December 2017

Four alumni return to find UCB transformed - 49 years after graduating

Read time: approx 1 mins

After graduating UCB in 1978, Mike Coombs and Mike Butler kept in touch via yearly Christmas cards. Last year, they managed to track down two more ex-classmates over the internet – over five decades since they all first started their Higher National Diplomas in 1975. The four graduates returned to Birmingham for a tour of the University and were bowled over by their alma mater’s transformation.

Now close to retirement, alumni Mike Coombs, Mike Butler, Simon Willson and Graham Read went on to rich and varied careers in catering and business after graduating what was known as ‘Birmingham College of Food and the Domestic Arts’ in the late seventies.

“It was a pleasure to revisit the scene of so many fond memories,” said Mike Coombs, now Catering Manager at Liverpool College Boarding School.

UCB has expanded its facilities almost beyond recognition since the ex-students graduated, incorporating Richmond House in 2001 and building state-of-the-art campus facility McIntyre House in 2014, with plans for a further site, Moss House in the Jewellery Quarter, well underway.

However, some features of the tour still bought a pang of nostalgia – like Summer Row’s 5th floor Library, which was a student bar in the late seventies and a favourite haunt for the four alumni. 

“We would love to get in touch with other ex-students from our days in the 5th floor bar,” added Mike. “We are four of just five in our old class at college, and it would be great to track down our final classmate. It has been great for the rest of us really ‘old boys’ to have such an informative tour.” 

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