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11 Reasons You Should Be Proud To Be a University of Kent Graduate

Picture it, you’ve been at University for a while and you return back to your home town to all the old faces and old places and someone asks you: “so, what’s your University like?” You freeze,and stutter and you just talk about one “crazy night” you had that doesn’t sound so crazy once you’re describing it to your Aunt at breakfast.

It’s difficult to describe what your uni experiences are like without alienating someone who’s never been to your adopted city. To make it easier, the next time you’re playing University Top Trumps try throwing out a couple of these famous alumnus and locations. The references points will be a lot clearer.

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 1. David Mitchell

No, not the guy from ‘Peep Show’ or ‘Mock the Week’ but the author who has been nominated for two Booker Prizes with ‘number9dream’ (2001) and ‘Cloud Atlas’ (2004). David Mitchell attended the University of Kent for his BA in English & American Literature as well as his MA in Comparative Literature. He was even part of the Keynes Duck Appreciation Society which I highly doubt still exists.

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2. Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding dropped out of her Drama course during her second year at the University of Kent after being spotted at a talent competition. Although she isn’t technically an alumni she would’ve most definitely had a Jägerbomb or two in The Venue and that should suffice.

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3. The Canterbury Cathedral

The first Archbishop of Canterbury was St Augustine in 597,  the stained glass windows are from the late 12th century and Sir Thomas Beckett was murdered in there. The facts keep coming and beat any city’s Cathedral.

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4. Alan Davies

Unfairly positioned as Stephen Fry’s perennial foil in QI, Alan Davies arrived at the University of Kent in 1984 to study Drama and went on to receive an Honorary Doctorate in 2003. Apparently he was a fan of sitting outside The Old Neptune in Whitstable. However, when talking about things to be proud about maybe stick to Q.I. and leave out the whole ‘Jonathan Creek’ thing.

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5. Tom Wilkinson

A BAFTA for the Full Monty, two Academy Award nominations for ‘In the Bedroom’ and ‘Michael Clayton’ as well as an appearance in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and – the best film of all time – ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Tom Wilkinson has an acting CV all graduates of the University of Kent should be proud of. Also, another graduate in English and American Literature. Hell of a course.

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6. Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’

Known by everyone and read by no-one. Nevertheless, what other city has a story based on it from the 1400s?

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7. Kazuo Ishiguro

Born in Japan but moved to England at the age of 5, Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Booker Prize for his novel ‘Remains of the Day’ (1989) as well as writing the novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ (2005) which was later adapted into a movie with Kiera Knightly and Spiderman. He graduated in 1978 with a BA in English and Philosophy however, sadly, he once described his university years as “dull” in an interview with The Paris Review.

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8. Gavin Esler

Another one to make those Literature grads feel good about themselves. Gavin Esler received his BA in English & American Literature in 1974 before becoming a novelist and presenter for the BBC for shows like Newsnight and BBC News at 5. Esler lived in Tankerton, Whitstable and I’m certain he didn’t enjoy that windy, long daily commute. Oh, he’s also now the university’s Chancellor.

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9. The White Cliffs of Dover

We all sang about the cliffs in infants school but how many of you have actually been able to see them?

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10. Joseph Conrad was buried in Canterbury

Joseph Conrad or, as his grave reads, Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, was the author of ‘Lord Jim’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’. The latter being adapted by Francis Ford Coppola for ‘Apocalypse Now’. His grave is located close to the University in the Canterbury City Cemetery off of Westgate Court Avenue.

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11. Turner Contemporary

Located in front of the large Morrisons and the harrowing Dreamland arcade building is the Turner Contemporary. Appearing hugely out of place surrounded by things that were probably charming in the 1960s but now seem out of time, the museum sticks out like a futuristic sore thumb. Full of all J.M.W. Turner’s major artworks, you should visit now before the movie comes out and everyone starts to flock there.

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And maybe something not to be proud of…

E. L. James, author of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ 

Responsible for such immortal sentences as: “I feel the colour in my cheeks rising again. I must be the colour of The Communist Manifesto,” graduated from The University of Kent with a degree in History. Although her significant wealth is admirable, her invention of the genre ‘lit-porn’ is not.

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