Back in the eighties

27th September 2018

News, Alumni news

An architectural tour, Library treasures including Copernicus De Revolutionibus (1543), and a lively dinner were highlights of one of Wadham’s biggest-ever Gaudy reunions.

Some 180 alumni, who matriculated between 1980 and 1985, enjoyed a packed programme of events culminating in a black tie dinner in Wadham’s Hall and Old Library. After-dinner speaker Tony Brennan (Mathematics, 1985) drew many laughs from fellow alumni as he reminisced about his time at Wadham, reminding all that they were not so young any more.

Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) and Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623) were among highlights of an exhibition of some 20 rare books in the Wadham Library collection, organised by Librarian Tim Kirtley.

Author and Historian, Professor William Whyte FRHistS (History, 1997) led a fascinating architectural tour of College, exploring Wadham’s evolving architectural heritage, from its foundation in 1610 to the current development of the new Undergraduate Centre and Access Centre in the Back Quad. 

A briefing from the building project’s architectural director followed the tour. Ho-Ying Ng from architects AL_A answered alumni questions about the project while Warden, Ken Macdonald QC spoke to guests about Wadham’s access and outreach work and Access to Excellence programme.   

Evensong in chapel was led by Wadham’s incoming Chaplain, Dr Jane Baun, with music from Organist Julian Littlewood and the Wadham choir. Wadham's hard-working student Telephone Campaign callers joined alumni for drinks in the ante chapel to hear tales about College life in the eighties. Drinks were followed by dinner in Hall, hosted by the Warden, and the Old Library, hosted by Emeritus Fellow, Ray Ockenden. 

"It was amazing for me to see people again who in some cases I had not seen for 33 years!" said Jeremy Williams (Mathematics, 1981). "It was fascinating to hear what different people had done with their lives in the intervening years. Certainly everyone with whom I spoke showed an affection for Wadham, which helped to create a very good atmosphere," he added.

Guests travelled to the event from across the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the USA. And pouring rain was not enough to dampen spirits as guests rushed from all four corners of Front Quad to take part in the group photo.