Graduation - one year on!

A photo of graduate Jim with his grandaughter and wife.

As we prepare to celebrate with our latest batch of graduating students this week, we have also been reflecting on last year's ceremony with our alumni, and finding out what they have been doing since then. Here is one such story from Jim Ashwood, who graduated from the Part-time MA degree last year with an MA (Honours) in History. 

"My graduation last year was something of a homecoming for me. It was a weird experience returning to where I had been born in 1945 in Smalls Wynd, and thinking about how I had now become one of those students who had fascinated me as a little boy playing in the streets.

"The campus at that time had a definite demarcation line. Everything north of Cross Row to the Hawkhill was mainly local community housing (tenements), jute factories, and shops. Everything south of Cross Row to the Perth Road was mainly University buildings.

"When I retired in 2010, I decided to look for a new challenge. I certainly got it when I joined the Part-time MA degree course. I had worked in construction management and going from construction to arts and social science was as different as chalk and cheese, and I was not sure if I could do it.

"However I fell in love with everything about University life. I thought that after a lifetime working in industry, I would know a bit about life. I was so wrong and the modules I took in philosophy, the arts, history, languages and English literature saw a new world open out and gave me a whole new perspective on life.

"I embraced University life completely and was a Peer Connector for four years. My role was welcoming international students at coffee meetings and telling them about Dundee and its history and helping them get their tongues around the Dundee dialect.

"In 2016 I was proud to be awarded  the University Volunteer of the Year (for servces to the local community) and also the Dundee University Overall Volunteer award (for all categories).

"Since graduation I have put my skills to good use in the U3A  (University of the Third Age). I was Group Leader in American History last summer at the U3A residential summer school. We had members from all over the UK attending. I have also carried out a 10 week course last winter in American Civil Rights for the local branch of the U3A. I have also been asked to do presentaions at other U3A groups throughout Scotland. So its been quite successful for me – they seem to like what I have got to say and that’s wholly due to Dundee University. 

"It was a proud day for myself and my family last year when I graduated with an MA (Hons) in History. In some ways I feel I have 'squared the circle' from my early years in Smalls Wynd until today."

The image above shows Jim on his graduation day last year, along with his grandaughter Jaime, who is also a University of Dundee student, and his wife Maureen.