Alumni Services

February 2019

Graduates from the 1950s and 1960s share memories of student campaigning and their contributions to brewing science, oral history, civil society, medicine and environmental advocacy.

The 1950s and 1960s

Extra-curricular activities, from campaigning for nuclear disarmament and editing the student medical magazine to playing cricket for the Edinburgh West Indian Students’ Association, feature strongly in our graduates' memories of student life.

Since then, some have gone on to careers dedicated to achieving excellence in a specialism, like pulmonary expert Dr Thomas King, while others have pursued opportunities in multiple areas, like academic historian turned novelist Mary Chamberlain.

Geoff Palmer

Geoff Palmer

Alongside careers in research, science, technology and teaching, brewing science pioneer Professor Sir Geoff Palmer has contributed greatly to civil society and has a keen interest in Scottish-Caribbean historical connections.

Read Professor Sir Geoff Palmer's profile.


The Edinburgh West Indian Students’ Association was based at Potterrow, near George Square. It was the first time I came in contact with students from other Caribbean countries. The Association held different events. Some were social. Others related to political debates and plays wherein Caribbean patois languages were used instead of standard English.

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer

Mary Chamberlain

Mary Chamberlain

Politics graduate Mary Chamberlain on smuggling anti-Apartheid literature, developing oral history and reinventing herself as a novelist.

Read Mary Chamberlain's profile.

The politics department was young, small and ambitious. When I arrived in 1965, it was only three years old, with a total of twenty honours students, twelve of whom were in my year.

Mary ChamberlainNovelist and Emeritus Professor of Carribean History

David Shearman

David Shearman in the 1960s

Three-time graduate Dr David Shearman co-founded a charity in Australia that helps doctors and students to work together in environmental and health advocacy.

Read David Shearman's profile.

Teachers were friends, mentors and leaders; life was frugal but frequently inspirational. The most vital part of education was interactive life with the students from every country bringing their cultural, political and life experiences to Edinburgh.

Dr David J C Shearman

Moragh Bradshaw

Moragh Bradshaw on her graduation day

No stranger to helping people out, Moragh Bradshaw MBE tells us about her involvement in everything from student campaigns to extensive voluntary work, and shares her reason for supporting the University through a gift in her will.

Read Moragh Bradshaw's profile.

Particular fond memories are of skiing at Glen Shee with the Ski Club and getting snowed up (unfortunately only for one night), walking in the Pentland Hills, helping start the first Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) group [...]

Moragh C Bradshaw MBE

Thomas KC King

Thomas King in recent times

Professor Thomas KC King has led a distinguished career in pulmonary medicine and education since gaining his MBChB from Edinburgh Medical School in 1959.

Read Thomas KC King's profile.

My most favourite memories were the quality of the lectures which were both interesting and inspirational and delivered by world renowned professors.

Thomas KC KingProfessor Emeritus of Professor of Clinical Medicine

Send us your profile

We are interested in the role that the University has played in your life, either directly - in terms of skills and knowledge - or indirectly, via friends, experiences or chance encounters. Please get in touch and you and your experiences could feature on our website.