Former student receives degree after leaving university 57 years ago
(13 March 2003)
An 82-year old former student of the University of Durham has been awarded his degree in Naval Architecture 57 years after leaving the University.
Victor Newman passed all his exams except one in his final year in 1945. A resit of the exam proved difficult at the time due to the prevailing war conditions. Now, 57 years on and in a unique agreement between Newcastle and Durham universities, Mr Newman is formally a Durham University graduate as a member of King’s College in Newcastle. The College was part of Durham University until 1963 when the separate University of Newcastle upon Tyne was formed.
Mr Newman, who lives in Australia with his family, was delighted to become a Bachelor of Science at last: “I am really pleased I can officially call myself a graduate although I am already 82. I have had great pleasure in showing my grand-children my degree certificate.
“I remember that the war years made it hard to study and work in order to support myself. Without the required funds I had no choice but to take a full time job and discontinue studying to sit for that one exam.”
Both universities were surprised to hear such a request from so long ago, but were happy to grant Mr Newman his wish. Nicola Parker, Acting Registrar at the University of Durham commented: “We felt this was a unique situation and we were delighted to award Mr Newman his degree, with the support from Newcastle University. Studying for a degree during the war must have been hard and we appreciate that the students of that time will have faced some considerable difficulties during their studies. We are pleased to be able to grant Mr Newman his degree and wish him all the best for the future.”
Durham’s request was met with full support by Newcastle University. Registrar, John Hogan, said: “We were delighted to join with Durham in recognizing Mr Newman’s achievements in the light of the particular difficulties he encountered during the Second World War.
“King’s College, Durham and later Newcastle University, have a long and distinguished tradition of Naval Architecture training, and it seems especially fitting that Mr Newman’s degree should be awarded in the year in which the School of Marine Science and Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary”, he added.
Following his time at King’s College, Mr Newman was elected a Graduate Member of the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. He went on to have a successful career in business with his own plastics manufacturing company which branched off in Australia in 1952 where the company became public. Mr Newman also founded a business producing machines for the printing industry which continues successfully today with his son as Chief Executive Officer.
Notes to Editors
- King’s College was formed in 1937 from a merger between the College of Medicine, and Armstrong College which offered a wide range of pure and applied science as well as arts courses. The University had a Warden of the Durham Colleges and a Rector of King’s College who served alternately as Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University.
- Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology, formerly the Department of Naval Architecture recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
- In 1996, former student Harley Moseley collected his Bachelor of Civil Law degree 48 years after qualifying for it at Codrington College in Barbados. He enrolled at the College, which was affiliated to Durham University, on an Island Scholarship and qualified in 1948 but missed the degree ceremony. He finally collected his degree at graduation in June 1996.
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Victor Newman can be contacted by email through Dionne Hamil.