A first impression that sparked a life-long friendship

MemoriesOctWe are all taught not to judge a book by its cover and luckily for two Birmingham graduates, their rather unusual meeting didn’t affect their life-long friendship.

Ian Kenwright (BEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 1987) met Stephen McCann (BEng Electronic and Communication Engineering, 1987) on his first day of university as they both moved into Mason Hall. Rather than bonding over a nice cup of tea in the common room, Stephen found Ian wedged in a large shipping box blocking the flat door.

Stephen remembers the incident fondly, ‘In all of his efforts to shuffle himself around so he could stand up against a wall, Ian had wedged himself up to the glass fire door, meaning I could not open it from the other side! When I finally managed to open the door, I helped Ian out of the box and that was the start of our great friendship.’

The pair spent much of their university life together, helping each other through their Electrical Engineering degrees and celebrated their success backpacking through Denmark, Norway and Sweden together after graduation.

Since leaving Birmingham, Ian and Stephen have stayed in touch and a life-long friendship has developed between their two families as they regularly reminisce over their university days. Ian explains, ‘Our families love to spend time together and we are godparents to each other’s children.’

But despite their years of friendship, Ian has erased the memory of their embarrassing first meeting, ‘I can’t properly remember the initial event with the box. I think it was to do with moving in and perhaps the excitement of Freshers that I either fell in the box or got in for fun!’ Luckily for Ian, first impressions don’t count for everything after all. 

If this story has inspired you to reminisce about your time at university, watch the following Discover video for a journey around campus. You can also send your memories to alumnicommunications@contacts.bham.ac.uk or submit them via our social media channels.