Alumni celebrate golden milestone 50 years after graduating
A group of University of Wolverhampton alumni made a pilgrimage ‘home’ to Walsall Campus recently to celebrate a golden milestone fifty years after graduating.
The group, who studied primarily Physical Education between 1971 and 1975 at the then West Midlands College of Education, now the University Walsall Campus, has held regular reunions ever since their five-year anniversary and have travelled from around the UK to be together for this special occasion.
Clive Thomas, reunion organiser, said: “Reunions tend to take place every five years or so, although we haven’t met recently for obvious reasons due to the pandemic. We keep in touch via WhatsApp, emails, and even letters (still!). We also still visit each other, whether that be in Australia, Sweden or Brewood. Indeed, my daughter was able to stay with a college friend for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.”
The Campus and the early 70s hold fond memories for Clive and the group, and the opportunity to return and take a trip down memory lane and tour facilities was cause for celebration for the group. For many of them, it has been half a century since they last set foot in the place they once called home.
Clive said: “Visiting the University - we still call it the College - was quite nostalgic and much discussion took place in the evening as to how much it had changed and yet remained the same. I’m glad to say that there are way too many memories to mention. It really was a special time, and since it was a Teacher Training College it didn’t matter what subject you took, you were all likely to attend one or two lectures with each other.
“The college had a real homely feel with people coming from all over the country and bonding. There was so much fun to be had, and perhaps we were able to enjoy the "full student experience". Many of us remained in the Walsall area for quite a while after our three years. I even married a girl who lived on the corner of Gorway Road, who wasn't a student!
“I think we can say that we were happy with our facilities, and our use of "red square", an area now built upon and hosting the library block. Also, we saw the changes in facilities now, such as library, weights room, gym, and the new student accommodation block.”
Following graduation, many of the alumni went on as planned to work and be successful in education, while some achieved particularly impressive professional sporting successes.
“As all of us were students training to become teachers, most of us remained within the education system, some becoming headteachers, LEA advisors, passionate classroom teachers, and "he who shall not be named " an OFSTED inspector!
“Jane Swinnerton-Irons represented Great Britain at hockey; Les Cusworth represented Leicester and England at Rugby and coached the Argentina national team; and many others represented counties and other representative sides in rugby, football, hockey, cricket. I must mention Phil Wade too, who until recently was still plying his trade at circuits such as Donnington as a member of a motorcycle sidecar pairing. At the age of 69. Utter Madness!”
The group was joined on campus and given a tour by David Wedge, Alumni Relations Manager, who said: “It was a genuine pleasure to welcome so many of our alumni back for what was a quite remarkable anniversary. 50 years! The fact that they have stayed so close for so many years highlights the strong friendships that they formed as students, and that university isn’t solely about getting an education, it’s also about life skills you develop and the relationships you make, which if you are fortunate, can last a lifetime.”
Graduates are encouraged to keep in touch with the Alumni team and take advantage of a range of benefits and support on offer to them including a discount for Postgraduate study and opportunities to benefit from volunteering and career advice.
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.