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From ‘Student 5061’ to the House of Lords

Top: Lord Maginnis in the College Hall.        Bottom: College Chairman Prof Sir Desmond Rea, Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar, Lord Maginnis, Dr Anne Heaslett and Rev Dr Tom Boyle
Top: Lord Maginnis in the College Hall. Bottom: College Chairman Prof Sir Desmond Rea, Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar, Lord Maginnis, Dr Anne Heaslett and Rev Dr Tom Boyle

Stranmillis University College was delighted to welcome back for a visit one of its distinguished Alumni, Lord Ken Maginnis.

While attending a special alumni event, Lord Maginnis, who entered Stranmillis as student in 1956, visited the College Hall, which was built after the war as a temporary building.  The enthusiastic, young Ken Maginnis, and many thousands of Stranmillis students since then, have sat their exams in that building. As well as being one of the first, Lord Maginnis will be one of the last to sit in its exam seats; the very last students to sit exams in College Hall were nervously waiting in the foyer as he left. After 70 years of use, the ‘temporary’ College Hall has finally closed its doors, awaiting demolition.

As he sat in his exam seat then, it would never have crossed the mind of student 5061 that some 60 years after he entered the gates of Stranmillis he would come back to the College bearing the distinguished title of Major Kenneth Wiggins Maginnis, Baron Maginnis of Drumglass.

After graduating, Lord Maginnis went on to teach for 24 years - as a teacher at Cookstown Secondary School, Drumglass Primary School, and as principal of Pomeroy Primary School from 1966 to 1982 – before swapping the school bench for the benches of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. As Principal of Stranmillis University College, Dr Anne Heaslett, pointed out, “Lord Maginnis is a great example of how four years at Stranmillis and a career in the classroom prepares you for anything!”

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