Our 74,000 alumni work in a variety of careers all over the world. These are just a few of the ones who’ve gone on to have a public profile for their work.
Rt. Hon. John Bercow (BA Government, 1985)
John Bercow MP is the current Speaker of the House of Commons and has been Conservative MP for Buckingham since 1997. Before becoming Speaker, he served in the Shadow Cabinet and is a member of the International Development Select Committee.
“The three years that I spent at the University of Essex was hugely stimulating and enjoyable. The Government Department lecturers were an outstanding team and I have very warm memories of learning from and interacting with them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was very active in student politics at the University and I well remember taking part in union debates on countless occasions. I was lucky to have the chance to be at the University and I am pleased that I have periodic contact with Tony King, Ivor Crewe, Dave Sanders and Tony Barker to name but four!”
Blake Harrison (East 15 Acting School, BA Acting)
Blake Harrison is one of the stars of The Inbetweeners Movie, the fastest-grossing live action comedy in UK box office history. He studied BA Acting at East 15, and won his role in the TV series The Inbetweeners just months after graduating in 2007. He says: "I was very happy at East 15. I found it so stimulating working out how to play different characters."
Many East 15 alumni have gone on to have successful careers. Read more.
Daniel Libeskind (MA Art History and Theory, 1972)
Daniel is an internationally renowned architect. His work includes museums, concert halls, convention centres, universities, housing, hotels, shopping centres and residential work. In 2003, he was appointed as master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre site. Daniel was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 1999.
Alison Steadman OBE (East 15 Acting School)
One of the most popular actresses in Britain, Alison is acclaimed for her stage, film and television work. Her screen credits include Abigail's Party, Shirley Pride and Prejudice and Gavin and Stacey. The University gave Alison an honorary degree in 2003 for her contribution to the performing arts.
Lord Triesman (BA Government, 1968 and MA Philosophy, 1969)
David Triesman is Labour's spokesman in the House of Lords on foreign affairs. His previous appointments include General Secretary for the Association of University Teachers, General Secretary of the Labour Party, Minister for the Foreign Office, Minister for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and a government whip. He is also a former Chairman of the Football Association.
David Yates (BA Government, 1987)
David Yates is a BAFTA award winning television and film director. He directed the final four instalments in the Harry Potter film series, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows parts I and II. He has also worked extensively in British television, mainly for the BBC, helming high-profile drama projects such as State of Play, The Way We Live Now and The Girl in the Café. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2012.
Dr Oscar Arias Sanchez (PhD Government, 1975)
Oscar Arias has twice been President of Costa Rica, from 1986 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2010. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end the civil wars of several Central American countries. He is also a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and a trustee of the Economists for Peace and Security. In 2003, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Courts Trust Fund for Victims. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 1988.
Baroness Virginia Bottomley (BA Sociology, 1970)
Baroness Virginia Bottomley was a member of the House of Commons from 1984 to 2005, rising to take two Secretary of State roles in the 1990s: Health and National Heritage (now Culture, Media and Sport). She stepped down from the House of Commons when the 2005 general election was called, and in June that year became a life peer with the title Baroness Bottomley of Nettleston.
Dr Rodolfo Neri Vela (MSc Electronic Systems Engineering, 1976)
Rodolfo became Mexico’s first (and so far only) astronaut in 1985 when he spent seven days in outer space on the space shuttle Atlantis (on NASA/European Space Agency mission STS-61-B). He carried out a number of experiments on human physiology on board and helped to put the Mexican satellite Morelos 2 into orbit. He is the only alumnus (that we know of) who has been to space, and is now a professor for the Telecommunications Department in the Electrical Engineering Division of the Engineering Faculty, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).