Building a better future

11th October 2016

News, Alumni news

It has been an eventful summer with alumni gatherings, summer schools, building projects and the completion of a record-breaking annual telephone campaign. We have been delighted to welcome Old Members from all corners of the world, and to hear your news. Development Director, Julie Hage reports.

During the last two weeks of September, our students enjoyed conversations with more than 600 alumni from across all subjects and generations, pledging a total of £330,000 to the Wadham Fund during the annual two-week Telephone Campaign. On behalf of all Fellows and students at Wadham we would like to express warm thanks to every single one of you for taking the time to share your news and for your generosity towards the College’s areas of greatest needs.

In the current funding climate, where tuition fees only cover 50% of an Oxford education, donations to the Wadham Fund make a genuine difference and help us sustain the College as a beacon for fair access and brilliant scholarship. You can read more about how your donations, small and large, are enabling Access to Excellence.

Some 200 alumni and guests were welcomed back to Wadham to attend the annual 1610 Society and Wadham Alumni dinners.  1610 Society Members were treated to an afternoon of academic talks, including presentations from our Librarian Tim Kirtley, who talked in depth about Shakespeare (to mark his 400th anniversary) and exhibited Wadham’s First and Second Shakespeare Folios.

We were delighted to see so many alumni from all generations for the annual Wadham Alumni Society dinner. 'Brexit and Beyond' was the subject of the after dinner speech given by Anne McElvoy (Philosophy & Modern Languages, 1984) on this occasion. She spoke about the myths of the Brexit campaign and the Remain camp's inability to counteract them, failing to gauge the mood of the nation as a whole.

Emeritus Fellow in Engineering, Dr Colin Wood, was a guest of honour at a gathering of China based alumni in Hong Kong in September. It was lovely to see the warmth and affection that our Hong Kong alumni have for Dr Wood and the strong friendships in our international alumni communities too.

The Hong Kong event was a very happy occasion and guests were very moved when they heard of two generous donations from our benefactors. Thanks to some outstanding benefactions, a new William Doo Undergraduate Centre will transform undergraduate life in College and the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building will serve as a nexus for Wadham’s access programme, welcoming all our prospective applicants. We will keep you fully informed of these building developments as the projects progress, and although at an early stage, world class architect Amanda Levete is developing initial designs which we hope to be able to share with you soon.

Also on the building front, Wadham is moving forward with plans for student accommodation on the Iffley Road.  We are currently seeking planning permission for the 135 bedroom development which will provide accommodation for second year students who currently live out of College due to insufficient accommodation on the Wadham site in Parks Road. The new building developments are part of Wadham’s Access to Excellence programme where students are supported at every juncture of their academic journey, from the moment they consider applying to University, through their time at Oxford and on into their careers.

More than 100 former students who matriculated between 2006 and 2009 filled Wadham’s Dining Hall for their reunion Gaudy with celebrations continuing into the early hours and many alumni retuning to familiar staircases to stay the night in College rooms.

We were also delighted to see more than 120 alumni gathering to celebrate Medicine at Wadham, and to thank Dr Stephen Goss who for almost 40 years has been a beloved Fellow and Tutor in Medicine.

Thanks to alumni support, we are also building upon innovative schemes designed to inspire students from all backgrounds to consider an Oxford education. The power of language, political spin, free speech, and the limits of democracy were the focus of discussion and debate at this year's Politics summer school where students looked at Wadham’s Shakespeare First Folio as an example of the power of language. Meanwhile our Classics summer school participants visited the Ashmolean museum to see their subject brought to the life through the ancient artefacts there. And thanks to support from the Clay Maths Institute and Wadham alumni, the College is becoming a hub for supporting young Maths talent in Europe.

As you can see in our regular e-newsletters, Wadham alumni appear increasingly frequently in the world’s press, involved in a wide range of captivating endeavours. Please do get in touch with Julia Banfield, Head of Website and Communications, to share your news.

We look forward to welcoming you to College, or to one of our events in the UK and abroad, in the coming months.