Niosha Kayhani and his teammates will return to Portsmouth in September to reminisce on their University experience and honour a friend
University will always be one of the greatest times in your life. Not just that, it is the stepping stone to where your career has taken you and the person you’ve become.
It doesn’t matter how long ago you left your student days behind, you’ll be forever purple and the city of Portsmouth will always be part of you.
Alumnus Niosha Kayhani was at the University from 2007–2014 when he studied BEng Mechanical Engineering, with a year in industry. He then completed a work-based degree so he could be in employment whilst achieving his Masters. His journey since has been exciting, with a career that has taken him across the globe.
Niosha’s work life started at SPI Lasers, as an engineer in fibre optic lasers and manufacturing. Before long, he received an offer from Google and moved to Dublin, Ireland, where he worked on digital strategies for small and medium-sized businesses – and briefly on the self-driving car project. From there to San Diego, where he is today - Director of Innovation for Cubic Corporation and University of California San Diego (UCSD) Executive Board member. He is also the International Director for not-for-profit organisation, ITS UK. He and his wife Carrie have just welcomed their first child, son Riley.
During his studies, Niosha was active in uni life, a Student Council representative and elected valedictorian for his Master’s Graduation ceremony. He ran the men’s basketball team where he made friends for life. Last year, the team suffered a sad loss, when their fellow member, David Hyde, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 29. In September, the team will reunite in Portsmouth to honour him.
Niosha shares his story and plans for the upcoming reunion:
I was stuck between choosing Portsmouth and another University. When I visited the city for the first time, it was a summer’s day. It happened to be one of those beautiful, peaceful days around Guildhall with the trees blossoming and the sun shining. The bars and restaurants were occupied by students and locals creating an atmosphere of a city university connected with its people. The decision was easy.
Basketball had a huge impact on my time at Portsmouth; I played both in the local league and was the President of the University team. I had a wonderful experience and I am so grateful to all the players and teammates and friends at the club. The results might not have always gone the way I liked but the fulfilment I got from experiencing the club from different positions was indescribable. It made my experience at UoP memorable. Besides sports, the city of Portsmouth provided me with an opportunity to learn about the history and to live life independently, surrounded by people that I am still good friends with today. For that, I will always be grateful.
Dave, like he did when he was with us, created a feeling of togetherness and, in his passing, gave us that very gift.
I first met Dave (top row, seventh along) when he joined the University, I picked him for the Basketball team I wanted to coach and he quickly emerged as a leader and focal point for the team. The hustle he brought to the game was unmatched and he was so talented. Dave was not a basketball player to start with – he was a rugby player and began adapting his style. At 6ft5, with a big body, his presence was always felt, but it was the commitment and dedication that made him special.
I have never shared this story with anyone at the club, but I would regularly ask Dave to be and set the example for his teammates. Whilst he brought laughter and a smile to the club, he oozed professionalism and dedication when it mattered. I leaned on Dave a lot to rally the team and get results. There was one time, an individual had to run laps for 2 hours because he was absent without an explanation, Dave began running with him and shortly after the whole team joined in. It was inspiring.
When Dave passed, I was informed by one of the players and I quickly dispersed the message to everyone from the club. The heartfelt messages of disbelief poured in. Dave, like he did when he was with us, created a feeling of togetherness and, in his passing, gave us that very gift.
There have been talks of a reunion for a while, but one thing or another always got in the way. Such is the power of losing a loved one that you stop making excuses and get on with it. The fact this is about honouring Dave has provided a focal point and has brought a lot of us together again. I am in touch with several members of the team but there are, of course, many, many more people that made this club great; I truly hope everyone will make it for the reunion and celebrate Dave’s life.
I am most looking forward to returning to Portsmouth and spending time with my teammates and friends. Carrie and Riley will join me and we plan on visiting our extended family. We’ll also take a trip down memory lane and visit my favourite spots in the city.
We are so very saddened by Dave’s passing. He leaves behind a wife and a newborn son and I hope we can play a small part in honouring his life by dedicating this reunion to him and his family.
If you were a member of the team between 2007–2014 and would like to join on Saturday 10 September, please email email@example.com so we can put you in touch with Niosha.