Students stunned as pop sensation Paolo Nutini turns up at graduation for award

The Paisley artist made a surprise appearance at the ceremony where his parents also got an award.
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Pop sensation Paolo Nutini has been awarded a prestigious West College Scotland Fellowship, after supporting students for more than ten years.

Students were stunned when the Paisley musician, behind such hits as New Shoes and Scream (Funk My Life Up) appeared at the West Scotland College’s Paisley Graduation Ceremony, after his award had been kept a secret.

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His parents who were in the audience to see their son awarded his Fellowship were also surprised with an award of their own.

Paolo Nutini gives speech at ceremony.Paolo Nutini gives speech at ceremony.
Paolo Nutini gives speech at ceremony.

Hundreds of students and their families gathered in Paisley Abbey on 14 September to celebrate their achievements and be presented with their Graduation certificates at one of the College’s four annual graduation ceremonies.

Mr Nutini’s Fellowship Award and attendance at the ceremony had not been publicised. Many of assembled young students were shocked when the Scottish singer-songwriter was piped into the Abbey wearing traditional black graduation gown with blue and gold College silks.

The Paisley artist, who recently wowed a packed-out crowd at the Royal Highland Showgrounds, talked passionately at the graduation ceremony about the positive difference and contribution students’ achievements will make to the town of Paisley and the wider area.

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Mr Nutini, who is in the running for the Scottish album of the year, also offered advice to students and guests. He said that when he had overcome his self-doubts, he had gone on to achieve what he had previously thought impossible and had some of the greatest experiences of his life.

West College Scotland Fellowships acknowledge distinguished individuals who are not only outstanding in their chosen field, but who have also made an exceptional contribution to the local communities it serves, the College and its students.

Mr Nutini, and his wider family, have worked directly with West College’s Paisley Art and Design department, led by Billy Kinnear, for over 10 years, providing students with the opportunity to work on real live-client briefs.

This has given scores of West’s students the opportunity to design original art pieces for live performances, concert tours, promotional materials, and even single and album covers. Paolo has also given up his time to help students with design presentations, providing feedback and support to all involved.

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He was given the award by West College Scotland’s Principal and Chief Executive Liz Connolly, and Chair of the Board, Dr Waiyin Hatton.

Parents Alfredo and Linda Nutini were awarded the Principal’s Special Recognition Award by Liz Connolly, in recognition of the 50 years of service they and their Castelvecchi Restaurant have given the people of Paisley, the events they’ve hosted in partnership with the College and through their work with the wider creative Renfrewshire community.

Two other fellowships were also awarded to Jim Hannagan and Brendan Moon. Mr Hannigan is head of skills capability at the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland’s Skills Academy (NMIS). Mr Moon is director and senior partner of Morsecode Management and Studios.

The chart-topping artist also sponsors a scholarshiph for students at the University of the West of Scotland on the acclaimed MA Music programme.

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