Loughborough Alumni


The Phillipson Family

Mother Julie and daughter Sophie studied at Loughborough over thirty years apart.

Two generations of the Phillipson family have graduated from Loughborough University. Now mother, Julie and daughter, Sophie, have recently launched a business together called HelloGrads, which prepares students for life after university.

Sophie graduated from Loughborough in 2013 with a degree in Design and Graphic Communications, over 30 years after her mother graduated from Loughborough. Julie studied Business Administration with French between 1975 and 1979, which included a year in industry working at Boots HQ.

Memories of Loughborough

Julie fell in love with Loughborough from the minute she first visited in the 1970s. She can still remember arriving on a Wednesday afternoon, when the campus was buzzing with people going to play or watch sport. She was sold by the friendly atmosphere, and it immediately became her first choice university.

It was also one of the few universities to offer management courses alongside business-orientated language courses - this was vocational and very forward-thinking at that time.

Julie remembers that many of her peers were on ‘sandwich’ courses with year-long placements, so people were always leaving or returning to live on campus. However, that didn’t stop her from making lifelong friends and happy memories of living at Rutherford Hall and eating burgers and chips at the then-less-health-conscious Purple Onion.

Years later, when Sophie was applying to universities, Julie was careful not to influence her decision, but her initial experience was very much the same - that it was a positive, happy place. However, her experiences of the University were clearly intriguing to Sophie, who decided that she would in fact follow in the footsteps of her mother.


The mother and daughter duo set up HelloGrads after they realised there was no central, unbiased resource dedicated to helping students and graduates negotiate the ‘real’ world. It hosts a wealth of information spanning careers, finance, mental health and property, with information and interviews with experts.

In the business, Julie brings life skills, the experience of putting three children through university, and a traditional marketing and business background. Sophie brings her digital and user-experience skills and the perspective of a recent graduate.

The project has involved other Loughborough alumni including 2013 Illustration alumnus, Chris Gilleard who has created the graphics, and Tamsin Gordon, who graduated with a degree in Graphic Communications from Loughborough in 2014. Tamsin also has her own innovative jewellery renting business, Glitzbox.

Do you have a strong family affinity to Loughborough University? Contact us and share your story.

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