Hi everyone! Sorry for the bad summary, but this is basically a modern retelling of Downton Abbey with my own twists, set on a college campus. Just call me the female, American, young Julian Fellowes (who will never kill off Sybil or Matthew). I mainly focus on Sybil/Tom and Matthew/Mary, but all pairings and characters will be represented (usually chronologically according to the series). I hope you enjoy this fic - bear with me, please. This is a long chapter!
Disclaimer: I don't own this!
Downton University, Yorkshire, UK — September 11, 2001 (2:00 pm)
It's funny what specific details the human mind chooses to remember.
What Mary Crawley always remembered about the day that everything changed for good was that she was supposed to take an exam on cash flow and that she ate a sausage Egg McMuffin at Downton University's McDonald's. Mary never ate fast food — it was too greasy and common for her. But she had been out late at a party the night before with her best friend Anna, a choice she instantly regretted. Now her head was throbbing from the combination of the alcohol and the dancing and she still had to take her accounting exam.
If her father ever heard about last night, Mary would be given the cold shoulder of shame for weeks. Sometimes it was so damn infuriating to have your own father as the university's president. All of the teachers told her father everything about her — it was like she could never get away with anything. He knew about her bad grades before she even knew herself.
Mary had to be a nearly flawless student. Mary had to hang out with the right crowd of friends. Mary couldn't go to parties. Mary even had to date the right person to uphold the Crawley family reputation of excellence. She was currently dating Patrick Crawley, the wealthy top student at Downton (and her distant cousin, a fact that no one dared to mention). It was all so exhausting — Mary was sure her younger sisters didn't have nearly this much pressure put upon them. Besides, what other college girl ate dinner with her parents every other evening?
And then there was Patrick. He was every girl's dream boyfriend — handsome, smart, kind, charming. Mary had every reason to like him, to fall in love with him even. But her heart just wasn't in it. Right now, he was away on some internship for a foreign relations job in New York. The time apart from Patrick was giving Mary time to think. She felt so free without him — she didn't feel like she constantly had to put on a face of perfection the way she did around him and her father.
Which was why she had gone out and gotten absolutely plastered last night, to remind herself of what being herself actually felt like.
As Mary glanced over her notecards, somebody bumped into her, knocking both herself and her breakfast to the ground. Her notecards scattered everywhere as the wind blew them away. Livid, Mary turned to face the imbecile that had knocked into her. "How dare you!" she snapped. And she looked up into Matthew Crawley's bright sky-blue eyes.
Matthew was a law school student who was a very distant cousin of the Crawleys - so distant that he was from a regular middle-class family. He had never really been accepted into the family and Mary was positive he loathed her (she'd heard him telling his friends that she was a stuck-up bitch on at least two occasions). Besides that, the only things that she knew about him were that he never broke the rules and that he was infuriatingly handsome.
"Sorry, Cousin Mary," Matthew said with a twinge of sarcasm. Mary rolled her eyes. "For the last time, Matthew, we're not cousins. We're fourth cousins once removed."
"That still makes us cousins, last I checked," Matthew claimed, laughter creeping into his eyes.
He always had to make his point, ever the future lawyer that he was. "Never mind that now. I have an exam and I'm going to be late. Would you please be a gentleman for one minute and help me gather my notecards?" Mary asked.
Matthew bent down to help her. "Milady," he mocked, handing her the cards. "Thanks for being of service, peasant," Mary joked back. Matthew pantomimed tipping his baseball cap in mock salute to her and walked away.
Mary reviewed the basic principles of cash flow in her head. She could already tell she was going to flunk the exam. But was it really necessary to memorize the difference between investing activities and operating activities anyway? Then out of the corner of her eye, she saw throngs of panicked students rushing toward the classrooms, shouting "Attack!" Mary jolted, alarmed, and began following the mass of students toward the nearest building for safety.
Robert Crawley, the president of Downton University, sat down with his tea and toast to watch the news with his American wife, Cora, over breakfast. It was his favorite part of the day, the only moment of peace in a day full of long hours managing Downton.
And then suddenly, the image of a plane smashing nose-first into a tall building filled the television screen. "What in God's name?" Robert hollered, shocked. Cora looked up from her magazine. "My goodness," she exclaimed. "That's the Twin Towers, Robert!"
The Twin Towers…somehow Robert knew that he had a connection to them. "Cora, does anyone in your family work there?"
"No, thank heaven!" Cora responded. "I wonder what this is…maybe a new pilot accidentally flew the plane into the building?"
"That would be a rather big target to run into, Cora," Robert mused. And then, as if to answer their questions, a second plane plowed into the other tower just a few moments later.
And then everyone knew the collision was not just a mistake. It was entirely purposeful.
"Attention all students and faculty members: class is canceled for the rest of the day due to some unfortunate events in America. Please report back to your dorms or offices at once."
The intercom crackled off. "What a way to start my first day on the job, an attack on the most powerful country in the world,"John Bates muttered under his breath. If America wasn't safe, then no one was safe. Besides this, he'd already almost tripped a dozen times while helping President Crawley. He could feel the judging eyes of Sarah O'Brien, Mrs. Crawley's personal assistant, on him several times throughout the day. She'd snickered when he'd spilled President Crawley's tea all over his lap. For whatever reason, she already wanted him gone.
John suspected that he would've been fired already if he wasn't President Crawley's old friend from the Gulf War ten years before.
"It'll get better," a perky feminine voice said. "Excuse me?" John whipped around, startled. "Oh, I'm sorry if I startled you," the young woman apologized sheepishly. "I just wanted to tell you that things get better here at Downton. I hated it when I first started here, but I'll be sad when I leave here at the end of the year."
"You work here too?" John asked, surprised. The woman was a pretty and perky blonde who seemed a bit young to already be working. She laughed. "Of course not, silly. Do I really look old? I'm a fourth-year here. I'm studying to be a social worker."
John blushed at his mistake. "Of course you don't look old. You look really young…in a good way," he finished awkwardly.
Sarah O'Brien walked in just then. John swore that woman had the worst timing in the world. "My, my. Already slacking, Mr. Bates?" the other personal assistant smirked. "Of course not. I was just going to deliver this email to President Crawley," John retorted.
"If by 'going to deliver this email to President Crawley' you mean shamelessly flirting with Miss Mary's much younger best friend, then yes," O'Brien scoffed, giving John a look of contempt. "And Anna, you're supposed to be in the dorms right now for safety reasons, not talking to a cripple."
Anna glared at O'Brien. "How about you mind your own business instead of poking your nose in other people's?" she snapped defensively. "And I think it's awfully brave of Mr. Bates to be working here as a cripple. It can't be easy."
Anna shot one more look of contempt at O'Brien and scurried away. John stared longingly after her. She had been the only person all day to treat him with kindness, and he wished he could have gotten to know her better. But he realized he didn't even know her last name.
"What do you make of the new personal assistant to the president?" Thomas Barrow, a cocky dark-haired waiter, asked Sarah O'Brien.
"He's a bumbling war veteran who has a limp," O'Brien responded dismissively. She lit a cigarette and passed the packet to Thomas.
"How wonderful," Thomas said sarcastically. "I've been passed over for Long John Silver."
"I know, especially after all of that work that I did talking you up to Mrs. Crawley," O'Brien sighed. "I really thought you were going to get the promotion. But I guess you can never count on rich people to do you favors."
"Me too," Thomas admitted. "We worked together just fine, Mr. Crawley and me. Until Long John Silver had to go mess everything up."
"Don't you worry, he won't last long." O'Brien took a long drag of her cigarette. "He was spilling Mr. Crawley's Earl Grey on his lap. I can't imagine the president liked that too much. And he was flirting with that irritating Anna Smith."
"A match made in hell." Thomas made a face at the idea of the couple and O'Brien snickered. "Maybe we can use that to our advantage. I doubt Miss Mary would like it if she knew an old cripple was preying on her best buddy."
"And then we can covertly run the university together," O'Brien closed her eyes at the wonderful dream. "Yeah, those poshes will only think they're running it but in reality we will be running it," Thomas said wistfully. The two plotters raised their cigarettes in anticipation.
"An email just came in for you, sir," Bates, Robert's new assistant, handed the university president a print-out of the email. Robert was suspicious of the Internet and only read his emails on paper. He had never adapted to change very easily.
"Thank you, Bates," Robert responded and began to scan the email. "Oh my god," he cried out, horrified at the email's contents.
Cora came running in to the office at his cry. "What is it, darling?" she asked, alarmed.
"Apparently James and Patrick were in the Twin Towers visiting a foreign trade company when the planes crashed. And some of the other workers there found James's body and Patrick is presumed to be dead," Robert spat out in disbelief.
Cora felt dizzy at the news. She gripped the back of an armchair to steady herself. "Are they quite sure — both of the inheritors to the university, dead?"
"Nothing is for certain in the chaos of New York now," Robert replied solemnly. "But I don't think there is anything more final than a dead body."
"Do I have to wear black now?" Mary wondered. "Because I look horribly pale in black."
"Mary Josephine Crawley," Robert admonished. "That's what you think about upon hearing the news of your boyfriend's death?"
He had just broken the news to his oldest daughter and was completely surprised at her reaction. She was acting as if Patrick's untimely death was an inconvenience to her rather than a tragedy.
"I'm sorry, Papa," Mary replied sheepishly, looking down at the pebbled path. "I was just thinking of the funeral, that's all."
"Mary, that's not all I came here to tell you." "More bad news? If it is, I don't want to hear it." Mary sighed.
"Well, you'll have to hear it now or later, so I'll just tell you now to get it out of the way." Mary anxiously braced herself. "What is it, Papa?"
"You still won't inherit Downton University, my dear daughter. It's not my decision — it was in my father's will that only men would run Downton for the next hundred years," Robert informed his daughter sadly. "That includes your mother's oil money too - you aren't the only one distressed by this."
Mary's face fell. Running Downton had always been her dream job, the reason that she studied accounting and business and tried so hard to be perfect. And now it was all for nothing - thanks to her dead, old-fashioned grandfather's will. "Even though Cousin James and Patrick are dead?" she clarified.
"Even though Cousin James and Patrick are dead," Robert echoed.
One Week Later
"It seems odd to have a funeral when we only have one of the bodies," George Murray, Robert's lawyer, observed as he and Robert exited the small university chapel.
"I know," Robert admitted. "But look at the memorial banners the students made. Look at how packed the church was. They loved Patrick, and this is the least we can do for him. And for them."
"I looked at your father's will," Murray said. "And?" Robert prompted.
"There's no possible way for any of your daughters to inherit the university. Your late father assumed you would have a son and was quite clear on that matter," Murray stated matter-of-factly.
Robert slumped down. "Mary will be crushed. And so will my wife and my mother - they've been plotting to have her inherit Cora's fortune in addition to the university. So the new heir is certainly some distant relation then?"
"As a matter of fact, he goes to Downton for law school, actually. His mother is a nursing professor here and his father is a middle-class doctor who died several years ago."
"Oh, really? I never thought I would have a lawyer in this family," Robert joked in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Murray laughed awkwardly — after all, he was a lawyer. "There are worse professions out there to be sure," he retorted.
The three mismatched Crawley sisters walked a few paces behind their father. The middle daughter, Edith, was sobbing uncontrollably and drew the glances of several passers-by.
Mary rolled her eyes at her younger sister. "Really, Edith - do you have to put on such a show?" she snapped coldly. "People are starting to stare at you like you're a lunatic." Mary and Edith were like night and day. Mary was a dark beauty with the face of a porcelain doll where Edith had strawberry blonde locks and a crooked nose. Mary was cold but lively where Edith was gentler but pessimistic and a bit of a downer. Mary was popular with both boys and girls where Edith was a loner. Mary was practical and studied business and Edith studied the more frivolous English. They had never gotten along and never intended to.
Sybil, the youngest Crawley daughter, glared back at her oldest sister. "She's not, Mary. Please, can you two get along for one day to honor Patrick?" Sybil was an even balance of the best traits of her two warring sisters and was the ever-constant peacemaker between the two. She had Mary's beautiful, thick dark hair but it was wavy like Edith's. Sybil was fun-loving like Mary but softer like Edith was. She had grey-blue eyes and a caring disposition like Cora but was more spirited than anyone else in the family. Sybil was unsure whether to study political science or nursing (both majors that her father hated) but she was only a first-year. She had time to figure her life out.
"But I was Patrick's girlfriend and I can control myself," Mary countered, unwilling to let it go. "Then you should be ashamed," Edith mumbled through her tears. Sybil handed Edith a tissue and placed a gentle arm around her sister. Stunned, Mary withdrew from her sisters and thought about Edith's barbed words.
Two Weeks Later
Mary looked up from her reading at Philip Crowborough's voice. "Philip! What a pleasant surprise!" she exclaimed at the sight of her handsome fellow business student, the son of a banking CEO. "I hope so," Philip joked, running a hand through his thick hair. "I'm so sorry about Patrick," he said, his voice taking on a much more serious tone. "I didn't know him that well - I only saw him at the odd dance or two - but he was always kind." "Thank you," Mary said, the words sounding empty. Ever since the attack that's all she'd heard - pity, pity, pity.
Philip must have noticed her monotone because he deftly changed the subject. "Have you studied for Professor Bartlett's quiz yet?"
"That's what I'm doing now," Mary replied. "Although I have dinner with my parents tonight, so I'm not sure how prepared I'll actually be."
"Oh," Philip said, sounding sad. "I was hoping you'd go to dinner at the campus café tonight with me. But I guess it can wait if a woman as beautiful as yourself is busy."
Mary blushed at the compliment and the invitation. "Don't be silly. You can come with me to dinner with my parents tonight!"
"With the president of Downton?" Philip sounded intimidated. Mary laughed. "Really, my father is a softie at heart. It's my granny you should be worried about."
Philip chuckled nervously at her joke. "All right, then. I'll meet you at 7?"
"For the last time, James, you can't run across the campus naked," Charles Carson, the dean of discipline at Downton, lectured a mischievous student. "Yes, Dean Carson," Jimmy Kent replied, hanging his head in mock guilt.
Carson grunted, only semi-satisfied with the troublemaker's response. "If this happens again, you will be suspended. For now, you will have to assist Professor Crawley and Dr. Clarkson with emptying the bedpans of the sick students."
Jimmy groaned. "But that's not -" he trailed off, noticing Carson's thick raised eyebrows. "Yessir."
"Good," Carson replied. Jimmy left and Carson sighed in relief. The long day of dealing with the likes of Jimmy was finally done and he could unwind in his favorite way - drinking a glass of sherry with his associate, Elsie Hughes.
Mrs. Hughes was the dean of admissions to the university, a tough but kind Scotswoman. She had worked with Mr. Carson for years and the two were so close that their co-workers dubbed them "The Married Couple". Neither of them had ever actually married (Mrs. Hughes' title was one of courtesy). This type of job didn't allow time for relationships.
The two deans discussed their day, eventually turning to the topic of who would inherit Downton after the current president died. "Whoever it is, I hope that they're kind," Mrs. Hughes wished out loud. "I just wish it was Miss Mary," Carson countered. "No one knows or cares about Downton more than her. It's unfair that she won't get Downton just because she was born a girl."
"Look at you, you're less of a traditionalist than I thought!" Mrs. Hughes exclaimed teasingly. "I am certainly not!" Carson returned in mock indignance. "But I still don't understand why you like Miss Mary so much. I've always thought she was a cold, spoiled ice princess. Miss Sybil has always been my favorite," Mrs. Hughes declared.
"All the same, I feel sorry for our family," Carson remarked. "I wish they didn't have to experience this tragedy about Mr. James and Mr. Patrick."
"Mr. Carson," Mrs. Hughes laughed. "They're not our family." "Well, they're the closest thing I've ever had to a family," Carson replied gravely. It was true - he'd been an orphan passed along to different foster families who were only in it for the money.
Mrs. Hughes fell silent, considering. "Do you wonder what might have happened if the both of us had gone the other way — had a spouse, had kids?"
"Every day," Carson answered wistfully. That would've been a very different life, indeed.
"That's so exciting that you have a date, Mary! Lucky you, you get all the handsome men!" Anna joked. She was curling Mary's dark brown hair in their dorm room to help her friend get ready.
"Well, I for one can't believe you're already going on a date so soon after Patrick's death!" Edith yelled at Mary. "Have you no sensitivity at all?"
Mary rolled her eyes. "Good thing I didn't ask for your opinion." Sybil stood up, ready to break up yet another argument between her two older sisters. "Cool it, ladies!" she exclaimed. "We have to leave for the café in ten minutes!"
Mary continued arguing anyway, ignoring Sybil. "Life moves on, Edith. Grow up — I only would've actually married Patrick if no one else came along. We were too wrong for each other." "Well, I would've married him if you'd just been an adult and broken up with him!" Edith flung back angrily.
Mary stood up abruptly and the curling iron clattered to the floor. "I'm more of an adult than you, you bitc-" Her insult trailed off when she noticed the murderous look on the redhead's face. "Go on! Say what you were going to say!" Edith challenged.
Sybil sighed, exasperated at the childish argument taking place before her. "Edith, Mama was asking you to go help her get ready," she lied. Sybil normally hated lying, but she figured it was all right since she was trying to stop a virtual murder. "But I thought she has O'Brien?" Edith questioned suspiciously. "O'Brien has a break tonight," Sybil lied again. "And Mama wants you to style her hair since you're so good at it."
The flattery seemed to work on Edith and she left, throwing another glare at Mary as she left.
"O'Brien has a break? Really?" Anna asked. "No, I just said that to get Edith to leave," Sybil admitted sheepishly, and Anna and Mary giggled. "Thanks, Anna, that looks perfect," Mary said, fixing a stray hair. Anna grasped her roommate's hand excitedly. "Just be yourself, he'll love you!" she advised, and left to start on her homework.
Mary glanced at her reflection in the mirror, straightening her strapless navy dress. "You look beautiful," Sybil complimented, fixing her own lavender-colored cardigan and light grey skirt. "Thanks, baby sister," Mary said lightly.
"Listen, Mary, I know you're sad about Patrick's death. You don't have to always keep your guard up. I'm always here for you if you ever need a good cry or want to get ice cream," Sybil told Mary.
"You're a darling," Mary said, grateful for her sweet younger sister. "But I'm not as sad as I should be - and that's what makes me sad."
The Crawley clan and Philip met in front of the Upstairs Café, an upscale French restaurant on the grounds of the campus that was the family's usual meeting spot for their bi-nightly dinners. It was run by Beryl Patmore, one of the best chefs in Yorkshire, and her young sous-chef, Daisy Robinson.
Mary had a little bit of butterflies in her stomach, nervous about how the dinner would go. She clutched Philip's hand and introduced him to each member of her family. Her father didn't seem to approve of her moving on from Patrick so soon but Cora was polite and kind. Edith scowled in anger about her argument with Mary from earlier (and from jealousy that Mary had yet another date but no man had ever given her a second look) but Sybil was as sweet and bubbly as ever. And Granny Violet? She looked like she wished that she was the one holding the hand of a handsome young man right now.
The young waiter, Thomas, took their orders and Mary ordered a glass of Chardonnay and mushroom risotto (she'd read on some dating blog that rice was a good food to order on a first date and figured that risotto was close enough). She laughed and acted as naturally as possible. The only member of her family who didn't seem to like Philip was Robert, who tried to avoid talking to him. But then Robert had always liked Patrick, so it was probably natural that he would hate seeing the boy who had been like a son to him replaced.
After the dinner, Philip and Mary left to stroll around the grounds of the university hand-in-hand. "You were perfect with my parents," Mary praised. "But your father didn't exactly warm up to me," Philip noticed. "He just doesn't like to see his little girl growing up," Mary said lightly. "You're not so little. And he'll grow to like me in time," he assured her.
In time…Mary realized that Philip was actually serious about being with her. She shivered in ecstasy at the thought. She liked him so much better than Patrick. She felt a twinge of sadness for her dead cousin at the thought but brushed it aside.
"It's lovely here at Downton," Philip observed. "Just as lovely as you." Mary's heart leaped at the compliment. "Thanks. I only wish Downton would be mine," she sighed wistfully.
Suddenly Philip stopped. "You mean Downton won't be yours?" he asked, trying to make sense of that. "No…my dead grandfather's will states that the university will only be inherited by the closest living male relation. Not me. Silly, isn't it?" she said, noticing the abrupt change in Philip's mood. She placed her arm around him but he pulled away.
"Mary, I'm sorry if I've given you the wrong impression. But I care for you only as a friend," Philip said. "But - but you were talking about us having a future together!" Mary was completely startled by Philip's admission. Philip had held her hand and complimented her looks. Someone who was just looking to be a friend didn't do that.
"I have to go," Philip said. He darted away and Mary stood there, shocked into silence. She realized that Philip had only liked her for her position, her money. How could she have been so naive? And she finally saw him for what he was - a filthy, sweet-talking gold digger.
And Mary Crawley did not like to be made a fool of. Philip Crowborough would pay for this.
But that would be in the morning. Right now, she just felt like crying her eyes out about everything and watching ten episodes of Friends.
In a way, her whole world had crumbled when the Twin towers had crumbled. She had been the president's daughter, a top student, and the girlfriend of the smart and charismatic Patrick Crawley. But now she was barely any of that, and her prospects were hopeless.
Mary reached into her purse for her flip phone. She dialed a number through tear-filled eyes and held the phone up to her ear.
"Sybil? Do you want to go get that ice cream now?"
Mary could hear the wide smile in Sybil's voice. "I thought you'd never ask, sis."
Thomas was finishing his duties at the café for the night when he heard a familiar whisper beckoning him to meet him in the bathroom.
Thomas hung up his jacket and hurried to the bathroom in anticipation. "Hey, Philip," he greeted the handsome student. Philip Crowborough looked excited to see him. "Thomas! It's been too long."
"The emails weren't enough," Thomas acknowledged. "How was your date with Miss Mary?" "Horrible - apparently she isn't inheriting the university anymore!" Philip exclaimed angrily. "Now I can't use that money to save my father's company! I thought you alerted me that she was available because of the money I might get if I married her!"
"I didn't know at that point," Thomas lied. "But it's so nice to see you again." "Mary doesn't know that you're my type - not her!" Philip said ruefully.
"That's for sure," Thomas whispered. "I want to be with you." He put his hand on Philip's cheek and the two men kissed passionately.
Philip broke the kiss. "We were a summer fling when no one else was on the campus and I enjoyed every minute of it. But I can't see us working - you the poor waiter, me the son of a CEO. Besides, my father couldn't deal with my coming out."
"Stay with me, or I'll show him the texts," Thomas threatened. He expected Philip to be horrified but the CEO's son merely laughed. "Good thing I have your phone then," he said and held the device up tauntingly.
"You bastard!" Thomas cried, trying to overpower Philip and get the cell phone back. He felt betrayed and outsmarted and heartbroken all at once - a combination of feelings he loathed. But Philip was too quick for him and flushed the cell phone down the toilet in the nearest stall.
"Don't be a bad loser, Thomas," Philip admonished mockingly. "Either go to bed or stay with me - your choice."
Thomas flipped him off and left in a huff.
The next morning
Matthew Crawley ran over to his mother's apartment in a rush, frantically knocking on the door. "Mum!" he cried.
The normally formidable Professor Isobel Crawley came rushing out in a worn pink bunny-patterned bathrobe and her hair in curlers. Matthew snickered at the sight. "What is it, Matthew?" his mother asked in annoyance. "I just woke up!"
"I got an email," Matthew began. "And I'm going to be the next president of Downton University."
A/N: I hope you liked it! Want more? The more reviews, follows, and favs I get, the more I write! -cxe128
Here is a list of all of the characters so far, so you can keep track.
The Crawley Family
Robert Crawley — president and graduate of Downton University, the private university his ancestors started.
Cora Crawley — Robert's American wife who also graduated from Downton and now helps out Robert.
Violet Crawley — Robert's traditional and sharp-witted socialite mother
Mary Crawley — smart and cold oldest Crawley daughter, a 4th-year student at Downton. Studies business.
Edith Crawley — overlooked and dull middle daughter, a 3rd-year student at Downton. Studies journalism.
Sybil Crawley —passionate and kind youngest daughter, a 1st-year student at Downton. Sybil has views different from her conservative family's views. Unsure whether to study political science or nursing.
Matthew Crawley — long lost distant cousin, a handsome and morally righteous law school student who will inherit Downton University instead of Mary
Patrick Crawley — son of James Crawley, Mary's third cousin and (kind of) boyfriend. Patrick studied foreign policy and was the old top student at the university
Isobel Crawley — Matthew's well-intentioned and strong-willed mother, a professor at the nursing school who is in conflict with Violet.
Mr Carson — disciplinary dean, the strict "bad cop" of the two deans but underneath he has a warm heart
Mrs Hughes — dean of admissions, the motherlike "good cop" of the two.
Tom Branson, a handsome new professor of Introduction to Western European Politics. He is kind and outspoken and soon develops a forbidden crush.
John Bates, Robert's kindly new personal assistant who served in the Gulf War with Robert. He has a limp due to his amputated leg.
Sarah O'Brien, Cora's manipulative yet loyal personal assistant and best friend
Mrs. Patmore, the strict cook who operates the main restaurant on campus
Daisy Robinson, one of Mrs. Patmore's short-order cooks who never had the opportunity to go to college but longs to do so
William Mason, the son of a local farmer who supplies produce to the university. William works as a server at the cafe and harbors a crush on Daisy.
Thomas Barrow, a cruel waiter who can't stand the wealthy Crawleys but there is a softer side to him underneath. Secretly gay.
Anna Smith, Mary's pretty and sweet best friend who comes from a poor and rough family (4th-year). She wants to be a social worker.
Gwen Dawson, Sybil's fun and ambitious best friend who also comes from humble means (1st-year)
Edna Braithwaite, a 1st-year who hates Sybil and schemes to win over Professor Branson's affections
Ethel Parks, a sultry redhead who thinks she is above going to school and has constant love affairs (1st year)
Philip Crowborough, a student interested in dating Mary who is actually Thomas's secret lover
James "Jimmy" Kent, a mischievous troublemaker and ladies' man
Anthony Strallan, one of Robert's friends who runs an agriculture company
George Murray, Downton University's lawyer