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Sydney Garvey

An unattended graduation ceremony long since forgotten plus a surprise trip to Imperial equalled a Commemoration Day treat for alumnus Sydney Garvey.

Sixty-four years after originally being awarded his first class honours degree in mathematics, Sydney Garvey finally returned to the College to receive his certificate on Commemoration Day. Sydney, 85, was presented with his certificate by Professor Christopher Isham, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences, at the departmental reception.

Although the campus has changed beyond recognition since Sydney was last here, he has fond memories of Imperial College, not least because he met his wife here. 

A prominent memory for Sydney took place just before one of his examinations in 1940, when one of his lecturers advised him not to be distracted by the day's news. It was not until after the exam that he actually heard that France had fallen to Germany! It was also WWII that prevented Sydney from collecting his degree certificate, as degree ceremonies could not be held during the war.

After completing his degree Sydney took a job at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, sparking an interest in Aeronautics. When Sydney returned to the College the following year to obtain his Diploma of Imperial College in Aeronautics he was awarded a Sherbrook Scholarship of £150. As his rent was only 30 shillings a week, it allowed him to live like a king for the year.

Sydney's daughter, Helen and friend, Margaret accompanied him to the reception. They had managed to keep his visit to Imperial a secret until a few days before, only arousing his suspicions when he was informed that he would need to bring his suit along with him on his trip to London.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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