Matthew Pendergast

Matthew Pendergast

BSc Health Studies 1997

Students’ Union President 1997/98

Why did the chicken cross the road? To watch Everton Football Club, of course.

Ambitions in the post? To keep my feet on the ground, my head in the clouds, my weight under 15 stone and my grey hairs to a minimum.

What do you enjoy most about being at Sunderland University? That a no good bum like me can become President of the Students’ Union. If I can, anyone can.

These answers were part of Matthew’s profile at the Students’ Union Handbook 1997/98.

Matthew Pendergast, known as Matty, said his year as a President of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union was one of the most rewarding years of his life.

He said: “As a 21-year-old, it was an unbelievable experience to meet with Cabinet Ministers, MPs, and members of the House of Lords. It was also incredible to attend the Board of Governors meetings and speak at the inauguration of the Chancellor.

“I was also very lucky to oversee the securing of the Bonded Warehouse as the Students’ Union new venue.

“I had a brilliant mentor and coach in Joe Williams, the General Manager. Joe received an Honorary Fellowship and a MBE for his work, which sums up how good he was.”

In October 1998 the Students’ Union opened the Bonded Warehouse bar/café- the Union’s venue adjacent to the Halls on Panns Bank and Scotia Quay.

“Personally, my greatest achievement was to see through substantial changes to the Students’ Union constitution,” the 40-year-old said. “This may be a surprise given that we secured new office, bar and shop facilities in my year in office. But steering through all the changes with the Students’ Union membership as well as the Board of Governors, involved calling on all my powers of persuasion and negotiation.”

He added: “Also, nominating Joe Williams for an Honorary Degree and the Board of Governors accepting this was a source of great pride for me.”

For Matty, a typical night out back then would usually involve Wearmouth Bar and then Manor Quay.

“I used to go to Manor Quay about three times a week,” he confessed. “The taxi drivers used to have a call sign which was “Fraggles to Fraggle Rock”, which meant a student pick up at Wearmouth Bar and drop off at Manor Quay. That still makes me laugh.”

Matty, currently based in Lancashire, still recalls his time living in the City as the best four years of his life.

He said: “It was a fun and carefree time. I was very lucky to have a really good group of friends at university. We met up in July last year, and I see Jimmy Kelly (President of the SU 1996/97) all the time.”

The Sunderland graduate is now Director of Identity Consult, a Cost and Project Management consultancy based in Preston. He had previously worked for nine years as Associate Director in Turner & Townsend’s North West Office, where he carried out the role of Education Sector Leader and Operational Management Team Leader.

Click here to view the Students' Union Handbook 97/98

Students Handbook 97 98

Matthew Pendergast quote

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