When Susan Forrest rises to receive her degree from the University of Leicester, she will not hear her name called, nor the applause that will fill the De Montfort Hall. Her heart will be beating too loudly. For Susan, who is 23, is profoundly deaf. Her achievement is not only a personal triumph but a testament to her faith. She is among the first two students to complete a new four-year course in Archaeology which included a year away at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

"We are very proud of Susan," said acting head of the School of Archaeological Studies Professor David Mattingly.

"Although she had a number of problems she persevered and overcame them. She has always wanted to participate in everything that was going on. What impressed us was that when she learned that there was a new opportunity for an extra year's option in Australia, she was determined to put herself forward for it.

"She went and she did extremely well. In addition, she took the opportunity to travel extensively and discover as much about the country as she could. Susan's academic work has steadily improved and she has become more independent and a real role model. We are all delighted for her."

Susan's experience of Australia proved to be a turning point in her life: "Being a devoted Christian - I was confirmed whilst in my second year - my faith grew.

"My time in Australia gave me the opportunity to not only reflect, but confirm my vocation in life." Although Archaeology would always remain her life's passion and interest, Susan clearly sees her future in terms of her Christian mission. She intends to return to Adelaide where she has many friends and where the church is keen for her involvement. Indeed, she says the Bishop of Adelaide has offered to put her on a programme that might result in selection for training for ordination to the priesthood.

One of the facts that led Susan to choose Leicester as her first choice university was the fact that it has good support services, "a system", she emphasises, "that other universities would do well to follow". Study support was particularly helpful and provided a haven where one could go when things became difficult not only academically but personally. She is also grateful for the help offered by the Chaplaincy.

Susan intends to continue her academic life at Leicester - with an MA in Urban Studies.

Susan's graduation ceremony is in the De Montfort Hall on Friday, July 23, 1999, at 3pm.

Susan can be contacted at her family home on 01733 343731. Professor David Mattingly can be contacted on 0116 252 2610.

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Information supplied by: Pat Bone
Last updated: 16 July 1999 09:31
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