Graham Hill

Graham Hill

Graham came down to Cambridge from the North of England and was the first in his family to attend university, studying Chemical Engineering from 1972. 

I was the first in my family tree to go to any university, let alone Cambridge. My family was relatively poor, and it was hard to find the funds to support my attendance at a University outside my home town. At school I was a "top dog", Rugby 1st XV, Deputy Head Boy, House Captain, and one of only three boys to go to Oxbridge in my year.

At Fitzwilliam I was suddenly "ordinary", "middle of the pack". That was hard. I spoke with a thick northern accent (at that time) and, at the Freshers' Sherry Party, when asked about my course of choice, the tutor (well respected and should have known better) said, "oh no, not another dull, northern, natural scientist"! I was so taken aback, I didn't know what to say. Such prejudice was alive and well at the time, but society has moved on.

Fitzwilliam gave me opportunity and I worked through my course and my sporting options to forge a career in chemical engineering. I found a great job after graduation, at a British engineering and construction company (sadly now purchased and no longer intact).

With that company I worked all over the world, before accepting a role in Melbourne, Australia, in early 1990. I fell in love with Australia and that part of the world, and we decided to stay! I look back on my time at Fitz and am so thankful for the culture of the College, supporting diversity, ability, sport and academic achievement. I sense that Fitzwilliam was the "making of me". As a chemical engineer throughout my career, I went on to head Strategy and Global Business Development for one of the world's most respected engineering and construction companies, KBR Inc, in Houston, Texas; and was an Officer of the company. We have had four children, all university educated, and now working successfully and contributing to wider society.