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Memories of Kent

We have gathered memories and stories from staff, students, alumni and friends of the University. Each memory tells a unique story about Kent, and together they provide a wonderful insight into why it was important to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary.

“Before becoming a student at UKC I was a bus conductor in Torquay. University education was a mighty step-up (at 27) and I wasn't going to waste a moment! Socially, UKC was perfect: a wonderful environment, many (but not too many) students, excellent and demanding education and - it seemed - unending parties. Now, of course, it seems (like youth) an impossible dream; but it was great and I look back on the time with immense fondness and affection. For the first two years I had the good fortune to live in an eighteenth century attic in Chartham (a village three miles from Canterbury). I commuted by train and felt like a character from Dostoyevsky. I was on a full grant and, in the vacations, I was able to sign on with the National Assistance Board. I just about managed to keep my head above water and left the University debt-free. But, one day, it was all over - just like that. I got my degree, summer term 1972 ended and I was back (more or less) on the road. But of all the thrilling moments, the most thrilling of all was at the end of that final term. My tutor, Christine Bolt, held a party for her tutees. I knew as I wandered slowly to her house that she would tell me my finals result. I knocked at the door. She opened it and said: “Are you still in agony, Mike?” “Yes” “Well, you got your 2:1!” Mike Williams, Eliot 1969

“Collapse of the Cornwallis Building, following the railway tunnel subsidence. (-- after fair warning!)” James B Brown, Eliot/Darwin/Keynes 1965

“I have many memories from my time at UKC (as it was called then!) Firstly then of meeting my future wife outside Keynes College during my MSc course. Other memories are of spending four happy years here in Canterbury, meeting many friendly people and enjoying the open space of a campus University and the City of Canterbury. I can hardly believe almost 20 years have now passed.” William Hargrove, Darwin 1994

“We didn’t think we had a chance but all the Granada people were very encouraging and kind, including Bamber and the other team. Some of the other team were not nearly so friendly at the post recording drinks but the other two were very magnanimous. They knew they’d thrown it away and were kicking themselves as they’d missed coming back to the “final rounds” by 5 points. We were just glad we hadn’t humiliated ourselves or Kent and the warm feeling of success has lived with us ever since.” David Hatcher

“Kirsty Seymour-Ure, first staff baby born after the University opened in October 1965, reflects later upon her father Colin’s strenuous life as a Lecturer in Politics.” Colin Seymour-Ure, Eliot College 1965, Rutherford from 1966

“I was there at the start and made lasting friendships as well as being profoundly influenced by the teaching and ethos of the University.” Claire Buckley (nee Allen), Rutherford 1965

“I’m a man of Kent, support Kent Cricket Club, love the Kent coast towns, went to Uni of Kent, and my daughter has just graduated from Kent!” Vincent Sen, Darwin 1975

“Based in Brussels, I enjoyed living abroad, but close to home (being Dutch, it's only a two hour drive). Moreover, I think there is no other place in the world where the environment is so international. Studying, but also going out for events, there just is a very open atmosphere in Brussels that I enjoy to this day”. Nienkevan Leeuwaarden, Woolf 2009

“My favourite memory of Kent is of my final year – creating my last Fine Art piece in a phenomenal studio located within the Chatham Historic Dockyard – alongside my favourite tutor, Tim Meacham.” Alexandra Hanschell, Eliot 2009

“It’s where I made the best friends of my life, met my husband and had my first baby (during the week of my finals – he was two months early). I gained my degree but more importantly it shaped the rest of my life. Even though I wasn’t from the area and no longer live in Kent it will always have a special place in my heart.” Jessica Peach, Darwin 2002

“I chose the University of Kent because of its prestigious reputation. The campus is really green and scenic, and there are lots of cafés and shops on campus to enjoy. Being based at Medway, we are smaller and so have closer contact with lecturers, and specialised services that we have lots of access to.” Siobhain Gaughan, Medway 2011

“I completed my degree as a mature student and loved almost every minute of it. Receiving my graduation certificate in Canterbury Cathedral was one of my proudest moments – and that of my parents as well – and seeing how much higher Kent is climbing in the university league tables, especially for history, my subject, fills me with even more pride and delight.” Sian Napier, Keynes 1992

“I was born in Canterbury, attended the University of Kent, and have been working here in professional services in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts for 14 years. Canterbury is a beautiful city, the Canterbury campus is an inspiring environment of natural beauty and I feel proud to be a member of an organisation with a world renowned reputation for excellence in teaching and research.” Catherine Butler, Eliot 1994

“I am proud of its many notable successes such as its part in sending a probe to Titan. Also am glad to be part of an alumni community that contains people whose work I admire like writer David Mitchell and comedian Alan Davies.” Sarah Pates, Woolf 2011

“I moved to Kent as a five year old, for my father's first lecturing post, I’ve studied there, taught there and am back to write-up my doctorate. It’s my second home.... for 50 years!” Louise May, Rutherford 1989

“Kent made me who I am. It opened doors that I never dreamed of opening. It allows me to be who I am today... today I am Kent!” Isabella Aurino, Darwin 2005

“I have stayed up all night working on inQuire and seen the sun rise over Canterbury from the top of the hill." Ellie Dawes, Darwin 2004

“I am Kent because of the fantastic education and people who I formed lifelong friendships with. You can leave Kent but the people and time you shared never leave you... even though we are now scattered across the World.” James Rock, Woolf 2010

“I am Kent because of the worlds the University opened for me, the support it has unfailingly provided to help me achieve my aspirations, and the friendships I have made with staff and students during my time as an undergraduate (1965-68), MA student (2009-11) and doctoral student (2012-whenever I finish it!).” Moyra Tourlamain (nee Benn), Eliot 1965


Image credits with gratitude: Jim Higham, Matt Wilson

Development Office

Contact us: alumni@kent.ac.uk | T: +44(0)1227 824346