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So happy to be back, 50 years on … phone call connects Alan with an old pal and a new-look DMU

A graduate who spent some of his ‘happiest years’ studying at DMU in its previous incarnation has returned after almost half a century, meeting up with an old friend and taking in the stunning recent changes to campus.  

Alan Gibson, 73, who studied Textiles between 1966 and 1971 at the then Leicester Polytechnic, took a trip down memory lane from his Bradford home, after getting in touch with the Alumni team.

He also reconnected with his former lecturer and ‘lifelong friend’ Peter Brown, now retired.

Alan and Peter

Alan (above, right) said he was impressed by the new-look, 21st-century DMU campus, saying: “My years here were some of the happiest of my life. I wanted to come back and see what it looks like now. It has changed so much!

“I remember the Hawthorne building - I had lectures in T14 on Gateway, which has now been demolished.”

Alan recalled that back in the 1960s there was an international feel on campus, just as there is today.

He said: “There were three students on the course from Ireland, one from Lebanon, one from London, one from Zimbabwe, three from Columbia, one from Brazil - and two or three from Leicester.”

He added: “One of my greatest moments was developing a lifelong friendship with my former lecturer Peter Brown.”

Peter was a Senior Lecturer in Textiles at Leicester Polytechnic from 1965 to 1968.  He then moved to America and worked as a lecturer at North Carolina State University for seven years. It was there Alan and Peter first reconnected.

As part of Alan’s second course at Leicester, studying Higher National Diploma in Textiles from 1969-1971, he spent three months working in America as part of a student exchange programme. 

Former lecturer Peter, at that time living Stateside, remembered: “One day I received a call from Alan and another student, Philip, who were both stranded in New York!

“They asked if I could help them get some work. They ended up staying at my house for almost six weeks, working in the lab at the university. I always put people first, whether it is students or anyone else.”

Since Peter moved back to the UK, the two have rekindled their friendship and the day after Alan’s visit to DMU, they met up at Peter’s home.

The exciting revisit and happy reunion all began with Alan’s phone call to Nick Ballard, from DMU’s Alumni team. Alan asked Nick: “Could you see if you can arrange a reunion with my classmates … after 47 years …”

Alan added: “It was on my mind to come and visit the university.”

Peter said: “It was wonderful to see Alan after so many years.”

Posted on Tuesday 15th May 2018

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