Inaugural Carnegie School of Sport Reunion Lunch
The lunch was an opportunity for alumni to catch up, network and learn about recent developments at Leeds Beckett – and of course there was an opportunity to soak up some sunshine during a tour of campus.
Guests were welcomed with an arrival drink and an opportunity to chat with fellow alumni, academic staff and current students as well as being able to view memorabilia and photographs of years gone by. Dean of Carnegie School of Sport and alumnus, Peter Mackreth, welcomed the group saying “Various things have changed [at the University], but the heart of the campus remains the same.” He then introduced alumnus and rugby union legend, Stuart Lancaster, who spoke about his time at the University and describing how; despite enjoying different roles around the country, his base has always remained in Leeds. Following a light lunch, guests were offered the opportunity to relive their time on campus by revisiting old haunts, particularly the modernised sporting facilities before returning to the James Graham or “main block” as some may remember it, for a Q&A session with Jamaican diver, Yona Knight-Wisdom who graduated from our Sport & Exercise Science course just last year.
Margaret Wainwright (nee Scotney), who was the first woman to undertake the BEd Physical Education degree at what was then City of Leeds and Carnegie College in 1972 said “I applied to Carnegie College in 1968 because of its elite reputation and as a sports woman, through and through, I couldn’t face an occupation without sport. Sadly, however, the only real option was to leave the college as a teacher. Now it appears that there are so many different opportunities available to students in research, sports science and sports management to name but a few, where they can pursue excellence.
“The main ‘wow’ factor was the incredibly wonderful athletics facilities; here I saw the potential to produce champions in any of the athletic disciplines! I rarely feel envious, but what a contrast to the cinder track we had that was situated just behind Carnegie Hall. Keen athlete as I was, I valued my very existence too greatly to risk life and limb on this antiquated facility.
“As for the campus itself, it was a joy to see the Acre still gloriously unspoilt in the magnificent setting of the hostels. This has clearly not altered from the days when my mother attended the college in the pre-war years, occupying my old room in Leighton before me. It was strange not seeing the bustle of the students as they rushed from these hostels to attend their lectures but I understand that our old rooms are now offices.
“I was so impressed how Carnegie has produced some top-class people over the years! Our two main speakers are fine examples of this; but on talking to other attendees at the alumni gathering, Carnegie students have, forged forward and achieved so much both personally and in helping the future generations of sportsmen and women.”
Vic Ambler (Physical Education, 1957) added “We had a very good lunch – the food is better than I remember, even taking into account our hall kitchen in 1957, when we had some 80 students.
“I was impressed by the staff who attended, I found them keen and committed and there is something of a new look about Leeds Beckett University – for one thing, there is renewed interest and support for Carnegie, something that has perhaps been undervalued although the sports teams, including rugby, have done well and I am pleased to say, so does basketball.” Vic was the England men’s basketball coach for 12 years and remains the only coach to have taken England to the EuroBasket (European Championship) finals, in 1981. “In my view the facilities are excellent and the recruitment, including research and teaching has been stepped up, I have the impression that their position in the University’s league tables is due for a shake-up – doubtless, upwards. The speed in which the facilities and the building programme has developed is immense although with so many sports students these days, it needs to be. In all this, Carnegie does and will further, prosper – come and see for yourself!”
Jackie Holden, Alumni Relations Manager at Leeds Beckett said “It was a delight to welcome so many alumni from throughout the years back onto campus – we had a fantastic mix of people joining us from as early as the class 1957 to as recently as those who graduated last year. I enjoyed hearing tales from our alumni of times gone by and about the many successes they have enjoyed since leaving the University. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event, building upon the success of this one."
If you studied in our Carnegie School of Sport and would like to attend next year’s reunion then please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.