When Arthur Williams graduated from what was then the Leicester College of Technology and Commerce, Elvis Presley was in the charts, Eisenhower was in the White House and the inventor of the web – Tim Berners-Lee – was just being born.
The world was quite different and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was no exception.
But 63 years on, and after a long and distinguished career in pharmacy, Mr Williams returned to the campus on which he had earned his degree to be named as the first DMU Alumnus of the Month.
Sitting on the balcony of the Vijay Patel Building (a balcony and building which were not even conceived when he was last here) Mr Williams said he had been honoured to be asked back to receive the award.
Arthur Williams receiving his certificate
He said: “I’m very proud to be selected as the first alumnus of the month of the university, very proud indeed.
“It’s a great honour, it shows that the university is not dismissive of its alumni, it’s interested in the alumni and wants to develop their contribution.
“It sent me on a roller coaster in a good a way, thinking back to all the people I knew and the adventures we had and the work we did so it’s been a very emotional experience.”
On arriving back at DMU’s Leicester campus, Arthur and his wife Barbara were taken on a tour by Callum Corley from the alumni team. Arthur praised Callum and said: “Your kindness in facilitating our visit, together with the generosity of DMU is also appreciated.”
He said: “You just have a feeling coming into such wonderful buildings of great energy and purpose, direction and clearly you can see the connections and developments overseas.
“So there’s a sense of terrific purpose and dynamism. It really is quite palpable as you come into the buildings of a place that has a clear vision where it wants to be and is driving that forward.”
Leicester College of Technology and Commerce back in 1950
When looking back at why Arthur chose to study at the college, he said: “The then Head of the School of Pharmacy, Colin Gunn was very much renowned in the profession of pharmacy and he had written a definitive text book on Pharmacy practice.
“So I remember thinking if it’s Colin Gunn running the show it can’t be bad. I was proved to be right in that regard.”
Sport played a pivotal role in 1955 as much as it does now at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). Arthur said: “I do remember particularly the basketball, although I am tall I was never very good at it but there was very excellent sporting activities.”
Arthur gave two messages to students at DMU. He said: “Enjoy what you do.
“I can’t do any better in repeating the message from Colin Gunn gave all those years ago. Whatever your personal reasons, there is no escaping the fact that there is in this the spirit of service. If you do not have or do not acquire this spirit of service you will be false to your calling. If you have it or acquire it you will gain unbounded satisfaction.”
Arthur also had a message for the alumni team: “Our hope is that the work of your Department will go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead.”
Posted on Wednesday 16th January 2019