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The graduation hat trick: generations of alumni return to Bristol

Graduation hat trick – Lewis family

24 July 2014

Richard Lewis (BA 2014) made Bristol history when he graduated this summer with the same gown and hood that was worn by three generations before him, including his father, his grandfather and his great uncle who graduated in 1933.

All three generations of Bristol graduates, Richard Lewis (BSc 2014), Peter Lewis (BSc 1980), and Richard’s grandfather, Michael Lewis (BA 1954), attended the ceremony, which concluded with a special celebration in the School of Earth Sciences to carry on the grand tradition.

Michael Lewis (BSc 1954), Richard’s grandfather said: 'Watching my grandson, Richard, receive his degree brought back many happy memories of my own time at Bristol. I was a keen cricketer, and so it was terrific to see the family achieve a hat-trick of 2.1s some sixty years on! My degree from this great University enabled me to hold senior positions in both private industry and the public sector, and for this I will be forever grateful.'

Peter Lewis (BSc 1980), Richard’s father, said: 'It was a splendid summer’s day celebrating Richard’s graduation, especially with the warm, friendly welcome from the Earth Sciences department. I was delighted to meet the widow and daughter of Professor Paul Hancock, who had taught me at Bristol. And it was moving to see prizes awarded, honouring him and Phil Kearey, another senior lecturer from my time.'

But they aren’t the only Bristol graduates in the family. Other family members have also donned the historic hood and gown at a University graduation ceremony, including:

  • Leslie Dobbs (BSc 1933) who graduated with a degree in Physics and Mathematics and wore the University of Bristol silk hood for the first time;
  • Leslie’s daughter, Ann West (née Dobbs) (BSc 1968), who graduated with a degree in Botany;
  • Leslie’s brother-in-law, Michael Lewis (BA 1954), who graduated with a degree in Geography and married Molly Willis (BA 1953-1953);
  • Michael’s son, Peter Lewis (BSc 1980), who graduated with a degree in Geology and married Charlotte (née Barden), Richard’s mother;
  • Charlotte’s sister and her brother, Sarah Llewellyn (née Barden) (BSc 1996) and Edwin Norman (MEng 1998), also graduated from Bristol.