounting officer of the Dixons Academies Trust, and Roland Clark, chair of the YMCA in Bradford as well as Inn Churches, and solicitor Ram Saroop.

The university said its surplus was a strong improvement on a £5 million deficit originally planned for the year. Major factors were better 2018 student enrolment figures than planned and rigorous cost management.

Cash generated from operations was £4.5m. Liquidity improved, with closing cash reserves of £24m.

Along with other UK universities, Bradford has to factor in the long-term cost of pension schemes. In the case of 2018/19 there is a charge of £41m, with a long-term pension liability of £59m.

Combined with the intake for 2019/20 the university said it was confident that it is on track to deliver its medium-term financial strategy.