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Spring/Summer 2009

evolve The magazine for Friends of Coventry University

Making history

Your memories of Coventry and student life from over the years

Power play

How one graduate’s enterprise is changing lives in Africa

City living

See the radical changes that will regenerate Coventry’s city centre

Classroom innovation Making radical changes to teaching Engineering and Computing






ho t


W in a a lu w he xu ee ar ry ke t o h nd f C ote a ov l in wa en th y i tr e n y

br ea


How farmer and TV personality Jimmy Doherty left Coventry to set up his pig farm

evolve contents


contents 8

There are so many changes going on around the campus and in the City that we wanted to share them with you in this issue of evolve. We have stories from graduates remembering the good old days of The Lanch, as well as a look at how some of you are helping with the creation of the impressive new Engineering and Computing building. You can also see the plans for the new Citycentre and see how many of your old haunts are being replaced by new and more stylish constructions.

20 18

We celebrated these changes in March at a Gala Ball, which many of you attended and we have the pictures on page 34 for you to enjoy. As the campus changes, one thing remains constant – the affection alumni have for this remarkable institution as you will read throughout this issue. If this is the first time you have received evolve, then hello and welcome to your alumni association’s magazine. We look forward to hearing your story to include in a future issue.

Keep in touch, Ian

regulars 4 Update

Contact us

Catch up on all the latest campus and graduate news

Telephone: +44 (0) 24 7688 8589

12 Get Connected


Find out what old friends are doing now and get back in touch with them

Post: FOCUS, The Development Office, Alan Berry Building, Room 35, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB Website: E-News: A free monthly alumni e-newsletter. Subscribe by emailing SUBSCRIBE to Facebook: Become a Fan and join the Friends of Coventry University group.

28 Profile Scholar Thandokazi Magi reveals how a scholarship fund changed her life

30 Lecturer in focus

Linkedin: Link up with the University and other professionals.


32 Letters

This magazine is written and edited by Cheryl Liddle; designed by George Lah-Anyane and Linda Leung for Coventry University, photographs by Graham Harwood and printed by Emmersons Press. Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue of evolve. Please keep sending in your stories.

This magazine is published twice a year for alumni of Coventry University. All letters, photos and news are welcomed but we reserve the right to edit any contributions. The opinions expressed in evolve are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Alumni Relations Office or Coventry University.


Visiting Professor David Kirk remembers his first day at Coventry, nearly 50 years ago

Your views and opinions about the University and the magazine

34 Reunions Pictures of Alumni at this year’s prestigious Gala Ball

36 Events Find out about the latest events and activities on offer to graduates


The University’s campus is a learning environment in which students from all backgrounds can achieve their ambitions. It is the physical interface for our research and consultancy work with business and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors. It must support those partnerships effectively so that the University can make its proper contribution to economic productivity and service effectiveness in the city, region and country.



features 8 Big interview: Jimmy Doherty How a love of nature has turned Jimmy Doherty into a farmer and TV personality

29 Job search Advice on tracking down employment in the current financial climate

16 Research: World in Motion Coventry is leading the way on community cohesion

18 Making History Memories from around the campus as the Sir Frank Whittle building is demolished

20 City living A look at the development that is changing the face of Coventry

22 Classroom Innovation A £60 million investment to create a new, high tech Engineering and Computing building

24 Enterprise: Playground power How one graduate has created a business with a conscience

26 Recipe for success

How Honorary Graduate and entrepreneur Perween Warsi created a successful business

Vice-Chancellor Madeleine Atkins explains the impact campus improvements will have on Coventry

offers 36


a weekend hotel break for two! 38 Benefits All the perks of being a member of FOCUS with discounts on days out and hotel breaks

40 University gifts Buy Coventry University branded souvenirs to remind you of your student days

This magazine is available in alternative formats on request. Please contact via +44 (0) 24 7688 8589, or

Increasingly, our students and staff expect to be able to learn, teach and undertake research in technologically ‘smart’ ways. The campus infrastructure must enable this and anticipate developments in electronic communications and digital media, which will impact deeply on the ways we work in the future. It is for these reasons that we are investing £160m in the development of the campus over the next 10 years. We plan to invoke a clear sense of identity, place and community for future students, with exciting new high-tech spaces to learn and interact in student life. The first phase of our redevelopment is to build a new Student Enterprise Centre on the site of the former Engineering and Computing building (Sir Frank Whittle or C Block as many of you will remember it). The demolition of this building was an emotional day, but one which firmly marked the start of a new chapter for the University. Future Engineering and Computing students can look forward to a new £60 million high-tech development that is now underway. This intelligent building will implement radical new methods of teaching and learning, which you can read more about in this magazine (see page 22). The City-centre is also undergoing its own regeneration programme and we are proud to not only be supporting that but also playing our part in changing the face of Coventry. I hope you will continue to be a part of this exciting journey and feel proud of the direction your University is taking.

Professor Madeleine Atkins Vice-Chancellor

update evolve update

The latest campus and graduate news


Pushing the boat out C

a cottage holiday!

oventry was recently the first university to exhibit at the London International Boat Show, showing work from successful Boat Design students and graduates. Over 100,000 people attended the show in January and the University was there to promote the School of Art and Design’s expertise in automotive and boat design. Latest concepts and more traditional designs attracted interest from businesses. Four leading organisations in the boat industry have since expressed an interest in working with the University on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (a Government funded scheme that encourages collaboration between business and universities). Possibilities for student projects and placements were invited from various companies too. The course is enabling graduates to work in boat design, such as Peter Wells who graduated last year with a First and was shortlisted for young designer of the year in the World Super Yacht Awards. “When the idea of starting a Boat Design degree was announced during my first year I tentatively signed up, with the idle fantasy of becoming a super yacht designer,” said Peter. “Five years on and in the job I never thought existed, working at Reymond Langton Design; I have already been involved in a wide variety of projects – including work on the complete exterior of a 45m motor yacht.”



ith a job in financial communications, one graduate is in the money in more ways than one after winning £250 off a cottage holiday. Angela Elliott née Sinclair (Communications, Culture and Media, 1996) works in the marketing team for Barclaycard and was delighted to hear she had won the evolve competition. “I never win anything so this is a surprise. I’ll be taking my husband with me. In fact we’ve just returned from Cuba where we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary, so this will be another holiday for us to enjoy!” Angela, pictured with her husband above left, who used to live in Singer Hall and can remember nights out at The Planet, correctly unscrambled the name Jaguar as the car manufacturer who is associated with Coventry to win the cottages4you prize. Graduates who didn’t win and would like to enjoy a cottage break can still get a 10% discount on all cottages4you properties. Search online and check availability for your dream holiday at or call the holiday helpline on +44 (0) 845 268 1282 and quote COV10 when booking.

Sweet boost for Physiotherapy


hysiotherapy students will benefit from new equipment thanks to funding from the William Cadbury Charitable Trust. The Trust, which was founded in 1923 by William Cadbury to further his charitable activities, gave £10,000 to the University, which will be used to buy a new ultrasound machine and fund a research project using the equipment. The grant also received Government match funding, topping up the total for Physiotherapy to use to £15,000. The research will be around exercise prescription and its effect on muscle strengthening.

Associate Head of Physiotherapy and Dietetics Ann Green said: “We are delighted with this new funding. Ultrasound is at the forefront of physiotherapy practice and this equipment means we can teach postgraduate and undergraduate students using cutting edge technology. It also enables us to gather evidence-based research to benefit future treatment.” The William Cadbury Charitable Trust provides grants to fund a range of projects in Birmingham and the West Midlands – including medical and healthcare projects and medical research.


book launch A

special book celebrating Coventry University has been published and was launched at a Gala Ball in March.

The Ball, which involved graduates, staff and local businesses, took guests on a journey through the ages to reflect the content of the new book The Phoenix Rises: A Portrait of Coventry University in its City. (See page 34 for photos from the Gala Ball).

The book explores the institution’s history from 1829 when it was a private Mechanic’s Institute and in 1843 when it became Coventry School of Design – supporting the ribbon weaving and manufacture industry which was at the heart of the city’s economy. Many graduates have also contributed to the 160-page book by sending in personal accounts and experiences of their time studying in Coventry. Christine Player (Applied Social Sciences, 1973) who sent in her memories of Coventry and is included in a special feature on page 18 said: “I am looking forward to getting a copy of the anniversary book of Coventry University to add to my Midlands memorabilia, and to add to my memories of a place I will never forget.” Alumni and students can buy the hardback book at a special discounted price of just £30 (£40 RRP), plus postage and packing. Call +44 024 7688 8774 or visit phoenixrises to buy the book securely online.

Charitable adventure


ne graduate brought a new meaning to island hopping this May by visiting all 15 inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides to raise money for charity. Lee Peyton (Technical Response and Incident Management for Specialist Rescue, 2006) aimed to use the skills he learnt on his course to complete his 300 mile journey in under 60 hours. Lee and his friend Garry Mackay kayaked between all 15 islands, cycled 250 miles across all of them and ran to the top of the highest hill on each island – all within two and a half days. Their painstaking journey took them from the south of the island chain to the most northerly

tip – the Butt of Lewis – to raise £25,000 for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity. Lee, who is a Watch Manager at Musselburgh Fire Station, said: “We dreamt up this challenge as a good way to push our limits of physical endurance, explore some of the wildest and most attractive scenery in Scotland and generate a great deal of cash to support the excellent work of CLIC Sargent”. The friends who both work for Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue Service in Edinburgh are no strangers to fundraising. The pair have previously taken part in the Three Peaks Challenge, the Drambuie Pursuit and competed in

Adventurers: (l-r) Garry and Lee preparing for their adventure, see more

Glasgow’s Great Scottish run for the past three years dressed in full fire fighting kit with breathing apparatus.

Did you know? Former editor of The Sun newspaper David Yelland was a graduate of Coventry University


evolve update

Book sponsorship supports students


raduates are invited to support future generations of students by sponsoring new textbooks. The Buy-A-Book Appeal is an opportunity for graduates to help top up existing University resources to give students greater access to books to help their studies. Philippe Rawson, pictured below, (Business Management, 2008) remembered one book’s influence. “The most important book I used during my studies was Integrated Marketing Communications by David Picton and Amanda Broderick, 2005,” said Philippe. “This book inspired me to start a career in marketing.” Donations in multiples of £25 will pay for new textbooks that can be added to Lanchester Library’s stock. Every book that is sponsored will also feature a bookplate with the donor’s name to act as a permanent reminder of their generosity. Annual Fund Officer Brian Wilson encourages graduates to back the appeal. “Books are the cornerstone of education and with your help we can ensure future generations of students benefit from additional resources to improve access to the knowledge base that the University has already established,” he said. Visit buyabook to make a donation or donate up-to-date textbooks you no longer need. Email alumni@ for more details.

After Coventry…

Don Spratt (Mechanical Engineering, 1971) went onto study an MSc in Advanced Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics at City University, before embarking on an engineering career that has led him to NASA


fter working for the Department of the Environment at the Fire Research Station, I moved to work for the Fluor Corporation in London, working on rotating machinery for the Petrochemical Industry. While on business in California, I was very lucky to meet my lovely and dedicated wife (now of 30 years) [pictured above right with Don] and in 1978, I transferred from England to the Fluor offices in California. I did a couple of roles in Canada and Colorado before my US citizenship came through in 1985 and I then changed careers to Aerospace Engineering (a boyhood dream) by being hired at Martin Marietta in Denver. We were immediately sent to Vandenberg Air Force Station back in California for me to work on the fuelling systems for the Space Shuttle, but this only lasted a year due to the unfortunate Space Shuttle Challenger incident. I worked on different programs with the same company before it changed names to Lockheed-Martin in 2001 and I was sent to Texas to work on the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft (a.k.a F-35 and the Lightning II) as an Integrity Engineer and enjoyed many business trips back to the UK. In 2004, I took early retirement from Lockheed and returned to Florida to work back with The Aerospace Corporation on the space shuttle return-to-flight program after the Columbia disaster.

I was hired by NASA in 2007 and I now work as a Safety and Mission Assurance Engineer on the Space Shuttle and Constellation programmes, the latter being the programme that will return men to the Moon (in 2018) and on to Mars in the 2030s. I have no plans for another retirement! I would like to get in touch with anyone who remembers me from Lanchester Poly or any alumni from Coventry that now work at NASA. Get in touch:

Caught on camera

A new video featuring the dramatic changes to the campus has been uploaded onto the University’s own TV website CUTV.

The video includes images from the buildings that are currently under construction and will be updated as the campus continues to develop.

The CUTV channel has lots of videos about the University, including recordings of media personalities, such as Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, who have taken part in the Coventry Conversation series. Students have also taken part in some of the films about student life and the city. To watch CUTV visit:

Book of dreams


reams became a reality for one Coventry graduate when the self-help book she published also won an award. Denise Farquharson (Computer Studies, 1993) was named a Finalist in the National USA Best Book Awards for self-help books for her motivational book called Picture your Dreams. Denise, pictured above right, who works for Severn Trent Water as a Software Release Manager, decided to write the book when she had an undiagnosed illness in 2005, believing she might die without being able to tell her three young children about her life’s achievements. The book encourages people to

think of an image that visualises what they want to achieve and then to focus on how they will reach their goal. Denise has now recovered from her mystery illness and has since gone onto run motivational workshops to help people fill out their Dreams book. On winning the award Denise said: “It was a real surprise as I was up against thousands of other new authors. It is great to know a UK

author can achieve something like that in the USA,” said Denise. “Everyone has a dream to fulfill something in life. We all just need a bit of a push and it can happen. Dreams can come true.” Picture your Dreams is available online or in bookshops, priced £12.99. For more information visit

University celebrates world leading research

Online course in health communication

The University’s research is ‘worldleading’ according to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008.

oventry is the first UK university to offer a postgraduate course, which brings together the knowledge and practical skills needed for students to be effective health communicators and managers of health communication.

Coventry has seven subject areas which received the highest rating in the overall quality profile. This positive assessment contributes towards Coventry’s ranking in the overall university league tables. RAE2008 is conducted by the UK universities’ higher education funding bodies and is based on the views of international experts in all the main subject areas. It is seven years since the last RAE and although the scoring system has changed, 81% of subjects assessed have improved. The results will determine the funding institutions get for research in 2009-10. Over £1.5 billion will be allocated annually from 2009-10. For more information about Coventry’s research visit

Did you know?


of our graduates secured graduate level employment in 2007


The MA in Health Communication Design is available for part-time study by using distance learning and from September 2009 will be delivered online, with optional days of activities on campus. Developed by the University’s new Health Design and Technology Institute in conjunction with the School of Art and Design, the course has been designed to support professionals who are seeking to augment their knowledge and skills in this important field. Students can choose to do the full MA or an intermediate award of a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate, or they can select one individual module and study a specific aspect of health communication. Drawing on the University’s experience of online learning, the course makes use of a variety of interactive audio-visual learning methods to make studying online both engaging and challenging. It uses a range of teaching methods including online lectures and collaborative work and there is particular emphasis on practical communication projects. The course team recognises the challenges of combining study with the demands of work and family, and has built flexibility into the programme in several ways, including: • Intermediate awards • Three start points per year • The option to only enrol for one module, either for continuing professional development or as a taster to help students decide whether to undertake the full MA programme. • The possibility of tailoring some assignments so that they are directly relevant to an individual student’s current or intended employment.

For more information about the course and how to apply, contact Dr Sandra Harrison, Course Director on +44 (0)24 7688 8540 or email


Farming hero Jimmy Doherty’s passion for nature and the good life has led to a successful career in farming and on television. Jimmy took time out from the farm to recall happy days spent in Coventry and to talk about the friends he made for life at University

evolve big interview


immy Doherty still looks at the world with a childlike sense of wonder. Impressed by the natural mechanics of the earth, his excited mind constantly whirrs with new ideas for getting others to join him in embracing the good life. This passion inspired Jimmy to give up city living and set up his own rare breed pig farm. It’s also what has turned this former PhD student into something of a celebrity after his mission to set up his farm using traditional farming methods was made into the popular TV series Jimmy’s Farm and a book called On the Farm. His love of nature began when his family moved to the Essex countryside when he was only three. “I used to run around and was always impressed by the colour and vibrancy of nature. I used to keep snakes, lizards, ferrets and terrapins in the garage. I was always investigating things and interested in animals,” explained Jimmy. “I always loved indigenous breeds of animals. One of my best friends’ dad worked on a farm and I once watched him deliver a lamb. It made me understand about life and want to be closer to nature.” This intrigue in the natural world led him to be the youngest Assistant Entomologist at the Molehill Wildlife Park when he was just 16. He continued to work there while he studied for his degree in Zoology and then later moved on to Coventry University to do a PhD in Entomology studying insects in semi-natural, environments. At Coventry he set up an insect laboratory and taught Animal Ecology and Animal Philosophy to undergraduates. “I set up an insect breeding laboratory in D block [James Starley building] and it had all sorts of weird cages and millions of pickled flies,” remembered Jimmy. “I used to look

“I used to keep snakes, lizards, ferrets and terrapins in the garage...” down the microscope at them and would often play a joke on people by putting boot polish around the lens so they would get a print on their face. Well you have to make things fun, don’t you?” It’s this sense of fun that University technician Mark Bodycote remembers about Jimmy, describing him as a character that always had good parties. The two have remained good friends and Mark often visits the farm to help out with one of Jimmy’s many projects. “I often ring Mark up with lots of insane questions,” laughed Jimmy who also made friends with graduate Rick Spriggs who supported him in turning his farm idea into a reality. “I helped Rick identify flies in my laboratory as part

of his course. I found out he used to be a butcher and I asked him if he’d be interested in working on my farm one day. He was and the rest is history. Although he doesn’t work on the farm anymore, he only lives down the road.” Surprisingly, naturalist Jimmy has fond memories of living in the busy city of Coventry, hemmed in by a concrete ring road without a green field for miles. “I liked the feel of the city. Some people say it’s not a nice place but it’s very industrialised and I think there’s something very real about Coventry. It was good fun. The people are nice and it has a very good covered market where I used to buy rabbits, pigeons and salmon – all sorts.”


evolve big interview might make people cut corners when it comes to food shopping. “Everyone has to live within their means but food is the most important thing in life. You can do without CDs and iPods but you can’t live without food,” he explained. “It controls your health and state of mind – helps you to think and work. So always go for the best quality – not necessarily the best cut of meat, go for the cut you can afford at the best quality. We throw away 30% of the food we buy, which is terrible. Eat less but eat better. Be more frugal with the food we cook, would be my advice.”

He says Coventry is where he perfected his cooking, often competing with his housemate. “My French housemate said all English food was rubbish. I proved him wrong. I get great satisfaction from cooking – especially when you know where your food has come from,” said Jimmy who is also a good friend of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. “It’s a rubbish excuse to say you have no time to cook – how long is an episode of Eastenders? Half an hour? Cook a meal instead of watching that!” It’s not just about the cooking, Jimmy really cares about the produce used to cook a meal too. It’s evident from the effort he has put into creating the perfect environment to rear his pigs and it pays off in the produce he sells on the farm. “If you make the best life for animals, I feel you have to honour their lives by cooking the best food out of their products. You have to pay a bit more for well cared for meat though because it takes time and more money to look after them. But if you’re buying sausages that are made from free-range pigs with 95% meat in them, then only eat two of them instead of four – it will fill you up more anyway,” said Jimmy, who recognises that the recession


It is this mantra that spurred Jimmy onto setting up his farm in the first place, that and a book he read by John Seymour called the Complete Guide to Self-sufficiency. “It sold me a wonderful dream about living off the land,” he said. “I was determined to do it. There’s nothing worse than having regret in your life. Failure is much easier to deal with.” And while Jimmy is the first to admit he has made mistakes (and been criticised for them by farmers who said his television series showed him leaping from one farming crisis to another), his spirit and enthusiasm is hard to suppress. “Once you put yourself out there and get filmed like I did solidly for three years all your mistakes are live for everyone to see. You’re bound to get criticised,” said Jimmy who was recently vindicated after making a programme called Farming Heroes. “I wanted to show what an amazing job our farmers do. They’re out there every day in all weathers. Farming is the most important industry we have. Without organised agriculture,

we just wouldn’t be here. It’s the basis of civilisation. I am helping out in my small way – I want to show what a dynamic industry it is.” The programme paid off and Jimmy’s recent Farmers’ Weekly award for Farming Champion of the Year proved the farming community had finally accepted him. Jimmy’s farm now includes a nature trail, woodland walks, a farm shop, play areas and a field kitchen. There’s even a website for the Essex farm at He spends his time developing new farm attractions such as his new 100ft by 50ft Butterfly House that has real banana trees as well as creating a garden in homage to Charles Darwin to celebrate the biologist’s 200th birthday. He also recorded a programme about the influential thinker that was aired on BBC2 in March as part of the Darwin season. Jimmy replicated some of Darwin’s eccentric experiments to appeal to young people and breathe life into science. It’s an approach that has caught the attention of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown as Jimmy was recently invited to Downing Street to discuss ways to encourage more children to be interested in science. For Jimmy, education is about more than just earning qualifications though. “University isn’t just about learning facts and figures. You learn life skills and meet friends that will be your friends for life. University equips you for the future,” said Jimmy. “If you’re a farmer growing produce you can do everything but control the weather and you have to be prepared for that eventuality. Education is preparation for life.”

Jimmy Doherty’s student profile Lived: 229 Daventry Road, Cheylesmore Favourite pub: Inspire Cafe Bar sold the best beers from around the world. I liked Whitefriars too – we would sit in the dark and have a lot of academic conversations. Favourite memory: I used to go fly fishing on the river and catch American Signal Crayfish – we used to cook them up. Parties were always round mine.

“If you’re a farmer growing produce you can do everything but control the weather and you have to be prepared for that eventuality. Education is preparation for life.”


evolve community

Find out what Coventry graduates are doing now and share your news with others in the next issue.

Graduated 1960s

Graduated 1970s

David Sansom Electrical Engineering, 1966

Shirley Wells (nee Dales/ColesParsons) Graphic Design, 1972

After leaving the Lanchester, I completed the IEE (now IET) Engineering Council examinations and subsequently became a Chartered Engineer. I spent 10 years working in Germany following which I returned to the UK and did a part-time MBA. I am now semi-retired and live in Somerset.


I left University and joined British Aerospace as a materials and composites engineer. I spent 10 years learning aircraft engineering and materials and eventually set up my own company to exploit the technology, namely Advanced Plastics and Composites. Today their company produces injection moulded parts, mainly for the automotive industry and has grown from three employees in 1992 to over 40 people at its heyday and with a turnover of £3 million.

Swee Lee Wang System and Control, 1979 Since graduating I have worked my way up the career ladder, starting off as an engineer and climbing up to General Manager and Vice President of Siemens. Today, I run my own company supplying and implementing wireless broadband solutions for ISP, Telcos and enterprise customers. I also have another company manufacturing hospitality telephones and guestroom devices for the global hospitality market.

Douglas Robertson Applied Chemistry, 1968 The highlights of my computing career were two space projects. The first was to design on-board software for Beagle2 (micro geochemical lab) which was taken to Mars by the Mars Express spacecraft to search for signs of life. The Mars Express was successfully launched from Kazakhstan on 2 June 2003. Beagle2 is assumed to have failed to land successfully on Mars on Christmas morning 2003 as no communication was ever established and the cause of failure is unknown. The second project was to assist with the design of on-board software for Huygens taken to Titan (moon of Saturn) by the Cassini spacecraft to determine atmospheric and surface composition. The Cassini was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on 15 October 1997. Huygens separated from the Cassini on Christmas morning 2004, entered Titan’s atmosphere on the morning of 14 January 2005 and then landed on Titan at lunchtime on the same day. Much valuable scientific data, including fascinating images, was obtained from this very successful mission.

Peter Thompson Applied Physics, 1974

Graduated 1980s I left the Graphics course one year early to move with my husband to Teesside. I did a BSc in Social Studies at Teesside Poly and then became a Careers Officer for Cleveland County. I gained other qualifications such as NVQ4 in Counselling, Connexions Advisor Diploma, British Psychological Society Level B Certificate, psychometric testing qualifications and so on. I worked for a Youth Offending Service as an Education Advisor for four years before retiring early because of partial blindness in 2007.

David Pick Geography, 1982

After graduating, I trained as a secondary teacher and worked in Manchester for six years. In 1989 I emigrated to Australia, spending time in Geraldton and Kalgoorlie. During that time I worked in the Technical and Further Education sector and studied for a Master of Arts in Science and Technology Policy at Murdoch University. In 2002, I completed a PhD in public policy with Murdoch University.  I am now a senior lecturer at the School of Management at Curtin University of Technology, Perth Western Australia.

Eileen Johnson

Modern Studies, 1984 I moved to Bristol after graduation (my husband worked for Rolls Royce) and became an Office Manager for a Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) for six years. I also played an active role in Avon Wildlife Trust (I was the Chair for two years). I moved to the East Midlands in 1992 (due to Rolls Royce again!) and worked for Leicester Housing Association as an Agency Services Officer for four housing co-ops for four and a half years. I was appointed JP but resigned after eight years – too much to do! In 1996, I was appointed Executive Officer at Loughborough University and was subsequently promoted to Departmental Administrator in the Department of Materials. My main responsibility was for teaching administration, which brought a lot of student interaction and was the best part of the job. I took early retirement at the end of March 2009 and moved to South West Scotland the same week! Among other things I intend to follow my interests in environmental issues and increase activity as an Amnesty letter writer.

Graduated 1990s Claire Harris Foundation Art and Design, 1992 After achieving a distinction in Foundation Art and Design, I completed a Fashion degree at John Moores University. I then relocated to London where I was employed for a decade in various project management, PR and marketing roles within design agencies. I also undertook self-motivated freelance creative work in theatre, as a stylist and visualiser on multi-sensory creative projects, which involved work across the UK and Europe. I moved back to Coventry in 2005 and now work freelance as a PR and marketing consultant for selected clients from all sectors of the creative industries. I lecture at various universities, including Coventry, in creative and promotional subjects. I also run my own eco fashion accessories label, Trash Blooms ( which I design and manufacture in my studio in Earlsdon.

Katherine Brooks (nee McCreesh) BEng Building Services Engineering, 1994 On January 2nd 2009, I gave birth to a baby girl, Alice Victoria Brooks, weighing 8ib 4oz. Mother and baby are doing well and enjoying our time together.

James Garland Engineering (Electrical and Electronic), 1994 After Coventry, I went onto graduate from the University of Central England, Birmingham, with an MSc in System Design (Microelectronics) in 1995. I have since worked in a variety of roles for Lucas Electronics in Birmingham, ARM Ltd in Cambridge, Parthus Technologies and Xilinx both in Dublin, Ireland. I have worked with customers from all around the world from Korea and Japan, across Europe and the Middle East to the USA. I also lecture part-time on an MSc course in Computer Science at Trinity College in Dublin.

Michael Williams Law, 1994 After graduating, I had various stints at Natwest Bank, Barclays and Bunzl UK. I later became Group Treasurer of Europcar UK Ltd between 1999 and 2006. I relocated to Nigeria as General Manager of Europcar Nigeria from 2006 to 2008 and now I am Chief Operating Officer of Continental Corporate Rentals.

Herve Darritchon Computer Science, 1994 While studying at Coventry, I went back to France for my one-year military service. After I finished my degree I was then employed by France Telecom as a Unix Administrator and Support in Bordeaux. After a few years, I became a Software Developer at the same company and stayed there for six years. During that time, I met my partner who I now have two children with – a seven year old son and a two year old daughter. I have now been promoted to Software Architect on the Orange Billing System for subsidiary company Orange UK. As a rugby fan, Tolkien Fan and nature lover, I dream of moving to New Zealand. I visited the country a couple of years ago and I really fell in love with it and its people. I’m really looking forward to spending more time ‘down under’ for holidays and we may emigrate there. I’m still looking for opportunities over there. To those who know me, please email ( with your news. I would be very pleased to keep in touch.

Jane White Business Studies, 1994 After graduating I have built my career in a series of marketing roles within the leisure and retail sector, house building and more recently in the environmental arena. I started my career as Advertising and Promotions Manager at Warwick Castle and from their moved into the pub retail industry where I spent nine years in a range of roles from Brand Manager, Marketing Manager, Concept Development to finally Senior Marketing Manager at Mitchells & Butlers plc. From here I changed sectors to gain a different experience and became Head of Marketing at David Wilson Homes before moving to be Head of Brand at Barratt Homes. Last year I moved into a new role as Head of Marketing and Brand at WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) a government delivery body responsible for driving resource efficiency in the UK, which is very different but a fascinating role within the environmental industry.


evolve community Teddy Hervet MBA Erasmus, 1997 After finishing my MBA I went to work in Mauritius for six years as a Regional Sales Manager for Ricoh. I was in charge of developing Ricoh’s sales in three territories, Mauritius, The Seychelles and Madagascar. I travelled a lot with this job and places included Kuwait, Dubai, Oman and Holland. I left Mauritius in 2004 to join Canon France in Nantes. I was responsible for business development with IT companies. I did this for two years and then since 2007, I have been working with Samsung Electronics in France. I am now responsible for sales of Samsung Printing Solutions in the West of France. I have around 100 customers of various sizes.

Yannick Gaume European Business and Technology, 1997 As I had always wanted to find a job in the music business, I believed I had to speak and write English correctly, and improve my marketing and management skills. I had the chance to come to Coventry in order to apply my strategy. The first company I worked for, back in 1998, is still the same one today. It is a French record company – so I did it! The year I spent in Coventry will always remain one of my best souvenirs. Great times!

Han Nee Teng Engineering Business Management, 1999 I have seven years of experience in the oil and gas industry, mainly dealing in project control, planning, scheduling and monitoring.


Peter Shilla MSc Operational Telecommunications, 2002

After graduation, I returned to my employer – the communications regulator in Tanzania – where I was promoted from an Information Technology (IT) Officer, Senior IT Officer to Principal IT Officer in 2006. From 2006 to date, I have been working with a procurement regulator in Tanzania as a Director for Information Technology. This has been very challenging but an exciting opportunity to be in charge of an IT function in the organisation, and thanks to my time at Coventry University I had the necessary skills and knowledge to overcome all the challenges. The course at Coventry was well conducted and managed, with a balanced mix of academic, professional and social studies. This is why I will always remember and cherish my times in Coventry and England.

Graduated 2000s Winifrid Choy Business Administration, 2000 The skills I learned while I was studying at Coventry, especially from the ITrelated subjects, and the countless resources from different libraries, helped me a great deal in progressing through my career in corporate talent management and e-Learning. I’d like to give a big ‘thank you’ to the senior staff in the Business School and IT, who I owe a lot to and have always highly regarded. My heart goes out to all the multiethnic communities at the University and the friendly staff in Priory Hall. What I see on the Coventry website makes me excited for the future of Coventry and the University. I now live halfway around the globe in the Philippines and miss the city’s vibrant charm dearly.

Vikram Raina Information Technology, 2001 After coming back to India it was very tough getting a job in the field of IT management, so I had to move into marketing and take up a role as a Placement Officer. Since I was attached to an Institute, it was very easy for me to take up teaching too. Over the years, I have reached the position of Assistant Professor and am also responsible for the Placement department for a Deemed University in India. I need a PhD to become a professor, which I am hoping to do very soon. I have not really travelled, except for office work. It would be great to hear from anyone from my alma mater.

Shane Kennedy Sport Science, 2001 Since graduating, I became involved in the fitness industry. This includes being a fitness instructor, a self-employed personal trainer/freelance group fitness instructor, and a Manager of a gym. I am currently part of a three year pilot study, funded by the National Lottery, involving the application of physical activity and nutrition to those with mental health illnesses and issues. I have completed a Wright foundation exercise referral qualification and registered level three REPS. I am also a Wushu/Chinese martial arts coach, teaching Kung Fu and kickboxing.

Petros Chr. Fatouros LL.B, 2003 After graduating from Coventry, I pursued the LL.M. program at Boston University School of Law (Massachusetts, USA) in Banking & Financial Law. After that I was granted a second postgraduate degree in Accounting for Attorneys at the Athens University School of Economics. Following that, I was admitted at the Athens Bar Association and worked for KGDI, the largest Law Firm in Greece, from ‘07 to ‘08. I now run my own office “Fatouros Lampropoulos & Associates – Attorneys at Law” (Phi Lambda) which was started by my grandfather (and, thereafter, my parents) in the last century. I’ll be more than happy to work with fellow alumni and friends of Coventry University who have interests of any kind in Athens or anywhere else in Greece. Looking forward to hearing from you all and please pay me a visit when you’re around; Coventry University connects!

Yantao Bi International Media and Communication, 2003

I was educated in China, the UK and Ireland, and am an independent observer, non-partisan freelancer and communication researcher based in China. I was a Director of the Centre for Communication Studies, Hainan University, China, since I established it in December 2004. Meanwhile, I work as the Director for Asian Affairs, Global Unification International (GUI). I also act as a consultant to several NGOs and companies. I am a contributing author of Global Voices Online and write for dozens of influential Chinese websites, including Guangming Observer, China Thinktank, China Elections and Governance, and so forth. So far I have published 10 books (14 volumes) and more than 450 articles in mainland China, Hong Kong, England, USA, and Germany. My research interests are political communication and international communication. To promote the political communication studies in China and advance the democratization of the Chinese mainland, I have established the Daizong Meditation Room at the foot of the world-famous Mount Taishan, which is the first of its kind in China. It is open to all interested researchers in the world, free of charge.

Abdulqader Amoud (formerly Mohamed Abdigaheir – name changed by deed poll) Computing, 2005 After leaving Coventry, I started working for Orange in Bristol as a Network Support Engineer in 2006, where I stayed until late 2007. I decided to change careers and joined the media industry instead and now work as a Sound and Maintenance/boom Operator and I’m currently working on the BBC drama Casualty, which I am enjoying very much. I have worked on productions in the West Midlands and it’s always nice to come back to that part of the country. I have many happy memories of my time at the University.

Harshad Chitre MSc. Automotive Engineering, 2005

Sarah Lilly Communication, Culture and Media, 2006

After completely my Masters, I moved back to India and joined Tata Technologies in Pune in February 2006 and worked in Tata Motors Limited in the Research and Development department. I worked there for a year in the Computer Aided Engineering division as a Motion Analyst for the Vehicle Dynamics and Ride and Handling group. In March 2007, I joined Geometric Limited as a Senior Application Engineer and now work for their client, MSC Software: the world’s leading engineering simulation software development company.I work for MSC’s Global Technical Support Team in India and support MSC’s global clients for MSC.ADAMS product. The journey, since leaving Coventry, has so far been extremely exciting, eventful and very fast! There are moments that remind me of my memorable days in Coventry while at other times I just long to get back there. If I ever go to the UK, Coventry will definitely be on my travel plans!

I worked as a Marketing Executive at the Birmingham Post & Mail during the final year of my degree. After having a child, I became a Marketing Executive for Network Si – a company that specialises in IT and infrastructure solutions. After my second child, I could not return to work full time. I am now looking for a part-time marketing/ communications role I can work around bringing up two young ones. I would love to teach Cultural or Media and Communication studies to young adults at GCSE level and above. Students at GCSE level have to study Citizenship; which covers many elements of my degree. Some local colleges have courses in PGCE Secondary Citizenship that would enable me to pursue my teaching ambition. My goal in the following year is to explore that career path and see what possibilities are out there.

Michael Gawne Business Studies, 2005 Since graduating, I have worked in various roles. My first job was a temporary role as a Budget Analyst for the Learning and Skills Council, which I got three days after my final exam. After working there, I moved to international cement company Cemex to be a Business Consultant as part of the global team integrating a new IT (SAP) system across Europe. I spent the first 12 months in the UK, followed by eight months in Poland. After Poland, I decided to take up the opportunity to work with my brother in his own start-up company in electric engineering called Oritech. He needed someone to help out on the business stategy and operations side of the business so I became the Operations Director. I am now responsible for the sale and distribution of Oritech’s Embedded System product range and all other business operations. I have also started researching other business interests within other sectors – including advertising and transport.

Nicolas Book

Mechanical Engineering, 2007 Since graduation, a lot has changed for me. I started my Masters at Sussex University but went to Germany to write my thesis on segregation within continuously cast bearing steels. I wrote this in a steel producing company called Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (German Stainless Steel Works/Factories). My ultimate aim is to obtain three degrees: English BSc, the MSc and my German diploma. Since moving back to Germany, I started my last semester within my German studies, the practical diploma project. I moved to the second largest German Steel producer, the Salzgitter AG, where my project is supervised by the Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH. I am researching new steel types for industrial applications. I still have lots of things I am planning to do but a metallurgical masters and a PhD are my main focuses.

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evolve research

World in motion

Ted Cantle has over 30 years’ public service experience and coined the phrase ‘community cohesion’ after chairing the eponymous 2001 Cantle Report into the summer disturbances in a number of northern towns and cities. As chair of the Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo), Ted explains how Coventry is helping to create a global community

Ted Cantle CBE has held a wide range of senior positions at a local level and has served on a number of national bodies focusing, in particular, on urban regeneration and key social and economic problems. He has been responsible for many action research projects, a wide range of development programmes and has helped to establish a number of new policy frameworks. He regularly contributes to journals and publications and speaks at seminars and conferences.


In August 2001, the home secretary appointed Ted to lead the review of the causes of the summer disturbances in a number of northern towns and cities. The report – known as the Cantle Report – made around 70 recommendations and the concept of ‘community cohesion’ was subsequently adopted by the Government. As well as Chair of iCoCo, he is Associate Director of IDeA and was, until recently, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Environment Agency for England and Wales.

Why was the Institute of Community Cohesion set up? iCoCo started in 2005 because there was a need for an organisation to develop the community cohesion agenda. The Institute emerged to bring together academic partners from universities, practitioners – people on the ground who wanted to make changes but needed more academic input – and policy stakeholders such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Homes and Communities Agency and Government departments.

What are the future issues? Climate change is already causing millions of people to move to different countries around the world – and that is by far the biggest issue we face. Water shortages, energy shortages and disputes over agricultural land are all coming to the fore and we have to find a way of reconciling those issues, otherwise nations will fall out with each other and within each other. Why was Coventry chosen to be the home of iCoCo?

What has changed since the 2001 review?

We joined forces with four universities, Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham and Coventry, based on the work they had all being doing on community cohesion. Coventry was the most receptive though. Coventry’s peace and reconciliation work and its whole ethos made the University central to the work we were doing.

In 2001 we were focused more on different ethnicities, the way people related to each other and understood each other.

Coventry offered to be the administrative hub for the organisation, which was a leap of faith because no one knew if the organisation was going to work or even get off the ground. What role does academia bring to community cohesion? Community cohesion, as an idea, was based on practical issues such as understanding complex communities, anticipating tensions, and trying to promote understanding and interaction between different groups. Academia ensures you have intellectual rigour and that projects have a robust measurement framework. I think academia gives credibility to the research work and produces practical results. It also provides a space to reflect. Community cohesion grew out of a very specific need, following on from the summer riots, and you need space where you can step back from the frontline and question things. Academia provides that space for reflection and is an opportunity to develop new thinking and policies.

Since then, we have widened our focus, not just towards the Muslim community and the socalled War on Terror, which has not been helpful in encouraging better community cohesion. But we have also dealt with inter-generational conflicts, conflicts involving gypsies and travellers and homophobic violence in some areas. Community cohesion has become a much more rounded programme for dealing with difference in any form. I am astonished by the number of projects there are now all over the country – 350 practitioners are signed up to our network, and we have over 500 examples of good practice, and at least 15 different toolkits for different sectors. Although we’re based in Coventry, it’s now very much a national and international organisation. I have just come back from Estonia where I went with the Foreign Office to offer advice on how to integrate Russian speaking minorities into communities. We have done quite a lot of work in this area with other countries that are now adopting similar programmes to the ones we have in the UK. This country has always been a leading light on multicultural policies and quite highly regarded for the way it approaches multiculturalism.

There have already been signs of conflicts between India and Pakistan over water, which isn’t surprising given the history. But there are even divisions and disputes about water in Portugal and Spain. As we become more globalised, we may see an increase in these types of disputes. Minority rights groups say that 75% of conflicts around the world are based on ethnicity and faith so we can only expect this to continue. What can graduates do to help? What’s remarkable about our universities is that we bring together people from different parts of the country with a huge number of international students. UK students have an amazing opportunity to think globally, to develop relationships with people from many different countries and cultures – providing they get out of their comfort zones. We all need to have some idea about global citizenship. If you are to survive today it is very likely you are not going to work for the same company, you are not going to have one career, you’re not even going to live in the same country, you may have several different identities, your partner is likely to be from a different part of the country or a different part of the world. The most successful graduates will be the ones that can navigate their way around a much more global environment. It’s important they are prepared to grasp that opportunity. Find out more about research:


evolve history

Making history Earlier this year the Sir Frank Whittle building (or C Block as it was formerly known) was demolished to make way for a new Student Enterprise Centre that will meet the needs of future students. The news of major developments to the campus prompted graduates to get in touch with stories from the old days. Here are a selection of some of the best. Please keep sending them in…

Memories of Sir Frank Whittle building (C Block) Jason Hall (BEng Mechanical, 1993) remembers C Block with its engine test beds. “Two memories stand out for me: one was riding a Strida folding bicycle – that we were ‘evaluating’ – up and down the corridors at some speed. The other was my final year project, which was the design and manufacture of an 11.5cc glow plug two stroke engine. We finally got it assembled and much to my delight, running one afternoon. It ran on 75% methanol, 5% nitro-methane and 20% caster oil – i.e. dragster fuel. It had no exhaust or silencer and we ran it in a vice most of the afternoon. It filled the workshop with noise and sickly smelling methanol and caster oil fumes. The technicians were initially thrilled that one of us had actually built something that worked, but the noise and fumes had them cursing by the time we packed up several hours later... I still have the engine here on display at home.”


Bernard Porter, Head of Department, Mechanical & Automotive Engineering, remembers the steam turbine and team work. “When I was a new member of staff we had a wonderful steam turbine installation in our laboratory. This was a complex machine, which required a skilled technician to keep it in good order and to run experiments for students. It was a legacy of our involvement with companies that made equipment for the electricity generating industries. When it was running, it was a magnificent sight, with steam escaping from various places, accompanied by a loud and roaring sound! But it was certainly ‘real’ engineering. The other strong memory was more recent and it was when we first became involved in the Formula Student racing competition. A group of students designed and built the car with just two academic staff guiding them, and we had to gain workshop space in the corner of a lab, working all sorts of hours, but it created a unique bond between us all.”

Memories of Coventry over the years Trevor Theobald (Chemistry/Zoology, 1975, PhD 1978), who now works in Mergers and Acquisitions for a Division of Associated British Foods, remembers a much smaller campus. “During the final year of my PhD, I had a lab on the third floor of D block. The view over to the Cathedral was magnificent and still lives very much in my memory. I still visit Coventry on a fairly regular basis and have kept in contact with one of my friends from student days. We loved and still treasure the time we spent in Coventry. I remember dropping water bombs out of the windows overlooking Fairfax Street on to the unsuspecting public. The new Halls of Residence were beautifully placed to score direct hits! There was a concert by Procol Harum on the upper floor of the Students’ Union. Sitting just feet away from Gary Brooker, the keyboard player and leader of the band is something that just would not happen now. I remember the weekly visit to the Humber Bowl with the Ten pin bowling club. Among my team was weatherman John Kettley, who was also on the same course as me. The Union bar closed 30 minutes before that of Warwick’s so I remember finishing at the Lanch and racing over to Warwick to get last orders there. My son is now at Warwick and reliving many of my memories – oh what glorious days!”

Alison Holden (Applied Social Science, 1974) who now works for the Home Office remembers enjoying student life in a house with a pool. “In our second year we moved into fabulous accommodation at 46 Kenilworth Road (I believe it was acquired by the local authority to make way for a bypass and made available to The Lanch). We had a huge garden including swimming pool (albeit unusable) and a driveway complete with Rhododendron bushes. I remember happy days listening to Caravan ‘In the Land of Grey and Pink’ and falling asleep to Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ – LPs of course, no CDs then. We saw many great bands including – ELO, Thin Lizzy, Chuck Berry and Roxy Music – before the concert the latter dined in the same Chinese Restaurant as my friends and me. Seeing Bryan Ferry caused so much excitement we could hardly hold our chopsticks! In the 70s it was almost obligatory to be militant and we had an all night ‘sit in’ in the facilities building – the reason for this escapes me now, but must have been important at the time! The IRA Birmingham bombings sadly robbed us of our graduation ceremony. It didn’t spoil the legacy though and my time at The Lanch left me with a great sense of achievement.”

How the campus is changing • A £60 million investment for a new high-tech Engineering and Computing building (read more about it on page 22) • A new Student Enterprise Centre, incorporating a new Students’ Union complete with space for events and gigs. • New spaces for better lecture theatres and better sports and leisure facilities. • New entrances and in some cases more space for some Faculties. If you want to know more about the changes visit masterplan and if you would like to help shape the future of Coventry University, contact Matt Feeley, Head of Fundraising on +44 (0) 24 7688 8589.

Chris Player (nee Collins) (Applied Social Sciences, 1972) was a research assistant, a lecturer and a practice teacher for students on the Social Science degree for a number of years after graduation (alternating this with work as a Community Worker/ Social Worker). “When I started at the Lanch in 1969 the buildings were all new – though sometimes a bit compressed. It had a lovely front outlook – straight onto the Cathedral and the Phoenix, but the view at the back was, especially for a country girl, sometimes a little depressing. But the Union and campus social life was anything but dreary 40 years ago. Life was buzzing – this was the time of the Arts Festivals when top bands like Aynsley Dunbar and Fairport Convention squashed into the Students’ Union, and my friends who had gone to ‘posher’ universities were very jealous of life in Cov. They regularly came to stay and join in the fun. Every week there were discos, dances and parties at the Union, Art College, student houses or Faculty based do’s (the best ones were the Law Socials and the Modern Studies do’s). There was no shortage of dance partners or lifts home – the arrival of the first Social Scientists seemed to have a significant social scientific affect on the campus itself in that the demographic pattern was beginning to expand to include girls. The girls on my degree loved the atmosphere – we were always out – there were regular invites to dances. Looking through the diary of that first term I am amazed I managed to complete the first year.”

Read more memories from graduates and enjoy the full history of the University in the new book The Phoenix Rises. Alumni and students can buy this book at just £30 (RRP £40) plus post and packaging. To order, call +44 (0) 24 7688 8774 or visit


evolve feature

City Living

It’s been a year in the making, is valued at more than a billion pounds and has been inspired by the views of thousands of local people; welcome to the new face of Coventry

Green spaces and environmental features An abundance of green spaces (the equivalent of more than seven football pitches) over four levels. This will include a new city park as well as community spaces for homes (apartments and family homes) and offices in the city centre. Roads in the city centre will be redesigned to make them pedestrian friendly, with the emphasis on public transport and walkways across the city centre. Shops 2.2 million sq ft of retail space, with anchor retail outlets (to include a major department store) at West Orchards and Bull Yard, and plans for more individual and local shops. Coventry’s much-loved market will move to a site with space for an outdoor and indoor market. Office space Creative offices to foster emerging industries and to develop collaboration between businesses and universities. Celebrating the City’s history Bring back the River Sherbourne, so it runs from Millennium Plaza towards Greyfriars Green, rediscovering views of the three spires from key points around the city centre, creating new routes from the Cathedral to the city centre. Regeneration of some key aspects of Gibson’s original design for post-war Coventry, including existing squares.


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f you haven’t been back to Coventry for a while, then you might want to visit soon before a major transformation takes place. A new masterplan that will guide the future development of the city over the next 15 to 20 years has been unveiled. The radical re-think about the city centre was instigated after research by international retail experts King Sturge in 2007 showed Coventry was the 11th largest city in the UK, but ranked 43rd in terms of its retail offer. Coventry’s retail catchment population is double the size of Leicester but the city centre only attracts two-thirds the number of shoppers. Businesses (63%) believe the city centre is “too down market” and only 35% of people, interviewed in the research, shop in Coventry because of the choice and range of shops. So, enjoy this guide to the major changes you can expect to see over the next few years.

This will be a very exciting journey and local people will be involved every step of the way to create something unique with its own special character. We know how special our city and its people are – now’s the chance to show the world what we’re capable of.

Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr Ken Taylor

Public buildings New buildings for the community, including one for events, concerts and public use and an iconic new city library, to be designed through an international architectural competition.

New homes More housing will help bring the city to life day and night.

What do you think of the changes? Chris Parsons (Civil Engineering, 1992) “I think the new plans are great, the changes will really breathe new life into the city. It will definitely make Coventry more of an attractive place to stay and work after you have studied there.” Send your comments to


evolve feature



The new high-tech Engineering and Computing building will lead the way for higher education in the UK with radical new methods of teaching and learning


ike many UK polytechnics that were built in the 1960s, Coventry has had to cope with the consequences of an ageing estate made up of unattractive concrete constructions. While the building facades are dated, it’s the requirements for the way internal space is used that has resulted in a £60 million investment to construct a whole new intelligent development for Engineering and Computing (E&C) students. Demands from business about the types of graduates they want to employ and the changes in teaching methods have cast a shadow on the traditional buildings. Tutors offices, hidden behind heavy doors, small-tiered lecture theatres and too much dead space (it is estimated that 30% of floor space in the Armstrong Siddeley Building is made up of corridors and stairs) are all soon to be a thing of the past. “Our business partners and research partners expect something different these days,” explained E&C’s Associate Dean Ian Dunn, who is working on the project. “They expect the technical skills and knowledge but they also want project management and creativity skills on top. We need to create learning spaces that encourage this.”

One of the key improvements is that the new building will reduce the number of different locations E&C students have for lectures (currently the Faculty is split between eight buildings). Housed on a new site on Gulson Road, the state-of-the-art building will be completed by 2011 and is designed by ARUP Associates and will be built by Balfour Beatty. “What we are aiming to achieve is a sculpture that attracts people to the city as well as the University,” explained Ian. “The building has the capacity to radically alter not only the Coventry skyline but also teaching methods. It encapsulates so many good ideas and the only restriction is the funding available to implement everything.” TEACHING SPACE Intensive research, involving an international steering committee, has gone into finding the best examples of learning spaces around the world that will be suitable for the next generation of students. The outcome has been to create innovative classrooms with collaborative learning spaces. Triangular desks have been designed to encourage collaboration and if LCD screens and voting technology systems can also be included it will enable

GRADUATE INVOLVEMENT While the new building will benefit future students, graduates have been vital in perfecting the project – from providing generous and necessary donations to creating art installations. Adam Hussain (Contemporary Crafts, 2008) launched his own glass design business called Infini Glass while studying and working with the building’s architect to create a contemporary art piece for the entrance of the new building. “It was part of my five-year plan to work with an architect on large scale glass installations and I’ve achieved it in my first nine months,” said Adam who was recently named the overall winner of a Volvo competition to design and install a 12-piece architectural glass piece in the foyer of the Volvo building in Warwick. “It’s great to be able to give something back with the art installation, as the University has helped me to develop my business. As a member of FOCUS on Enterprise, I still attend networking events and it was because of one of those events that I got to be doing this project.” Julia O’Connell (Surface Decoration, 2008) will be recording the actual construction and development of the building for an installation so that people can appreciate the journey of the building project.

students to interact during the lesson. Glass walls, which could be written on, would make rooms open and inclusive. Theatre space will be made up of two semi-circles (that can be opened into one round theatre space) providing up to 250-seat capacity and there is outside teaching space too, with large windows so people can see down into the 2,000 m² engineering labs. The labs will include a large mezzanine, which was inspired by a university inDenmark, which enables students to be able to look down at their product in the main lab area while they work on a computer simulation. SPACE TO THINK There will be more than 2,000 m² of open space inside, and the plan is to include lots of different seating arrangements such as student bookable booths for semi-private meetings. Staff won’t be locked away in rooms but will share space to also encourage collaborative working. The building will be accessible from 7am until 11pm with a café open all of the time. GREEN ISSUES The technically complex building, which has been designed by award winning architect Dipesh Patel, will be environmentally sustainable and has many environmental features. The building will be ‘live’ meaning that, it will be giving out data about how it is performing and how comfortable it is to users, that will be streamed on the website. The roof, which will be a lab area for environmental technologies, will include a weather station to provide data for Building Engineering students. It will also be built to encourage biodiversity in the area. To find out more about campus developments visit www.coventry.


evolve feature



A final year design project launched a business with a conscience for graduate Daniel Sheridan, whose idea is helping to light up lives in Africa


ot every graduate wants to move back in with the parents and live off an overdraft just to launch a business idea. But if being an entrepreneur was easy, Daniel Sheridan says, everyone would do it. It’s a choice the MDes Consumer Product Design graduate made after he developed an innovative way to generate electricity in African schools. “I have friends who have landed good jobs and are getting cars, going on holidays and looking to buy property,” said Daniel. “But it’s my overriding passion to do this and make it happen,” said the 24-year old who has moved back home to Hemel Hempstead where his parents are supporting his business venture. Main image: Children play on the energy see-saw. Inset: Daniel with Children at a school in Africa. Top right: Daniel collects his IAE Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 award.

Daniel’s dream is to use playground equipment to keep the lights on in African schools. It’s a dream that would reduce the number of kerosene lamps that are currently damaging the eyes of those who are eager to learn. In eastern Africa it’s dark by six in the evening, so people have to rely on lamps and candles to light the way. In Uganda alone, approximately 89% of the country has no access to grid electricity, which affects children doing homework, teachers preparing for lessons and adults that are taking evening classes. It was while doing voluntary work in 2007 at an African school on the coast of Kenya that Daniel saw how rural and remote communities could benefit from electricity. Witnessing


these difficulties first hand inspired him to research a design for his final year project. Through his master’s level research, Daniel hit upon the idea that the children could generate power for their classroom while they were playing. He just needed to design a device to enable the process to happen. “Despite the hardships in Africa, one of the positive aspects is the vibrancy of the children,” explained Daniel. “I realised that something designed to be played on by the children could create energy at the same time. A see-saw was the concept I started to evolve.” The business side of things almost happened by accident though, and

…it’s my overriding passion to do this and make it happen…

was a mere means to an end while Daniel was getting the design ready for his Degree Show.

“I wanted to take a prototype of my design out to Africa and film it in use for the Degree Show,” explained Daniel about his plans. “No one had done that before. I wanted to be innovative and possibly use the film to apply for jobs in International Development, but I knew I needed about £1,000 for the flight and to get the kit made up for the see-saw to work.” Daniel saw an opportunity to enter a BizCom competition through the University’s Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education (SPEED) programme and won the £1,000 cash prize. “I entered just to win the prize money for my trip. I wasn’t even thinking of my design in the context of a business at the time but the entry form helped me to see I actually had a business model,” explained Daniel. As well as the cash prize, Daniel received mentoring support that

helped him prepare a business plan and by the time the Degree Show had arrived he had not only tested and filmed his see saw in Africa, he had registered PlayMade Energy, designed its logo and launched a website ( for his new business. The University’s guidance has continued long after graduation and as part of the newly launched Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship, Daniel has secured more graduate mentoring support and funding. He gained a place on the MAS Product Innovation Consortium (PIC) scheme, which is also helping fund a final prototype of his product. Daniel is using testing space at the University to help him test the prototype to record the amount of energy that can be produced from average use, and ensure it meets necessary product compliance and British Standards. Currently, Daniel estimates if children play on the see-saw for one to two hours they will charge two supplied 12v 7ah batteries, which could result in a school being able to power four lanterns for three to four hours, providing essential evening light for local communities. “When the electricity is generated by the movement of the see-saw you can hear it,” said Daniel. “There’s audible feedback, which is really encouraging for the kids whilst they have such fun with their friends. I was so enthused seeing that. The teachers could see the potential for the classroom too.” The power could also be used for other low drain appliances such as radios, MP3 players and communication devices. Daniel hopes that further development of the battery specification may enable the use of recycled computers in developing world schools in the future. It’s Daniel’s enthusiasm and passion that has recently earned him The Lord Stafford Award 2008 for Entrepreneurial Spirit as well as being named the Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 at the Institute of Applied

Student days profile Lived: Priory Hall, Stoke and Parkside Favourite pub: Dogma Favourite memory: I attended the summer ball at the end of every year I studied in Coventry and had some great nights with a lot of good friends. Entrepreneurship annual awards. He hopes that winning high profile awards will attract attention from sponsors or businesses that will help with the funds for the final testing so he can get Energee-Saws working in many African schools. “I once saw a billboard in Kenya that said ‘Education is our route out of poverty’ and it reminds me how important my project is,” explained Daniel. “When I ask African children what they want to be when they grow up, they say they want to be a doctor or a pilot. There’s a sense of optimism there and it starts by making a small difference.” To sponsor the installation of an African school see-saw this year please contact

Want to set up a business? Contact Business Enterprise Works on + 44 (0) 24 7623 6001 or find out more at


evolve profile

Recipe for success

One woman’s crusade to improve the quality of Indian food on supermarket shelves led to a multi-million pound business venture and an honorary doctorate from Coventry


hen Perween Warsi moved from India to Britain in the 1970s, she was disappointed with the lack of good quality Indian food available. As interest grew in Indian cuisine and the supermarkets responded with their interpretations of popular dishes, Perween saw an opportunity to do better. “I tasted this supermarket food and it was poor – bland and boring. I saw a gap in the market where I could raise the bar of the quality and flavours. I thought, ‘if Britons are ready to eat Indian food, I’m sure they would love to enjoy sensationally better tasting food’ and I knew I could do that,” she said. Perween’s mission started when her two young sons were at boarding school and her husband was a busy General Practitioner. Finding she had “plenty of time on her hands” she started targeting her local delicatessens and takeaways in Derby with samosas and other delicacies. Her food proved to be popular, and as orders from new customers grew it spurred on an ambition to approach the supermarkets.

With no business experience but resolute in the belief in her products, Perween kept pushing the supermarkets until ASDA gave her a chance with a blind taste test. Judged alongside other manufacturers’ food, her products were voted the best by the panel. It was a gamble for the retail giant as Perween was still cooking from her home kitchen and she needed to quickly get factory premises and purchase equipment in order to fulfil orders – but it was a gamble that would pay off for both parties. ASDA, which established its Curry Pot counter with Perween’s help, can still claim to be the largest takeaway in the country and the innovative takeaway bags and new packaging have also been designed by her company. “There were a lot of challenges to begin with as we were young in the business and had literally a few months experience. Every bank wanted us to have three to four years track record and a big business plan and we didn’t have any of those things,” explained Perween about securing the initial investment for her company S&A Foods – named after her sons Sadiq and Abid. “What we did have though was the belief in our products and that they were the best in the country.” Although her sons were 11 and 13 when she first set up in 1986, Perween soon found it


difficult balancing the ambitions of the company with her family life. “There are always compromises to be made being in business and a parent. And does it get easier – no. It’s like juggling many balls and trying to catch one.” It was while Perween was recruiting new people, launching new products and taking new customers that her first investment partner Hughes Food Group went into receivership. She had originally joined the Group so she could grow the business more rapidly and the news they were folding was a shock when her company was booming. “It was a terrible time for me and everyone who worked at S&A Foods. But we were determined not

to let it be the end,” she said. They took advice on how best to take the business forward and took equity partner 3i on to help them orchestrate a management buy-out, which Perween successfully completed in 1991. Since then Perween has bought the shares back from 3i, making her the 100% shareholder of the company. “It’s great to truly own it myself. I can have the strategy I want for the business, I have the vision, I see my products being worldwide one day, we are expanding very rapidly in Europe and growing in this country,” said Perween who now also supplies to the Co-op as well as outlets in France, Belgium and Germany. Perween’s commitment to holding onto her founding principles is one of the reasons why Coventry University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration in 2005, which Perween was delighted about. “It was absolutely fantastic, I was really honoured. I am just so fortunate that everyone around me has been so supportive and so encouraging

and so wonderful. I’m very thankful to Coventry University for giving me a degree,” said Perween who wished the services at the University’s Technology Park had been around when she was starting out. Born into a family of food lovers, it is clear Perween’s passion for cooking has fuelled the success of S&A Foods. “I love food and I love playing with ingredients and turning those ingredients into a lovely dish,” said Perween who had just returned from the testing kitchen where she had been trialling some new dishes. The company also produces Chinese, Asian and some Italian dishes. “We’re a very foodie family; we spend so much time talking about food. My three year old granddaughter was recently making Chapattis with me and she said ‘I’m grown up now, I can cook for you’, which is wonderful. Even she has the passion for cooking.” It is this passion and her commitment to quality and innovation that have established a business with a turnover of over £60m that produces 1.25m meals a year. Perween, who has earned a CBE and an MBE for her achievements, believes self-belief is the most important ingredient for success. “Be yourself, be original. Have confidence in yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Believe in yourself, believe in the project you are working on and the products and services you want to sell.” For support in growing your business go to or contact the alumni office on +44 (0) 24 7688 8589


evolve profile

This opportunity will make my life easier and better

Thanks to support from generous graduates, black Southern African women are still getting the opportunity to further their education. Scholar Thandokazi Magi reveals how a qualification from Coventry is changing her life How did you feel when you Q


ince the Southern African Scholarship fund started in 1987, Coventry University has supported 18 black women from Southern Africa to further their education. The fund was set up during apartheid in South Africa to help black women who, because of their colour and gender, were being doubly discriminated against in education.

heard you had earned a scholarship at Coventry? I was very excited knowing that I A would be studying abroad, it was the first time I had been outside of South Africa. How much did you enjoy Q studying at Coventry?

I really enjoyed it as there were A

the internet is easy in Coventry compared to here. In Coventry, I had internet access at the University and at my home but here in South Africa, I only have access to the internet at school and have to pay big money to access it in an internet café. Life in Coventry is very easy, just in terms of having access to all the things you need to live. My stay was very comforting and I’m very happy to have been given the chance to study there.

such a variety of cultures and nationalities there. I’ve learnt a lot from studying in Coventry, such as learning how to communicate and Keen to play a part in the What does it mean to you to mingle with different people from Q know that Coventry graduates reconstruction of Southern different countries. My qualification contributed towards helping will now help me to be able to get a Africa, the University continues you study? better job. to support the fund and  A It means a lot to me because concentrates on enabling women How different is your life in getting such an opportunity will Q to do postgraduate study; South Africa compared to make my life easier and better. It’s covering travel and tuition fees, your time at Coventry? a once in a lifetime opportunity, as well as providing a bursary for which is very much valued. Coventry was very different. The A living expenses. infrastructure and the whole way of In 2008, donations to the life was so different in comparison Phoenix Foundation helped to my life in South Africa. I live in to part-fund Thandokazi Magi a rural area in the Eastern Cape through her MSc in Computing, province of South Africa. Here, The Phoenix Foundation supports which she graduated from in there is a lack of infrastructure in students who would otherwise not be terms of the resources available able to afford to come to the University. November. Thandokazi To give a donation in support of the to study compared with those explained how important the charity’s work please call +44 (0) 24 in Coventry. Life here is fine but qualification was to her life 7688 8589 or donate online at www. it’s difficult. We have to move to back in Southern Africa. /alumni. Thank you to other places in order to get a good all our donors – your money is making education and a better means of a difference. living. Access to resources like


Job search

In the global economic downturn finding a job is even harder – especially for recent graduates. University Careers Adviser Chris Manley offers his tips for getting on the career ladder

Be flexible

It doesn’t matter how long it has been since you graduated, call If you are looking for a job in an industry that is making the University’s Careers Service redundancies at the moment or that is notoriously competitive to on +44 (0) 24 7615 2030 and make break into, consider how your qualifications, skills and experience an appointment with an advisor. could be used in related industries. Many jobs are open to graduates from lots of different subjects – think about how you could apply the skills you have. Visit to learn how you can transfer your skills to a range of jobs or speak to the Careers Office.

Polish the CV Spend time perfecting a stunning CV and covering letter that show off all the relevant skills you have for the role you want. Learn how to give effective responses to application form questions too. Get advice on writing CVs and filling out application forms at

There are lots of books out there offering advice too such as Write a Winning CV: Essential CV Writing Skills That Will Get You the Job You Want by Julie-Ann Amos.

482,000 …the number of job vacancies in the UK in the three months to February 2009

Be the boss Create your employment and be your own boss. There’s lots of support on offer from the Government and the University. Get help from the University’s dedicated Business Enterprise Works programme at

Job seeker tip Keep an eye out

Use all resources available to you to look for work – including your personal networks. Many jobs are never even advertised. It doesn’t matter whether you find a job you enjoy through a national newspaper, or because your mother’s friend’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin runs a company and has been looking for someone just like you!

Don’t give up It’s frustrating when you spend hours on an application form and then don’t hear anything, but remember it doesn’t affect your chances of success in the next job you apply for. In a smaller job market it may require several applications before you are successful. Stay motivated by reading How to get a job you’ll love, 2009/10 edition: A practical guide to unlocking your talents and finding your ideal career by John Lees.

“I graduated over a year ago now and it is still difficult finding a job in my ideal profession – clinical psychology. However, my perseverance has led to some part time lecturing work, I temp in a busy office and also help out at two volunteer organisations. As well as paying the bills, I’m still developing my CV and have a current, subjectrelated job. I’m also hoping one of my volunteering commitments is going to turn into paid work and who knows, my career path may just take a positive turn if I keep an open mind.”

Chloe Morton, Psychology, 2008

Call for help

It doesn’t matter how long it has been since you graduated, call the University’s Careers Service on +44 (0) 24 7615 2030 and make an appointment with an adviser.


evolve profile

“Metallurgy had the lowest A-levels but got the highest starting salaries” Visiting Professor in Materials David Kirk has spent nearly half a century working with Coventry University. He continues to teach students even though he retired in 1998 Materials: Visiting Professor David Kirk

Where did your career begin and Q how has it progressed?

introduced a modular combination of Materials and Physical Science degree courses. Eventually a number of factors combined to effect, sadly, the demise of the cost-intensive courses in Materials, Physical Science, Applied Physics and Applied Chemistry. Personally, I was glad materials courses were still running when I retired in 1998.

 A My career started in 1959 on appointment as a Research Fellow at Birmingham University. This was followed by two years as a Senior Research Metallurgist at the International Nickel Company’s R&D Laboratories before joining the Lanchester College of Technology on 1 July 1960 as a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy. Forty-nine years  Q Any interesting memories to share? on I have progressed to Principal  A Yes, hundreds! For example, Lecturer in Materials, Chairman of during commissioning of D the School of Materials and now block the architect gave strict to being a Visiting Professor in instructions about floor loading. Materials in the Engineering and He said exceeding the allowed Computing Faculty. maximum could result in the building collapsing. I asked what How have things changed on the Q would happen if a sudden accident course (and campus) since you outside caused every student to have been here? rush to one side of the building.  A Initially we had HNC, HND, LIM and The reply was that the permitted AIM courses in Metallurgy housed, floor loading would be exceeded! temporarily, at Coventry Technical  As an ‘expert witness’ I was grilled College. In 1963 the courses for two days at the Old Bailey moved to D block [James Starley by a barrister who had a PhD in building] after spending £250,000 Engineering. Eventually the judge on a metallurgy suite – 200 years’ stopped the ordeal, declaring: “the salary then for a senior lecturer! The two of you obviously disagree.” HND course was the largest in the  A three-week stint at the Singapore UK. This was replaced by honours Institute of Standards included a and degree courses in Metallurgy. visit to the cricket ground where Metallurgy was broadened to recent grass cutting had killed six become Materials and after king cobras. merging with the Rugby College we


What did you most enjoy in your Q job – prior to retirement?

 A There was always a great deal of satisfaction when students graduated and obtained relevant employment. This satisfaction was heightened, knowing the metallurgy intake had the lowest A-level score in the University but obtained the highest starting salaries. Teaching a technological subject involved numerous contacts with industry – especially because of the sandwich course element. Consultancy work for industry was fascinating and ranged from examining nuclear submarine parts to egg poachers. What do you most enjoy in your job Q – during retirement?

 A The most enjoyable feature is having the time to carry out research work on shot peening. Peening is an industrial process developed for performance-critical applications – such as aircraft and F1 racing cars. I serve on the International Scientific Committee for Shot Peening and the SAE Sub-committee on Surface Enhancement. Email with the name of the tutor you want to see in the next evolve.

career Develop your

As a Coventry University graduate, your education is already benefiting you in the workplace. Why not let Coventry continue to enhance your career even after you have graduated? Postgraduate and part-time study offers you the chance to add a range of specialist skills to your portfolio and advance your career options. We also offer Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training programmes through our School of Lifelong Learning to further enhance your career progression. Come along to one of our Postgraduate and Part-time Open Days to find out about the opportunities:

Saturday 20th June 2009, 10am – 2pm Thursday 3rd September 2009, 4pm – 7pm Saturday 5th September 2009, 10am – 2pm Thursday 12th November 2009, 4pm – 7pm Saturday 14th November 2009, 10am – 2pm Subject experts will be available to advise you about our courses and you can have a tour round our dedicated facilities for Postgraduate, Part-time and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) students. Our open days take place in the Graduate & CPD Centre, Jaguar Building on the city centre campus, accessible from Gosford Street, off Junction 3 of the ring road.

For further information and to register, please email or visit or call + 44 (0) 24 7688 8614 For the School of Lifelong Learning visit or email or call + 44(0) 24 7688 7867

evolve letters

Letters Jealous graduate

star letter



received my ‘bite size’ evolve magazine today in the post – all the way in Barbados and I read it from cover to cover with a mixture of emotions.

I am so proud of the University and all it has achieved, but I also felt disappointed and jealous in that all these ‘cool things’ have happened AFTER my time there. It got me to consider doing a PhD so I could have access to the PebblePad system and the Business Enterprise Works scheme! As an entrepreneur myself, I know the pitfalls, trials, tribulations and joy that this path takes you on and I am so proud of Coventry to recognise this and prepare students to form their own enterprise – even while studying! I now need to research what the ‘23 soft landing zones’ are in Step 10 [featured in the article Culture of Enterprise on page 28 of evolve autumn 2008] refer to and how I access these as an international graduate. I left Coventry in 2005 with my MA in Diplomacy, Law and Global Change. I lived in Lynden House on Spencer Road and I have been back once (February 2008) for a few days. After graduation I returned to Barbados where I worked at an umbrella body for the service providers on the island but my heart was restless and in April 2008 I ‘fired my boss’ to open my own consultancy firm here in Barbados called DYKON Developments ( The firm existed for 12 years in another Caribbean island but I have taken up the mantle in Barbados. My areas of expertise are trade in services, trade facilitation, export promotion, trade negotiations like the recent Cariforum-EU EPA. In fact, the organisation where I previously worked, the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries ( is preparing to host a Trade Mission to the West Midlands later this year. I am currently now on the Board of Directors of this organisation (BCSI) and I am thinking of ways that I can use my contacts and experience with the University to facilitate this visit and perhaps even attend in my capacity as Board Director. Various businesses from the West Midlands have visited Barbados for the last two years on Inbound Trade Missions seeking to partner with Barbadian businesses here. Keep up the excellent work Coventry – and FOCUS for keeping me posted! I will get over my feelings of jealousy, as I am happy that the incoming generations have all these benefits. Now if only I could get funding for that PhD! Liesl Harewood MA Diplomacy, Law and Global Change, 2005


Share your views with other Friends of Coventry University and you could win £25 to spend in Waterstone’s. Our star letter prize is kindly donated by Waterstone’s Coventry University. Please send letters to Letters, Development Office, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB

Long distance Member benefits

relationship I

Dear FOCUS, would like to thank you and all your colleagues for sending me the evolve magazines and accepting me as one of FOCUS’ members.



am delighted about the distance you go to keep in touch. Keeping in mind that I graduated in 1990, 18 years ago, I feel as important to you today as you were to me in those days. I left a piece of my heart in Coventry. It’s nice to feel there’s a retribution somehow. I read the magazines you send me from cover to cover and I keep them.

It was an enormous joy for me to see there are people like you that have put so much effort into keeping in touch with members around the world and also have some of them reunited after so many years.

Last year a friend of mine went to Coventry and brought me a jumper from the University that I now wear when I exercise. It’s impressive how you are still present in my life. I’ll check Facebook to keep in touch.

I wish you greater success in what you are doing for members. M. Fatemi-Anarjan, Lanchester Polytechnic, 1986

Miriam Portugal, MA Electronic Graphics, 1989

Thank you Dear FOCUS, Just a quick note to thank you so much for sending me Evolve. I was in a slightly homesick mood because of being away from family and friends over Christmas and New Year and its arrival over here in South Korea, where I am a Professor in the Liberal Arts Faculty at Daegu Catholic University, couldn’t have been timed any more perfectly. A real ‘pick me up’. Thanks again! Simon Thomas, Applied Social Science, 1988

Waterstone’s is the UK’s leading academic bookseller, with a comprehensive range of course books, textbooks and professional titles at highly competitive prices. The shop stocks an extensive range of academic books from the UK and abroad, with an expert team on hand to help.

Waterstone’s, Coventry University, Frederick Lanchester Building, Gosford St, Coventry, CV1 5DD, or visit other Coventry branches in Cathedral Lanes and the Lower Precinct.


evolve reunions

Night to remember It was a night of glitz and glamour in March at a special Gala Ball to celebrate the University’s past, present and future


ver 300 people, including the University’s graduates, staff and friends, got together at the Gala Ball. Held at the Chesford Grange in Kenilworth, a 16-piece orchestra, fine dining and roaming paparazzi all made it a night to remember Vice-Chancellor Madeleine Atkins welcomed everyone and presented some of the highlights from the University’s history as well as revealed future projects. Graham Selden (Business Studies, 1997) enjoyed the evening with other friends from his course. “We all meet up twice a year anyway,” said Graham who is now European Manager for Boeing Global Mobility Systems. “We thought coming back for the Ball would be a fun way to meet up.” Graham’s friend Paul Nelson who now runs car dealerships for Bassetts Group in South Wales and is married to fellow Occupational Therapy graduate Rhian (nee Francis) also enjoyed the occasion. “It’s great to get everyone together again.” Stephen Grady (Environmental Science, 1998), an adviser on European environmental policy for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, came to the Ball from Cambridge and said: “It has been interesting to see how much the University has changed – both in technology and teaching methods.”


Celebrate: Graduates Paul and Rhian Nelson get ready to dance the night away.

Looking smart: Two former Students’ Union VP Communications Officers Jack Lowman (back) and Richard Hayward (front right) enjoy a drink with Andrew Godridge (Manufacturing and Business Studies, 1992) who is a Health and Safety Officer for Terex in Coventry.

Reunited: Matthew and Susie Woodgate, Stuart and Jo Davies, Greg and Helen Williams, Rhian (nee Francis) and Paul Nelson and Graham Selden.

Having fun: Stephen Grady and his partner Rachel arrive at the Ball.


evolve events

events diary Enjoy events happening on and off campus – many are free to attend or are at a discounted price. Keep up to date by visiting the events section of the website

May 30 May-4 June Degree Show 2009 Coventry’s final year students’ showcases Time: 10am-5pm Place: Graham Sutherland/Maurice Foss

June 4 June Graduate Fashion Show View graduates’ fashion pieces at this free show or £10 for the VIP show. Time: 2pm or 8pm Place: The Herbert, Jordan Well, Coventry

WIN a weekend hotel break for two!

12–14 June MCM Communications Management 2004 Reunion


A reunion for the class of 2004.

Family Halloween Event, children welcome.

Place: Coventry

Place: Alan Berry



26 September Business Law Class of 1972 Reunion

27 November 1974 Graduation reunion

Did you graduate in Business Law in 1972? If so, you may like to join your class mates at a reunion dinner in Coventry. Contact Colin Perkin for further details at or on 024 7688 8691 before the end of June.

31 October Spooky Ghost Tour of Coventry

For all those who missed out on their graduation ceremony in 1974, join us for a celebration event 35 years on. Time: TBC Place: Coventry Cathedral

For more information about any of these events or to advertise a reunion, please call the alumni office on +44 (0) 24 7688 8589.


poil yourself with this prize of a weekend break for two, which includes two nights in a luxury suite with dinner, bed and breakfast at the four star Ramada Hotel Coventry. The lucky winner will stay in one of the Hotel’s luxury suites, which includes a lounge/dining room with its own kitchenette. The prize also includes a meal for two on both evenings in the Hotel’s Mediterranean style restaurant Fellinis. The Ramada Hotel in Coventry is a contemporary, art-deco style hotel based in the city-centre and was the Gold award winner of the 2008 Godiva Award for the Best Hotel in Coventry and Warwickshire. Plan a weekend back in the city where you were once a student and you can even arrange a tour of the campus or a night out in the Students’ Union. To be in with a chance of winning a luxury weekend away, just unscramble the name of this person that is related to Coventry.

YADL OVIGAD Please send entries to or post to Hotel Break, Development Office, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB by the closing date of 1 September 2009. Terms and conditions • This prize must be taken at a weekend (Friday and Saturday nights) and is subject to availability. • The prize is only for the Ramada Hotel Coventry


• Meals are for both evenings in the Fellinis restaurant • No cash alternative will be offered • Editor’s decision is final

Graduation glory 35 years on It was a double celebration for the Leek family at last year’s November graduation


ot only did Andrew Leek (Graphic Design, 2008) graduate in November but his father and graduate Robert (Business Law, 1974) got to witness an experience he missed out on 35 years ago. Due to the terrorist pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974, the University did not hold its annual graduation ceremony and thousands of graduates like Robert were denied the chance to collect their certificate in Coventry Cathedral. Robert, who wrote to evolve to tell his story and share the good news about his son’s graduation, won the star letter in the autumn 2008 issue and the alumni office photographed him with his son on the day. Robert said: “I was so proud to be in the Cathedral to see Andy graduate and right the wrong of 34 years ago.” To right the 1974 graduation injustice, the University will be inviting graduates from 1974 back on campus on 27 November 2009 to celebrate the 35th anniversary and make amends for the missed graduation (see left for details). If you know of anyone who graduated in 1974 without a ceremony, please contact the alumni office on +44 (0) 24 7688 8589 or email with details so as many graduates can be invited to the event as possible.

Double celebration: Andrew Leek (front) graduates with his father and alumnus Robert watching on

Class Reunions

Get back together with your former classmates for a reunion weekend to remember


ver wondered what everyone went onto do after graduating from your course? Conquer your curiosity and let the alumni office help you organise a class reunion. Graduates from across the decades are organising reunions to catch up with all those people they once shared a lecture theatre with. Alumni Relations Officer Kristina Anders said: “We find that these are

the most popular types of reunions. Everyone wonders who is doing well in their career and how lives have changed since they graduated. A class reunion is a great way to find out and we can help with all the planning and organising.”

If you are interested in getting support to host a class reunion back in Coventry, contact the alumni office on + 44 (0) 24 7688 8589.


Member Benefits • Discounted Library membership – only £20 per year • Special conference centre rates at the TechnoCentre Email or call +44 (0) 24 7623 6016 • Careers advice and enterprise: For graduate vacancies see Email, tel: +44 (0) 24 7615 2525 • University Sports Centre – discounts on full to basic membership • Join Coventry University Wine Club – call +44 (0) 24 7688 8161

Discounts on attractions such as The Alton Towers Resort, Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo, LEGOLAND® Windsor, Madame Tussauds London, the Dungeons, SEA LIFE centres & Sanctuaries, THORPE PARK and Warwick Castle. Call +44 (0) 870 220 4000 and quote Coventry University along with the date of your visit.

Exclusive Open Fairways Offer – save up to 50% on your green fees at over 1800 golf courses around the world with the Open Fairways Privilege Card. Join today for only £69 and start saving. Log onto or call +44 (0) 28 9073 1055, quote offer code COV09.


Car Hire

Days Out

• Associate membership of the Students’ Union – call +44 (0) 24 7679 5200


University Offers

Benefit from your connection to the University and get discounts on useful services listed below. For more information go to or call the alumni team on +44 (0) 24 7688 8589.

Up to 20% off car and van hire with National Car Rental in the UK and over 80 countries worldwide. To book or obtain a quote, call +44 (0) 870 191 6950 and quote: A000839 for UK car hire, A000840 for UK van hire, 8577504 for International car hire and A000839G for Guy Salmon hire. *Please note these codes are due to change, please check the alumni website for the latest ones.

Save up to 30%* on AA Personal Membership from the UK’s No. 1 breakdown organisation. Members are also eligible for 25% off European Breakdown Cover. Call + 44 (0) 800 048 0075 and quote Coventry 627. *Terms and conditions apply. Discount applies to new members only. Please ask for full details when calling.

Save 25% on RAC Breakdown Membership for you and your immediate family at enrolment or renewal.* Call +44 (0) 800 581 077 and quote GE0300. *Terms and conditions apply. Please ask for full details when calling.



Save 10% on a holiday with cottages4you. 15,000 properties throughout the UK, France, Ireland Spain, Portugal and Italy. Visit or call +44 (0) 845 268 1282. Quote COV10 when booking.


Stay in the four-star luxury of the Ramada Hotel in Coventry – Gold Award Winner of the 2008 Godiva Award for “Best Hotel” in Coventry and Warwickshire. Discounted rates start at £67.50 per B&B. Call +44 (0) 870 890 3722 and quote Coventry University Rate (or call the alumni office for larger group bookings).


evolve benefits

Up to 10% discount on advanced bookings for airport parking and airport hotels in the UK. Visit or call +44 (0) 871 360 2131 and quote WY705.

At Your Service As a Friend of Coventry University you also receive: Your magazine – evolve magazine will be sent to you twice a year, to keep you in touch with University developments as well as news from other members, forthcoming events, benefits and more. Your E-news – A popular e-newsletter sent to members on a monthly basis with news, updates and competitions. Your website – for all the latest news and information.

Power play

How one graduate’s enterprise is changing lives in Africa

City living

See the radical changes that will regenerate Coventry’s city centre

Classroom innovation Making radical changes to teaching Engineering and Computing



lb re a


How farmer and TV personality Jimmy Doherty left Coventry to set up his pig farm


ho a

Telephone: +44 (0) 24 7688 8589 Email: Post: Alumni Relations, Development Office, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK

Your memories of Coventry and student life from over the years


Coventry wants to hear from you

Making history

W in a a lu w he xu ee art ry ke of ho nd C tel aw ov in a en th y in tr e y

Find a Friend – Our database of over 37,000 members may be the link between you and your old friends. Keep in touch,



Your events – Members are invited to attend many guest lectures and exhibitions that take place at the University.

The magazine for Friends of Coventry University

Spring/Summer 2009

Your reunions – Get help organising your reunion we can track down old friends, arrange tours or hotel accommodation.


e Gift Shop

The University

Round Crystal Paperweight Mini Bears

Cuff Links Mini Cut Vase

Satin Notepad and Mirror Tankard

Business Card Case

Tipsy Clock Champagne Flutes

Remember your student days with pride and buy special souvenirs branded with the University name or logo. It’s now even easier to choose from our selection of high quality goods by shopping online: If you wish to make purchases by mail order please contact Jackie Walsh, Alan Berry Reception, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB. Telephone 024 7688 8774 or e-mail for further details.

Please note: refunds are only available where goods are faulty, statutory legal rights are not affected. Goods will be delivered within 21 days of receipt of order. If you are not fully satisfied, goods may be returned within seven days for a full refund. Prices are valid until September 2009.

Evolve Spring 2009 - Coventry University Alumni Magazine  

Evolve is Coventry University's magazine for Alumni

Evolve Spring 2009 - Coventry University Alumni Magazine  

Evolve is Coventry University's magazine for Alumni