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Norwegian trio make return to Sunderland after nearly half a century away

Norwegian visit

Even after 47 years away, the memories of Sunderland still shine bright for a group of Norwegian Alumni. 

Hallvard Tunheim, Per Christian Andersen and Hans Seland returned to the University they left in 1969 as part of a week-long trek across the North East. 

Not only did their time here set the trio on the path to long and successful careers, it was also the beginning of their lifelong friendship. 

After leaving Sunderland, Engineering graduate Hans went on to work on the Norwegian Public Roads system, while Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduates Per Christian and Hallvard worked for a variety of companies including Siemens, Alcatel and Elf Petroleum. Now retired, they took the opportunity to return together to the University. 

For Per Cristian, the trip was hugely positive. He said: “The facilities are excellent, the dwellings looked very good, and the people of Sunderland and the North East are about the friendliest I know, which gives a good setting for studying.” 

During their day at the University, the three got the chance to see how the University progressed through a tour of their old campus, and marvelled at the facilities now on offer to students. Perhaps most impressive to them was the high quality level of teaching on show throughout the University and the switch towards more hands-on, practical ways of learning. 

Hallvard said that the current day University had a made huge impression on him. He added: “It was impressive to see how studies had been adapted to the future work situations. The Media department and law faculty were good examples of this.” 

Whilst students they lived in Wearmouth Hall, which is the now the CitySpace hub that sits at the heart of our City Campus. Unlike many students at the time, the three had a car, which gave them the chance to explore of the North East’s top beauty spots, including Holy Island and Bamburgh. 

They still remember their time at Sunderland with great fondness and were delighted to see how the University has progressed into a modern and lively institution. 

Hans remembers a very different city and University to the one he saw on his visit. He said: “Sunderland when I studied here still wore wartime scars and the smell and sight of industrial and domestic coal fires were very distinct. 

“I think of the University as a dynamic and hardworking institution that tries to learn and grow with its surrounding society. I was impressed by the relevance, time and effort that the University hosts were able to add to our excursion and I recommend a visit to fellow former students.”

Article written by Matthew Shevlin, University of Sunderland Journalism graduate. 

RAG week

RAG week. Photo sent by Hans Seland

Rugby Club 1965 - 1969

Official photo members of the Rugby Club.

Hans Seland first row left.

Geology Excursion Class of Civil Engineering

Geology excursion Class of Civil Engineering.

Photo sent by Hans Seland.

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