Should've gone to GCU!
July 13, 2017
Specsavers founders Doug and Dame Mary Perkins have received honorary degrees from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).
They were awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science, and joined students as they celebrated their graduation on Wednesday.
Mary said: ‘The University for the Common Good hits home with me. It’s all about helping others to be the best that they can be.’
The couple met while studying optometry at Cardiff University, and on completion of their degrees, they bought the small practice owned by Mary’s father in Bristol. They proceeded to build up a chain of 23 outlets called Bebbington and Perkins and, in 1980, sold it to a company that was bought by Dollond and Aitchison for £2million. They started Specsavers in 1984 after the UK Government deregulated professionals, including opticians, allowing them to advertise their products for the first time.
Mary said: ‘We started our own business straight out of university, as soon as we were registered and we had people working for us – but it was impossible to say then that we could have imagined how far the business would develop.’
Dame Mary revealed companies such as Specsavers need more opticians to cope with demand, explaining: ‘If you’re an optics student, you are walking straight into a really good job. There is a great shortage of optics students. We employ a lot of GCU students and we are always looking for more.’