An Ochiltree university ace has been named as the best direct entry student for his year.

Calan McCuish graduated this summer with a BA (Hons) Media and Communications from Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh.

The 21-year-old not only graduated with a first-class honours degree, the university presented him with the Bruce Thomson Access Award for his top performance.

The award is presented to the ‘Best Direct Entrant’, which is the student with the best graduation results who entered into second or third year at Queen Margaret University from a further education college.  

On the day of graduation, Calan celebrated with his family and classmates at an impressive ceremony held in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. 

Cumnock Chronicle: Calan McCuish, from OchiltreeCalan McCuish, from Ochiltree (Image: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh)

During his ceremony he was joined by 400 graduates and their families, as well as QMU’s Chancellor and TV presenter Dame Prue Leith CBE, best known as an entrepreneur and judge on the TV show ‘The Great British Bake-off'.

A former Auchinleck Academy pupil, Calan's keen interest in film saw him move on in fifth year to Ayrshire College to study Film and Broadcasting and then Media Analysis and Production.

Discovering he had a real passion for the subject, Calan excelled over the next two years achieving an NQ and then Higher National Certificate (HNC).

Following successful completion of his HNC, Calan secured his place at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh where he moved directly into the second year of the degree programme.  

As if final year at university isn’t difficult enough, Calan took his personal learning journey to the next level when he began studying a foundation architecture course (RIBA Studio Foundation Course) with Oxford Brookes University during his final semester at QMU.

Speaking about his achievements, Calan said: “I love making video, and anything to do with the creative process, so while I was studying for both my degree and the architecture course, I was also working as a freelancer doing video editing, photography and graphic design for a few different companies. 

"Working for companies, and putting everything you learn at university in practice, is a great way to develop skills working with commercial clients.” 

Calan was so inspired by the topic of his dissertation that he has decided to further progress his interest in the subject by studying architecture full time. 

In March, he will begin an architecture course - Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Certificate in Architecture - with Oxford Brooke University.

He added: “I’m looking forward to applying all the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from my time at Queen Margaret University to a distinctly different kind of industry.”

After a very impressive few years at Queen Margaret University, the academic staff were delighted to reward Calan with a £100 cheque and a certificate to mark his achievement of the 2023 Bruce Thomson Access Award.