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Pearl Platt started at Coleraine on 18 September 1978 when the University was called ‘New University of Ulster’. She started off as secretary to the Home School Links Project and the Education Centre. Once the project ended, Pearl moved to a full-time role in the Education Centre as secretary to Professor David Jenkins, who taught an MA in Education. Throughout Pearl’s working life she became secretary to many Deans in various faculties, finally finishing up in 2018 in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
What is your most enduring/standout memory of life at the Coleraine campus?
"I was given the opportunity to send the first electronic message".
When Pearl started work they worked on typewriters, then years later this progressed to computers. She was then trained in the Microelectronics Information Department in the Education Centre where she learned to use the first word-processor.
The most standout memory for Pearl was sending the first electronic message to the National MEP Directorate Communications Network Headquarters at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the presence of the Education Minister, Nicholas Scott, who officially opened the Microelectronics Information Centre in 1981.
Around 1985/86 computers were introduced and a lot of changes came along with this. Pearl said:
"Life became more hectic when emails were introduced, as things moved at a faster pace."
Pearl also spoke about Coleraine as a whole, being a wonderful experience, she said:
"It was a lovely place to work, many friendships were made over the years."
What was the best thing about working at the campus?
"In my time at school, training in secretarial work, the University was always seen as the place to work. I loved my work and I loved the variation of my work and the challenges that it brought, no two days were the same."
Like many others, Pearl spoke of the campus itself, as a great work environment. She said:
"It was a lovely campus to work on, especially now with the new buildings and of course the grounds were well looked after, it was a lovely place to work.
At the end of it all, it came down to the people. Everyone was so friendly, it was a joy to work there and I have made many friends."
What are your hopes for the campus as we look to the future?
"I hope that Coleraine continues to grow and that there will be always be job opportunities on the campus. It's sad to see the old South Building being demolished, as this where I first started work in the New University of Ulster. As the ground is there, maybe another building could be built there to expand the campus!"
Interview by Coleraine@50 student ambassador, Lauren Wilson.