Fashion graduates, husband and wife Colin and Gale Alexander, join with their son and law graduate Adam to step forth at graduations

IT’S never too late to follow your dreams.  This is exactly the case for a local married couple in their sixties who, together with their son, graduated during the 2017 summer graduation ceremonies all with degrees from the University of Huddersfield. 

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Pictured (l-r) husband and wife Colin and Gale Alexander with their son Adam, and Colin and Gale again with their fashion tutor Mio Jin

Colin and Gale Alexander graduated together on 13 July with BA(Hons) degrees in Fashion Design (with Marketing and Production) and attribute it to the encouragement of their son Adam, who had also graduated earlier in the week with a Master’s degree in Law.  On realising this was to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, Adam extended his gown hire so they could all have their photo taken together when his parents graduated.

Colin and Gale are from Brighouse and after a difficult time ‘limping through the recession’ with their engineering business they decided enough was enough and a different avenue had to be found.  Regrettably after applying for jobs they realised their once up-to-date and professional skills were no longer the criteria in job vacancies and they found themselves at a bit of a loss.

Adam, who at the time was studying for a BA(Hons) degree in Computer Programming at the University, encouraged his parents to think about going to university.  After some trepidation, they decided to brave it and attended a University Open Day to find out more.

The couple narrowed their options down to studying either journalism, photography or fashion.  After speaking with the fashion lecturers and thinking about what they could possibly include in their portfolio, the couple came to the realisation that fashion was an area that sparked an interest in them both.  They applied and to their surprise they were both accepted.

The staff were so helpful and we were encouraged all the way.  It was quite amusing on the first day because we brought Adam with us to guide us around the campus and give us his friendly advice and people assumed that it was him wanting to enrol on a degree course, when in fact it was his parents standing next to him.

Gale Alexander

In the course of their first year of study, the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture nominated both Colin and Gale for a Kirklees Council Achievement Award.  They jointly received their award in the category of Learning Family of the Year and were presented with a plaque, certificate and shopping voucher at a ceremony held in Huddersfield Town Hall.

The couple learnt and studied together for three years and eventually with the inspiration and support of Fashion Lecturer Mio Jin they discovered a new found freedom which carried them through the crucial final year of their studies.  Gale is now working for online baby clothes company Sa-Be Baby Wear and is designing bespoke baby items and garments, ably-assisted by Colin.

“The last three years at the University of Huddersfield have been life-changing for the both of us,” said Gale.  “I would say to anyone you’re never too old to go to university.  The lecturers are amazing and we have both been supported throughout.  I’m actually excited now at what the future has in store.”