Dad follows 40-year dream to graduate
Sean Livesey fulfilled his lifetime ambition after graduating with a First in history
A Preston man has fulfilled his lifetime ambition of gaining a university degree, four decades after leaving school.
Sean Livesey donned his academic cap and gown this week and graduated with a BA (Hons) History from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
After studying at St Edmund Campion High School and WR Tuson College, the dad-of-one went straight into the world of work.
Years went by as he worked as a gas contract supervisor for Progress Housing Group but his passion for history, and a yearning for studying in higher education, never left him.
When an opportunity to take voluntary redundancy arrived, Sean decided to bite the bullet and follow his heart.
The 57-year-old, who has been awarded the Sydney Lee Prize for the Best Overall Performance in History, said: “I can't actually believe that after 40 years of dreaming that I’ve now achieved it. It’s been a very long time coming and for many years it seemed like to would never happen. I’m so delighted and the cherry on top of the cake is I’ve graduated with a First.”
"I can't actually believe that after 40 years of dreaming that I’ve now achieved it. It’s been a very long time coming and for many years it seemed like to would never happen"— Mature history graduate Sean Livesey
His first interaction with UCLan was visiting an open day and a chance meeting with an academic gave him the courage to sign up.
“I was inspired by the enthusiasm of Dr Billy Frank,” said Sean. “He was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, supportive and encouraged me to give it a go. It was also good to hear the positive experiences of current and former students that were conveyed at that event so from that moment I knew I was making the right decision.”
To help him adjust to the rigours of university study, Sean undertook a one-year foundation course. After excelling, he progressed on to the three-year undergraduate degree programme.
Sean, who juggled the last two years of studies with working part-time at Royal Preston Hospital, commented: “I’ve really enjoyed expanding my historical knowledge into areas that I initially had little interest in. I’ve also made new, lifelong friends and enjoyed debating with lots of other students.
“Covid-19 was the big challenge and the move from on campus face-to-face teaching to online lectures and seminars was an adjustment, but the online content provided by the history department was second to none.”
Sean, whose 19-year-old daughter Georgina has just completed her first year studying social work at UCLan, plans to return to the history textbooks in September.
“I’m planning on completing a master of research in history,” he added. “History is such an interesting subject and there’s always something new to learn. I also love how the scope ranges from small events in local history right through to major global conflicts which still affect the world today.”