Famous Northumbria University Alumni

A look at some of the notable public figures who attended Northumbria University at one point or another.

If you are currently or have been university alumni at some point, the following question might have crossed your mind: Which famous people attended the same university as me? For universities in the North East, there have been several famous graduates which have gone on to have illustrious careers.

We already mentioned some of the famous Newcastle University alumni in a previous blog post, so now we will look at famous Northumbria University alumni and what they have become notable for since graduating.

Tunde Baiyewu

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Known for being the vocalist and frontman of the British pop duo Lighthouse Family, Tunde Baiyewu originally formed the band whilst studying at Northumbria University in the early 90s. Baiyewu graduated with a degree in Accountancy in 1994, but by this point, he had already met his fellow bandmate Paul Tucker whilst working at the same bar in Newcastle. 

Steve Cram CBE

Famously known as ‘The Jarrow Arrow’ after his hometown of Jarrow, Steve Cram is a retired track and field athlete who was one of the dominant British mid distance runners in the 80s. Cram won the 1500m event gold medal at the 1983 World Championships, followed by the silver medal in the 1500m event at the 1984 Olympics. Education-wise, Cram studied Sports at Northumbria before he began his journey as a professional athlete. 

Tim Brown

Now a world-famous industrial designer and chair of IDEO, Tim Brown started his design journey at Northumbria University. Over his illustrious career, Brown has exhibited work at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Design Museum in London. However, before he broke in to the industry, Brown graduated from Northumbria in 1985 with a Bachelor’s degree in Design for Industry.

Sir Jonathan Ive KBE

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Sir Jonathon Ive has enjoyed a high-profile career in industrial, product and architectural design since graduating from Northumbria University with a degree in Industrial Design in 1989. Ive has since gone on to become the chief design officer of Apple, after spending many years designing the interface of apple software. After leaving Apple in 2019, Ive is now the chancellor for the Royal College of Art.  In 2012, Ive received the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his services in design and enterprise. 

Stephen Miller MBE

Stephen Miller is known for being a British Paralympic champion in the field event of club throwing. During his Paralympic career, Miller has won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Altogether, Miller holds 26 international medals and hold a World Record in the Club Throw. Before entering his professional athletic career, Miller graduated from Northumbria with a degree in Business Information Systems in 2002.

Gordon Sumner CBE (Sting)

Recognised around the world for being a famous individual musician and being the lead singer of The Police, Gordon Summer, more commonly known as Sting, was born in Wallsend, Newcastle, and would later attend Northumbria University. Surprisingly, Sting left Northumbria University as a qualified teacher and played jazz on the side as he taught at a school in Cramlington for two years. Of course, this would end up as much more than a side hobby for Sting, who has since gone on to become one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time. He has since been made a CBE and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Northumbria University. 

Victoria Pendleton CBE

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Victoria Pendleton is one of Britain’s most successful female track cyclists and Olympic gold medallists, winning nine world titles between 2005 and 2012. She was awarded the title of CBE in 2013 for her services to cycling and is also a member of the European Cycling Union Hall of Fame. Before becoming an Olympic champion, Pendleton graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Sport & Exercise Science back in 2002.

Dame Vera Baird DBE QC

Highly recognised within the political and legal circles in the UK, Dame Vera Baird is currently the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales. She has previously served as a Labour Party MP for Redcar between 2001 and 2010, whilst also being a government minister and the Solicitor General for England and Wales. Baird then served as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police before taking on her current role. Baird is an author of multiple books regarding violent crime and received the title of Dame Commander (DBE) in 2017 for services to women and equality. Before embarking on her career, Baird graduated with a degree in Law at Northumbria in 1974. 

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