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One wedding, two degrees and two Doctorates

28 November 2000 @TeesUniNews


The month of November is proving to be a very special one for John and Rebecca Richardson. Not only were they married at St. Michael’s RC church in Esh village, near Durham on Saturday 18 November, but this week the couple will also be separately awarded Doctorates of Philosophy from the University of Teesside. Rebecca, 27, whose maiden name is Coates, is originally from Consett in Durham, and will receive her Doctorate at Middlesbrough Town Hall today at 1.15pm, while husband John gains his award on Wednesday 22 November at 4pm.

Both John and Rebecca, who now live in Langley Park, Durham, already have first degrees from the University; John clinched a BEng (Hons) degree in Chemical Engineering in 1996 and Rebecca a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree a year earlier. They were first brought together when Rebecca was looking for somewhere to live during her Doctorate. Mark Simpson, a Criminology Lecturer at the University, is a mutual friend of both John and Rebecca. He offered Rebecca a spare room in a rented house he was sharing with John.

Rebecca said: “We fell in love quickly. I was attracted to John’s genuineness and maturity. I also liked his sense of humour, it’s still the same!”

John, 26, who came to Teesside from Doncaster, said: “When I first met Rebecca I thought she was beautiful. We got on straight away. I have never felt as comfortable around anybody in my life.”

During her Psychology-based Doctorate, the development of working memory, Rebecca gave birth to a son, Adam, now three, and she is now a part-time Psychology Lecturer at Teesside. Rebecca added: “I am so pleased for John’s success. Adam will be attending my graduation, but not his father’s as the ceremony’s a bit late in the day.”

John’s Doctorate was jointly funded by the University and ICI and explored aspects of titanium dioxide. He is now working in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, in the research and development department of Filtrona Technology Centre. John’s parents, John and Julia, live in Pennsylvania, USA, and will be flying to attend the wedding and graduation ceremonies, where they will meet Rebecca and their grandson for the first time. John said: “It’s more personal that we’re receiving our Doctorates in the same week. I’m so proud of Rebecca for managing to complete her PhD and raise our son at the same time.”

Rebecca is the daughter of Jean Coates, from Medomsley, Durham and Jack Coates, from Sunderland. John’s grandparents, Ken and Norma Richardson, live in Scawthorpe, Doncaster