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From freshers to famous: Alumni you didn’t know attended unis in Cardiff

Take a look at all the former presidents, Hollywood actors, and broadcasting legends that walked before you

Universities in Cardiff have been the breeding grounds for some seriously impressive talent. While you were busy perfecting your instant noodles recipe and how to down countless VKs, some famous faces were right there with you.

Ever wondered who else sat in your lecture halls? Who else walked the same campus paths you did? Who else studied the same course you did? Who else stood in the queue for YOLO?

Anthony Hopkins – Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

You know him as the iconic Hannibal Lecter and the brilliant mind behind countless memorable performances. But before he was an Oscar-winning legend, Anthony Hopkins started his Hollywood journey at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

The actor, most renowned for his roles in the Thor series, The Silence of the Lambs, and the Transformers series, graduated in 1957 with a degree in acting.

Even now, in his 80s, Anthony is lighting up the big screen. In fact, he recently bagged yet another Oscar for his role in The Father, proving that talent only gets better with age.

Martin Lewis – Cardiff University

Ever wished for a financial guru to magically appear in your life? Well, Cardiff University has a claim to fame that’s just that.

Martin Lewis, the man behind (the Bible for broke students as well as budget conscious adults) and a TV regular, is a Cardiff University graduate who turned the tables on money matters.

Martin enrolled as a postgrad student in broadcast journalism at Cardiff Uni and years later showed us how to get cash back, avoid rip-off loans, and even claim money we didn’t know was owed to us.

Asif Kapadia – University of South Wales

Yet another person from the Hollywood film industry, Asif Kapadia. He kickstarted his filmmaking path at the University of South Wales, and is known as the man who brought us jaw-dropping documentaries, including Amy and Senna.

Although he started at USW, Asif later switched to the film, video, and photography course at the University of Westminster.

Doug and Dame Mary Perkins – Cardiff University

The dynamic duo behind one of the world’s most prominent eyewear chains, Specsavers, started off at Cardiff University – the same place where you’re slogging through assignments and enjoying those student nights out.

Mary met Doug on her first day studying optometry in the 1960s, and little did they know that their union would one day lead to the creation of Specsavers in 1984. As of 2021, the pair had an estimated combined net worth of over £1.5 billion.

Ahmad Tejan Kabbah – Cardiff Met University

Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the former president of Sierra Leone, pursued his higher education at the Cardiff College of Technology and Commerce (now known as Cardiff Met University), and University College Aberystwyth, with a Bachelor’s degree in economics in 1959.

From the vibrant streets of Cardiff to the bustling political arena in Africa. Ahmad’s experience is a reminder that the road to global leadership might just start with your uni degree.

Susanna Reid – Cardiff University

The face of Good Morning Britain is an alum of Cardiff University, where she pursued a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism. She has even been back to the University this year to give a talk to postgraduate students at Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture.

Not only is she an excellent TV presenter and journalist, but she is just as just as successful on the dance floor. The star was runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing in the 2013 series. No doubt that her time in the Cardiff SU on a Saturday night prepped her well for this.