Harris Alumni get a sneak peek into the future of UCLan

30 May 2019

Graduates from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s return to hear about the University’s Masterplan and new Engineering Innovation Centre

Former Harris Institute and Harris College students reunited recently to share old memories, as the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) hosted a reunion for Harris Alumni.

Forty of the alumni attended the event to reminisce about their time at the Harris, as UCLan was formerly known. The eldest alumni in attendance studied at the College in 1942, and the youngest in 1971.

As part of the event, the alumni were given a talk by Iain Martin, Engagement Manager for the University’s new Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), which gave an overview on the new facility, as well as an update on the University’s Masterplan project.

They were also treated to a talk by Dr Keith Vernon, Principal Lecturer and University Historian, who spoke beautifully about the development of the Preston campus and the impact of the University on the cityscape of Preston.          

Amongst the attendees was 92-year-old Sidney Willacy, who studied at the college in the 1940s. Sidney was successful in gaining a scholarship to the Harris and then went on to train at Sandhurst before joining the British Army. He said: “My time at the Harris was the stepping-stone I needed for my long and successful career.”

"It is wonderful to see so many of our alumni and hear some of the stories of how Harris College helped them develop such varied careers."

Sarah Warren, Brand and Stakeholder Development Manager at UCLan, talked about the importance of the Harris legacy on the University today. She said: “It is wonderful to see so many of our alumni and hear some of the stories of how Harris College helped them develop such varied careers.

“The Harris Bursary Fund is still in existence and supports current students in severe financial hardship. Many would not be able to finish their studies without a small injection of support, whether that’s food or fuel vouchers or money towards IT equipment. Donations to the fund on the day, from the sale of Dr Keith Vernon’s book, ‘A History of the University of Central Lancashire’, raised just under £100. All of which will go towards helping students follow the careers they are working so hard for.”

Later in the year, the University is hoping to run another event and invite Harris Alumni in to the Engineering Innovation Centre for a more detailed tour of the facilities available to students, businesses and regional stakeholders.  

If you went to Harris Institute or Harris College, and want to keep in touch with our Alumni Network, please contact the team on telephone 01772 892344, email alumninetwork@uclan.ac.uk