Generations of York: Mike and Clare

Various photos of Mike and Clare, one where he is walking her down the aisle, another where he is in Graduation dress, another where he is holding her as a baby and another where she is smiling with a friend

In our latest instalment of ‘Generations of York’ we speak to Mike and his daughter Clare, who both attended York. Mike came to the university to study Maths during its early years, while Clare studied Nursing in 2001. Mike now lives in Italy, and Clare lives in York where she often brings her children to campus too! Here they reminisce about student life, campus walks and how they think their York experience has changed across the years.

Why did you decide to come to York? 

Mike (Dad): I came to York as it was new and refreshing in 1967 when I started, with good opportunities to live on campus, good diversity of students and fairly convenient from my home town of Bolton. York were also kind enough to offer me a place!

Clare (Daughter): I grew up in York and my grandmother lived in Heslington, so I remember feeding the ducks and playing in the topiary around Heslington hall. I was really excited to be a student at York, and perhaps having such a good option locally encouraged my rather unadventurous decision to remain at York to study.

I grew up in York and my grandmother lived in Heslington, so I remember feeding the ducks and playing in the topiary around Heslington hall.

What are your favourite memories your time at university?

Mike: My memories are the comradeship of fellow students and particularly from my own college Alcuin. Many memories of playing cards in the night in the porter’s lodge! I played a lot of Bridge and captained the University team. I enjoyed my course in Mathematics and Economics, and still love the campus. I never ever really moved away as I lived for nearly forty years in Fulford near the university. It is great to see how the university has grown.

Clare: One of my favourite times at the university was when we had some exchange students join us for several months, and I made great friends with a Finnish student nurse called Mirka. I loved showing her around the city and she kindly reciprocated when we went to visit her in Finland. We have since met up in the UK and Finland and plan to do so again soon – I will definitely come back to wander around campus with her 20 years on.

Clare with exchange student Mirka, during university

How do you think your university experience differs from when each other attended?

Mike: I think I probably got more social life out of my years at York than Clare who lived at home and did a fair amount of practical nursing care. It was quite a surprise to know she was going there. Nursing and Mathematics are quite different though.

Clare: It has been interesting to think about the differences between mine and my dad’s time at York. I was actually also at Alcuin and I hadn’t realised that he was too. I studied Mental Health nursing in 2001 – 2003, and dad is right that mine was quite a full course with lots of hours of placement. I did certainly make time for socialising (mostly at the Lowther and at Victor J’s in town) but as I lived off campus, I regretfully never integrated as much into the university life as I could have done. 

Nevertheless, I have very fond memories of the university. I always loved walking through the campus with the water and the concrete and having returned to York in recent years, I can again enjoy taking my children to the campus.

I always loved walking through the campus with the water and the concrete and having returned to York in recent years, I can again enjoy taking my children to the campus.

Any final comments?

Mike: I had the pleasure of lecturing in the Mathematics department a course on the Maths of Finance and was involved in writing the course and setting and marking the exams. It was quite demanding but good fun. I probably made some terrible mistakes but I learnt a lot by giving over 30 lectures to the final year students of the Maths degree. The course was very popular, but my teaching was more to do with students thinking about their future careers.

I am an Actuary and now the University offers an actuarial course. I came back to the University to give a talk to the actuarial students on my career as an actuary and how the profession had changed. I gave this talk 50 years after I was a student there, which was quite amazing. Not many people can have the chance to do that!

I gave this talk 50 years after I was a student there, which was quite amazing. Not many people can have the chance to do that!

If you have your own family story of York that you’d like to share, please get in touch by emailing alumni@york.ac.uk

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3 Comments

  1. Richard Standring

    Good to hear from you Mike
    Richard Standing- part of your Bridge team, with Tony Bullen

    1. Good to hear from you!!i don’t play bridge much these days although occasionally appear online. I remember your famous psyches! Perhaps this technique was useful in later life!! Best wishes to your family and Beverly. Mike

  2. Good to read your comments Mike. I remember you from Alcuin days when those of us who couldn’t aspire to your bridge expertise played less demanding card games in the kitchen in ‘A’ block. From Alcuin I’m still in touch with Dave Gray and Jane Fry (nee Cherry). And I got back to talk to undergraduates about using the transferable skills of Biology in non-biological careers! All the best, John Randall

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