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Alumni of the Month February 2007
Hugh Lee (1998 Philosophy, Politics and Economics)
1. How did you get to where you are now?
I am in Leeds working part time as a lecturer at Leeds, Manchester, York and Hull universities. I teach qualitative research methods to postgrad. students working in the public sector and undergrads in the medical school at Leeds. I got here via an access course, a PPE degree at Keele, an MA in health studies and a Ph.D using queer theory at Leeds university. I am leaving soon to live in South Asia and try to make a difference to lives over there.
2. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I won’t rank them. I leave that to others and bet there would not be agreement. I have a Ph.D. but left school with one ‘O’ level in English and a CSE in maths. I ran a full, 26 mile marathon on Mount Everest having never run a marathon before. I stopped drinking alcohol completely 14 years ago after 13 years of abuse. I packed in smoking ten years ago after 23 years and eating meat four years ago after 40 years. I told my closest friends and family I am ‘gay’.
3. And your biggest mistake?
Not doing each of the things above a lot sooner.
4. What are your ambitions now?
To find a place and a medium through which I can show how we are all so completely unique and different that we should not worry or be valued or disvalued for any of our differences; yet we are all so similar in physical terms that 20 years after we die it is all but impossible to distinguish between us. Then I can ask: why do we insist on finding ways to differentiate ourselves when we could use the 99.99% that unites us so much more positively?
5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
Prepare to ask the question nobody else thought was permissible or even made sense to ask. Such as “Is there any such thing as ‘gayness’ outside strict social and linguistic boundaries”?
6. What made you choose Keele University?
The friendly reception when I did my visit from Macclesfield college.
7. How has Keele influenced your life?
Keele allowed me to formalise a lifetime of exploring moral and political philosophy as an ignorant (unknowing) amateur bar room philosopher and to use it to influence and help others to change their lives as I had mine.
8. What is your favourite memory of Keele?
Watching my fellow PPE students Warren (Wodge) and Dave collect their First class degree certificates.
9. And your worst?
I only retain good ones. I had very few bad times and any of those are long forgotten.
10. Anything else you would like to add?
Just to say to all my fellow alumni and current students: what ever you do, do it. What ever it is, do it. Don’t put anything off – the end is closer than you think. Jump and the net will open.