UCLan founder’s descendant graduates from Preston’s university

Posted on - 21st December, 2018 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, UCLan, University campus
Roger at his graduation, holding a painting of ancestor Joseph Livesey
Roger at his graduation, holding a painting of ancestor Joseph Livesey

A Chorley man has graduated from the University of Central Lancashire 190 years after his great-great-great grandfather helped establish the institution.


Roger Livesey, who was awarded a Masters in Community and Social Care, is the three times removed grandson of Joseph Livesey.

Joseph, a local cheesemonger, philanthropist and founder of the Temperance Movement, co-founded the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge in 1828.

Read more: Pop-up think-tank exploring how Prestonians will use new University Square

The Cannon Street institution, which was a place where people could meet for thought-provoking lectures, to access a library, and to share ideas, eventually became UCLan.

Roger, who returned to study following a 27 year career at BAE Systems, said: “I am extremely proud to be graduating from UCLan and of my family connections.

“Joseph helped to put Preston on the map and had a vision to open up education to everyone. He talked about diversity at a time when it was an alien concept, so I think he’d be really pleased with the work UCLan does to encourage people from all walks of life to come to university.”

Read more: Apology issued after power cut disrupts UCLan graduations

Roger only found out he was a direct descendant of Joseph at the age of 22, after someone from the Livesey Historical Society prompted him to investigate his family tree.

Roger continued: “I knew we were related, but I didn’t realise how closely. I grew up in Burscough but always had an affinity to Preston. When I walk on the Flag Market and down Cannon Street I get a strange feeling I’m at home.

“Looking back at paintings of Joseph there is definitely a family resemblance; my dad Kenneth especially looked like him. We all have similar noses and eyebrows.”

Read more: Preston’s engineering centre at UCLan is nearing completion

Roger is now studying at Runshaw College on the UCLan validated PGCE for further and higher education. Like Joseph, Roger says he feels inspired to help people through education and community projects.

He said: “I ended up working in engineering, but it wasn’t my passion. Returning to study has been refreshing and has ignited my desire for politics and social enterprise. I’ve worked with Galloway’s Society for the Blind as part of my Masters and am keen to continue this line of work.

“I think Joseph would be very proud of what I’ve achieved, especially as I’m registered deaf but I’ve never let this stop me from being successful. My ambition is to eventually teach at UCLan and in my own way, stand in his shoes.”

What do you think of this family connection? Can you see the resemblance? Let us know in the comments below.

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