Lancaster University

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Students' Union Presidents Reunited

12/30/2007 12:52:50

Past LUSU Presidents Sooz Palmer and Dwayne Branch with the current President Tim Roca
Past LUSU Presidents Sooz Palmer and Dwayne Branch with the current President Tim Roca

Two Dwayne Branches were on campus when the former Students’ Union President posed with his successors in front of his own portrait.

Dwayne, who was LUSU President in 2005/6, laughed and joked with his successors in the sabbatical post - Sooz Palmer, who was President in 2006/07, and the current President Tim Roca.

Dwayne was on a flying visit from Barbados, where he now works as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers after completing a degree in Economics and International Relations.

He said: “It’s really surreal standing next to this painting – he’s a lot bigger than me even if we’re wearing the same clothes.”

Sooz Palmer, who was LUSU President 2006/07 and Cartmel JCR President 2005, graduated with a degree in Educational Research and now works in Estates at the University.

She said: “It’s like Dwayne has never been away – we’re still very much in touch and it’s great to see him again.”

The current President Tim Roca, who is a history and politics graduate, said: “Dwayne’s advice was to have a thick skin as President and that’s certainly helped.”

Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Mandy Chetwynd has worked with all three Presidents.

“They’ve all been brilliant, very different personalities but they’ve challenged me in a good way. They’re the link between me and the students so it’s great to have a strong relationship together.”

The oil painting of Dwayne is the work of Shelley Hughes, who completed an MA in Fine Art in 2006 at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA).

It now hangs on a wall in Bowland North after being jointly purchased by Prof Tony Gatrell, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), and the Director of Estates Mark Swindlehurst.

Prof Gatrell said: “I was hugely impressed when I saw it and I think it looks sensational against the white wall. It’s an appropriate painting to have here in this teaching space where students will see it and perhaps aspire to be like Dwayne.”

The artist Shelley Hughes said she was pleased that there is a permanent reminder of her time at Lancaster on campus.

"Dwayne was an obvious choice as a sitter. His strength of character made him a perfect visual subject for me.”