Hundreds of former college students to reunite in Ripon

Ripon is set to host nearly 300 former students of Ripon & York St John who will return to celebrate their time in the historic city this month.

By Janet Harrison
Friday, 27th May 2022, 2:16 pm

The campus was a teacher training college from 1891 before developing into a full fledged university campus.

It was controversially closed down between 1999 and 2001, with a loss of 120 jobs and estimated cost of £12million to the Ripon economy. Its 800 students were relocated to York.

Organiser John Robertson said: “What started as a few friends wanting to get together snowballed.

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“I think it helped that we asked in the middle of Covid and people wanted something to look forward to.

“We now have around 300 Ripon graduates coming, meeting in the city on Saturday June 18, having meals and reuniting.

“We have booked the football and rugby clubs in the evening to bring us together one last time.”

The group includes a retired teacher from 1974 and 68 graduates from the 1978 intake celebrating 40 years since graduating.

Fellow organiser Stuart Baird left in 1992 and marks 30 years since his graduation.

He said: “Ripon turned out thousands of highly motivated and talented graduates over the decades.

“In the teaching profession, graduating from Ripon was a mark of quality and guaranteed someone a job.

“For all of us, including those of us who weren’t teachers, it was a superb experience. Many of the lecturers are still mentioned with affection to this day.

“Those who might struggle in bigger cities or university campuses flourished here.

“Those who helped run the college - from groundsmen to catering staff made students very welcome, like it was a second home.

“A lot of us would work through the summer at the college conference centre or at Lightwater Valley.”

Those attending will also raise money for a local Ripon charity during the evening as a mark of appreciation to the city.