Seabrook, who studied at Writtle in the 1950s, is gardening editor at The Sun - after more than 40 years – and was a presenter on Pebble Mill at One on BBC 1, Gardeners World on BBC 2, the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage and, for 20 years, on Coast to Coast on PBS in North America.
"There are hundreds, indeed thousands, like me who have a debt of gratitude to Writtle for their education and their friendships," he said.
In his address to students, he showed why he has had such success in broadcasting, provoking many laughs when he produced a spade: "As a ten-year-old at a village school when 50 of us were taught by one master, I never would have thought I would fly across the Atlantic on Concorde twice; hover over an active volcano in Hawaii with a producer urging me to say insightful things when I could only think of the incineration waiting below; meet most members of the royal family; fly to Los Angeles, meet up with the TV crew there and fly on to New Zealand, stay in six hotels, travel on seven more flights and return home at the end of the week with six, 30-minute programmes on tape.
"And it’s all because of this. A spade. It just happens that I could use it better than most people!"
According to the latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 91% of Writtle University College graduates last year were in employment or further study six months after graduation.
This year’s Graduation Ceremonies were all the more special as it is the 125th anniversary of Writtle University College.
Writtle College was established in 1893 as the County Laboratories. Vice- Chancellor is Professor Tim Middleton.