Freshers, welcome to Liverpool. And refreshers, a warm welcome back. If you’re a fan of the Beatles or football, especially a Liverpool supporter, the city of Liverpool has no doubt already been a part of your life this summer. This city has given you plenty of people to adore. But sneaking along the sidelines are folk who actually attended the University, and for better or worse have already been a part of your life without you realising.
Anyone go abroad this summer, or off to a gap year or several? If you found yourself in continents such as South America or Africa it’s likely you kitted yourself out with malaria tablets and a mosquito net. This is where you can thank the university – Sir Ronald Ross, who attended Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1899, proved that malaria is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1902, and continued to work on the disease. A milestone towards malaria treatment, plus now we know to wear long sleeves. Nice one Ross.
“The most unusual thing I ever stole? A snowman.” Ring a bell? It may well do if you’re a UK student who took English at GCSE, which you definitely did, and took it with the AQA exam board, which you may well have. Featured in the AQA anthology, Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry was the bane of our lives when GCSEs were the most important thing going on in them. Here we learned to spot alliteration and metaphors, and how often a poet could use the word “potato” (thanks, Seamus Heaney). Carol Ann Duffy, who graduated from UoL in 1977, was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009 and has a staggering amount of works and awards whether you’re a fan or not. If you were enough of a geek at the time you can probably still recite her poems.
If you’re a regular news watcher chances are you know of Jon Snow, and if you aren’t he may have snuck into a place in your heart anyway. He’s a top and long-standing journalist and presenter, known for his sharp interviews as well as his selection of colourful ties. He recently presented the multiple award-winning investigative documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished. The twist is that he was actually expelled from the University of Liverpool before he could complete his degree, but his rustication was for involvement an anti-apartheid student protest in the 70s. An activist student as any, he was awarded his honorary degree in 2011. Interestingly the Daily Mail refers to him as “the thinking woman’s pin up”.
Then Nick Grimshaw graduated from UoL in 2005. He brings you Skrillex… regularly.
You might feel these people have positively contributed to your lives, or not. Regardless, now’s your chance to compete. Scientist or artist, have a shot at becoming some alumnus that the University of Liverpool won’t forget.