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Six celebs that you didn’t know went to Newcastle and Northumbria Uni

Who knows, some day you might be one of them


Have you ever wondered which famous faces studied at the same university as you? Newcastle has attracted many students who have gone on to build prolific careers in journalism, acting, philanthropy, automotive design, sports and politics, among others – but who are these big names? Here’s a list of celebrities who attended Newcastle or Northumbria University before you did:

Kate Adie 

From Northumberland, Kate Adie completed Scandinavian studies at Newcastle University in 1967. She then joined the BBC as a radio assistant before becoming a TV news reporter, reporting on international conflicts and crises. One of her most demanding assignments was to cover the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests at which she was grazed by a bullet. She’s also received two BAFTAs, as well as being awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1993, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2018 for her services to journalism.

Rowan Atkinson

Born in Durham, actor, screenwriter and comedian Rowan Atkinson attended Newcastle University – from which he graduated in 1975 – to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He is now world-renowned, mostly for his performances as Blackadder, Johnny English and for the adventures with his character Mr Bean. In addition to two BAFTAs, he was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to drama and charity.

Princess Eugenie

Yes, Newcastle University has even has ties to the Royal Family. Daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson – Duke and Duchess of York – Princess Eugenie obtained a degree in English Literature and History of Art in 2012, and she went on record to say she’d had a great time in Newcastle. Involved in philanthropy, she has since been supporting charities – such as Teenage Cancer Trust, The Salvation Army and Anti-Slavery International for instance. 

Peter Horbury 

From Northumberland, Peter Horbury attended Northumbria University as a student of Design for Industry. After graduating in 1972, the car designer started his career at Chrysler UK, before working at Volvo. In 2002 he was appointed head of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group design studios – which included Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo – and in 2004, Peter Horbury was promoted to Executive Design Director. 

Victoria Pendleton 

Born in Bedfordshire, Victoria Pendleton studied Sport & Exercise Science at Northumbria University from which she graduated in 2002. As one of Britain’s most successful female cyclists and Olympic gold medallists, she represented Great Britain and England many a time in international competitions. After winning nine world titles, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2013 for her services to cycling.

Dame Vera Baird

Dame Vera Baird, originally from Greater Manchester, completed a law degree at Northumbria University in 1974. From then on she started her career in politics, holding roles as government minister, as well as police and crime commissioner at Northumbria Police. In addition, the politician has written books on rape and women’s experiences in court – later appointing her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to women and equality.