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Family affair for graduation day trio

08 Jul 2010

A student has become the third generation of women in her family to graduate in English at The University of Manchester.

Grandmother and manchester english graduate Barbara Bailey
Grandmother and manchester english graduate Barbara Bailey

Floriana Occhipinti, will receive her degree certificate in front of proud mother Susan Bailey and grandmother Barbara Bailey (pictured) today (8 July).

Both Susan and Barbara graduated with honours in English in 1978 and 1956 respectively. Now the 22-year-old will be awarded joint honours in English and Italian.

Floriana lived in the same hall of residence, Whitworth Park, as did her mother over 30 years ago and like her mother spent her year out in Italy as a teaching assistant with the British Council.

But unlike her mother Susan, who lectures in English at Wiltshire College,Salisbury, Floriana wants to become a translator and hopes to do a Masters in Translation Studies in a year’s time.

Floriana said: “All three of us shared some elements of the syllabus but today's course is very different to the 1950s.

“Nowadays English students focus on fewer books but in more detail.

“In my mother and grandmother's day there were extra courses to study and much more reading matter.

“My course was more free-thinking and creative.”

Barbara, from St Annes, met her husband Keith at The University of Manchester where he studied French.

“We were both required to take Latin and began our life together in the library translating Caesar, which is not a far cry from Italian,” she said.

The Manchester connection runs deep: her son Paul also went to Manchester, though to study Economics.

Barbara has high hopes for her two granddaughters Eleanor and Maia who are both, she says, talented at English. That could eventually mean four  English graduates following in her footsteps.

Susan, from Fordingbridge,Hampshire, said "My mother and I were very pleased Floriana chose Manchester  but were a little worried  as it is so far away from her family.

“Of course we were also pleased she chose to read English with Italian which is her passion.

“We are all very proud of her and delighted that she has carried on the family tradition of graduating in English at Manchester"

Floriana, who was based at the school, of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, added: “Manchester is a good place to study and to live.

“My connection to the city is strong and I intend to stay here for the foreseeable future.”

Notes for editors

Picture opportunity at 1pm on 8 July, at the Old Quadrangle, University of Manchester, Oxford Road.

Images and interviews are available.

For media enquiries contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567
michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk