13 July 2021

William recovers from serious illness to earn law degree at Abertay

William recovers from serious illness to earn law degree at Abertay

The image shows gradate William Murphy in black robes standing in front of a blue background.

A student who turned his life around at Abertay after recovering from necrotizing fasciitis and overcoming alcohol issues is to graduate from Abertay University with a Law LLB Degree.

52-year-old William Murphy, from Cowdenbeath, left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications but always felt he was able to achieve more.

Following school, he began a 25-year career in sales and started a family.

However, in 2012 William was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and his world changed forever.

William said: “It all happened in the space of one weekend. I went from a happy, healthy person, to my family being called to the hospital and a priest reading me my last rights.”

After his initial operation to save his life, William faced nine further procedures to improve his quality of life.

The trauma from this process severely impacted William’s mental health, and he turned to alcohol to cope.

He said: “After going through so much my drinking became problem drinking and I knew I had to give it up.

“I needed to make a positive change and pursue what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Whilst in recovery he decided to enrol in an access to law course at college, which helped him gain a place to study Law at Abertay.

He was awarded a Lothian Family Scholarship, which awards two undergraduate students £5,000 over the course of their studies to help grow talent in the law profession.

However, the challenges William faced in life continued when, on his second day of university, his father unexpectedly passed away, and his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer a year into his course.

He decided to reach out to staff to see how they could help him.

William said: “My lecturers and support staff at university were fantastic during this difficult time.

"They really encouraged me to keep going with my course whilst helping me catch up with work when grieving and caring for my mum.”

He managed to get back on track but began to struggle like so many did with their mental health when the pandemic hit.

He added: “I felt like giving up.  I felt so isolated during the pandemic. However, my lecturers and tutors kept in regular contact and refused to let me give up on myself.

“I am so grateful to them because I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my dream of obtaining a law degree without their help.”

Liam will join hundreds of fourth year students from Abertay in a virtual graduation ceremony on the 15th of July.

William added he couldn’t recommend the university enough to prospective students: “Abertay University took a chance on me and helped me fulfil a lifelong wish.

“If you’re thinking about attending university, just go for it, who knows what you can achieve?

“I’m now so excited for what comes next.”

Professor Annelize McKay, Head of the Division of Law at Abertay said: “I am absolutely thrilled with what William has achieved here during his time at Abertay.

“He has faced more challenges than most will in their life and has gone on to flourish and reach his goals.

“I would like to wish William and all of our graduates the very best for the future and I can’t wait to see what they will go on to achieve.”

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