Honorary degree for second year who drowned after night out
Megan Roberts disappeared in January last year
A YSJ student who fell to her death in the River Ouse after a
night out with friends will be given a posthumous degree.
Fine Arts student Megan Roberts, 20, was in her second year
when she disappeared on January 22, 2014.
Megan disappeared on a night out in York before her body was found almost six weeks later.
Now her mother, Jackie Roberts, has announced Megan is set to receive a
posthumous degree from the university at a graduation service in November.
Since Megan’s death her mother has become an ambassador for the Royal
Lifesavers Society (RLSS) and supported local charity the York Rescue Boat
in ongoing campaigns to prevent future tragedies in the city’s rivers.
Jackie said: “It was a total surprise. I think they’ve done it previously,
sadly they’ve had to but it was a complete surprise. I’m absolutely
“I’m very emotional about it. When I got the call as soon as they started
talking it was like I knew what they were going to say, it was very
emotional but the whole family are really pleased with it.”
An inquest into Megan’s death heard she had been drinking in the YSJ Union bar in York at the start of a boxing club social fancy dress evening.
She then took a cab to a pub, before heading to Popworld where she continued drinking.
Megan was reported missing on the Monday when she failed to turn up for
lectures and her friends realised she had not gone home to see her family
Following news of the posthumous honour, mum Jackie said Megan had really
enjoyed her time at the university and had already planned how to use her
degree to establish a career.
She added: “Megan wanted to take her Fine Art studies further and tune it
in with psychology and become an art therapist.
That’s what she decided she was going to do. She had just started getting her head around where she was going to go with it, and she was very good at understanding people.
“It’s a really nice positive thing and way to remember Megan as a person
and who she was not just someone who was involved in this awful tragedy. I’m thrilled by it. It’s a really nice tribute to one of their students.
“As far as I know it will be the normal graduation ceremony where everyone
crosses the stage to pick up their degree, and someone from our family will
be given the opportunity to collect Megan’s degree, but if we don’t feel
strong enough to do it they will help out and have someone step in.
“I’m hoping to be able to do it myself. At the moment I’m feeling determined.”
November’s ceremony will not be the first Jackie has been to this year, but
would mean the most to her: “I went to one of her best friends’ graduations
earlier this year, because she very kindly invited me because I wouldn’t be
having one for Megan, which made that up a bit for me.
“I wanted to go to this one anyway to see some of Megan’s friends graduate.
It’s going to be emotional day for a lot of people for their own degree but
also for remembering Megan.”