6 November 2013

The retired Senior Vice President of Rolls Royce, Roy Quipp, was among several engineering alumni to attend a reunion at Lancaster University 40 years after graduation.

The graduates of 1973 came from as far away as the US and Canada to meet old friends and discuss their diverse careers including accountancy, software development, property investment and the water industry.

Roy Quipp’s first job after graduation was at Rolls Royce where he was eventually promoted to Senior Vice President-International Military Business, travelling the world as part of his job. He said of his time at Lancaster: “We worked and played hard, meeting many new friends within Engineering and outside making it a significant influence on my future very successful career at Rolls Royce. I consider it to have been a privilege to have graduated from Lancaster University.”

Jim Hawking joined Lucas Electrical as a graduate apprentice and a decade later was managing a department of the Semiconductor Division with a staff of 17 engineers and technicians. He ran the sound desk for the Nuffield Theatre studio while he was a student. “The best moment was when we had the Wurzels in the studio for the Grand Ball while the Kinks were in the Great Hall – and we had the bigger audience!”

Frank Bozic retired as Planning and Development Engineer for Northumbria Water after becoming a chartered engineer. His wife, Margaret (nee Goodier) graduated from Lancaster in 1971 with a degree in History and became a chartered surveyor. He is still impressed by the flexibility of study at Lancaster where he was able to switch from physics to engineering in the first year. “That was something special I thought about the University. So for me the whole atmosphere/feeling at Lancaster was one of newness, uniqueness and specialness, both in the department and of the university as a whole.  The student demos and activities helped add a feeling of radicalism – I recall Bill Corr holding a mock investiture of a toad in Alexander Square when royalty visited on one occasion.  I think there was even a Hendrix-like version of the national anthem played on a guitar. “And I see quite a few of those careers have developed in fields outside of engineering, which I think is the mark of a good engineering course - to produce rounded graduates with the ability to see the wider picture.”

Stuart Lunn lives in Texas where he owns a real estate investment firm with 699 apartments. Following university, he spent some years in research before moving into computing. He was in charge of multi-million pound IT service solutions for major global oil companies like BP and Shell before leaving the corporate world to start his own business in Houston. “We have purchased, refinanced and sold a number of properties and we are presently in the process of buying two baseball academies to diversify from apartments. There is certainly no slowdown for opportunities even in a tough economy. I believe the attention to detail, analysis of opportunities and the ability to manage large scale projects successfully has been a major differentiator for all my endeavours.”

Derek Kingsland spent a few years working in outdoor pursuits like climbing and canoeing before moving into teaching. He lectured in engineering and computing at the Isle of Wight College where he also project managed some major construction projects.

Stephen Poole has spent his career in water and waste water engineering, first in the Midlands and for the last 31 years in Canada where he has recently retired from his job as senior engineer with EPCOR Water in Alberta. He said:  “University changed my life profoundly.  It hugely expanded my horizons and introduced me to the wonders of the diversity of people.”

David Griffiths was a trainee production engineer become qualifying as a management accountant. In 1994 he took part in a management buy-in to create the Result Group which expanded into the US in 2003. He said: “The variety of challenging projects we were given at Lancaster, enabled me to address each new business challenge encountered in my career and bring a different perspective to an issue – quite often from left field.”

Chris Erdal had various jobs and now lives in France near to his daughter Sophie, who also came to Lancaster. He said  “Lancaster gave me the confidence to follow my intuition and one aspect of this is a desire to always let the person I’m facing know where I stand.”

Nigel Yeo became a pilot, training at British Airways before working for Northern Executive Aviation at Manchester Airport in 1976.   He had a Sorcerer computer well before mass PC ownership and he developed a sideline providing small businesses with software and hardware advice. Sadly, Nigel died a few years ago, but is remembered with great fondness by his former classmates.

The group were delighted that Professor Michael French, founding Professor of the Engineering department, was able to join them.  Hosted by Professor Malcolm Joyce, the current Head of Engineering, the group enjoyed a tour of the department and hearing of the plans for the new Engineering building, along with an evening of reminiscing and catching up over a meal at Lancaster House Hotel. 

Organising a reunion of your fellow Lancaster classmates?  Please contact the Alumni and Development Office who can help with the arrangements and welcome you back to campus.