History in the making
Direct descendant of UCLan founding father graduates from institution
The great-great-great grandson of the man credited as one of the founding fathers of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has graduated from the institution his ancestor established in its earliest form 190 years ago.
Roger Livesey was awarded a Masters in Community and Social Care from UCLan this week after returning to study 18 months ago following a 27-year career at BAE Systems. Roger is the three times removed grandson of Joseph Livesey, a local cheesemonger, philanthropist and founder of the Temperance Movement who, in 1828, co-founded the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge in Cannon Street; a place where people could come together for thought-provoking lectures, to access a library and share ideas. This school of learning eventually grew to become UCLan almost two centuries later.
Roger, 53, said: “I am extremely proud to be graduating from UCLan and of my family connections. Joseph helped to put Preston on the map and had a vision to open-up education to everyone. He talked about diversity at a time when it was an alien concept, so I think he’d be really pleased with the work UCLan does to encourage people from all walks of life to come to university.”
Roger, who has lived in Clayton-Le-Woods since 1996, only found out he was a direct descendant of Joseph Livesey at aged 22 after someone from the Livesey Historical Society prompted him to fully investigate his family tree.
"I am extremely proud to be graduating from UCLan and of my family connections. Joseph helped to put Preston on the map and had a vision to open-up education to everyone."
“I knew we were related, but I didn’t realise how closely” he said. “I grew up in Burscough but always had an affinity to Preston. When I walk on the flag market and down Cannon Street I get a strange feeling I’m at home. Looking back at paintings of Joseph there is definitely a family resemblance, my dad Kenneth especially looked like him. We all have similar noses and eyebrows.”
The dad-of-one is now studying at Runshaw College on the UCLan validated PGCE for further and higher education. Like his forefather Joseph, Roger says he feels inspired to help people through education and community projects.
He added: “I ended up working in engineering, but it wasn’t my passion. Returning to study has been refreshing and has ignited my desire for politics and social enterprise. I’ve worked with Galloway’s Society for the Blind as part of my Masters and am keen to continue this line of work.
“I think Joseph would be very proud of what I’ve achieved, especially as I’m registered deaf but I’ve never let this stop me from being successful. My ambition is to eventually teach at UCLan and in my own way, stand in his shoes.”