Oxford University Society
Alumni Networks Newsletter

Michaelmas 2011

The University of Oxford


Seasons Greetings!



It's been a busy period for the OUS network since our last newsletter, with a host of new regional groups as well as groups of alumni brought together through common interests, providing another dimension to the extended Oxford community. Fortunately, Joby Mullens has now been employed full-time to work with me on the Alumni Networks and we are pleased to welcome him as a permanent member of staff.

As we come to the end of the calendar year, we would love to know more about your group activities, changes in branch structure and membership over the last twelve months. Let us know about your successes and new initiatives. We will be sending out a short questionnaire in the new year to help us identify which aspects of branch activity we can best help with and to enable us to celebrate your branch achievements and share best practices with others.

The Alumni Office closes for Christmas on 22 December and reopens on 3 January, so we wish you a Happy Christmas and all best wishes for the New Year.

Zoe Washford, Alumni Networks Manager




Vice-Chancellor news

Challenges and successes


VC in Berlin 2011Speaking at a session for Alumni Relations and Development staff at the University earlier this term, Professor Andrew Hamilton highlighted some of the challenges facing Oxford in the current climate.

He spoke particularly about the impact of coming HE funding cuts, suggesting that the University is being ‘transitioned’ into a privately funded institution whether we like it or not. The Vice-Chancellor stressed that the University had a duty to chart its passage into a future in which it would become more heavily dependent on philanthropy and private funding. He also emphasised the international nature of competition for the brightest students and best academics and how no other university has a greater international presence than Oxford, a 'university of the world, for the world'.

With this growing focus on Oxford's global presence, our international groups will be ever more vital to the University’s future.


Vice-Chancellor visits:




The Vice-Chancellor welcomed the opportunity to meet alumni in Germany in early September, visiting the OUS Berlin and Frankfurt branches. The visit included:

  • A talk from the VC to alumni, academics and students at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin;
  • A reception organised by Frank Hildebrandt, President of OUS Berlin, hosted by the British Ambassador to Germany, Simon McDonald;
  • And a reception for the VC at the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, organised by Andre Wassmann, President of OUS Frankfurt.

Australia and New Zealand

The Vice-Chancellor was delighted to meet alumni in several cities in Australia and New Zealand in July and August. His visit included:

  • An alumni reception in Canberra at ANU, with the OUS ACT branch, where he engaged in dialogue with Professor Ian Chubb on ‘Global Education and Science Policy Trends’;
  • An alumni breakfast in Melbourne on 29 July and a black tie dinner at the Melbourne Club hosted by OUS Victoria;
  • An alumni reception in Sydney on 2 August at the University of Sydney with the OUS New South Wales branch, where Professor Hamilton was joined by the Dean of the Law School who spoke on the future of human rights law;
  • A visit to Christchurch, New Zealand, on 4 August to meet many who had been affected by the recent earthquake there. Alumna Clare Murray and her husband Justin generously opened their home to the group for drinks and canapés;
  • A reception in Wellington at the Grand Hall of Parliament on 5 August, where the Vice-Chancellor was interviewed by Simon Bridges, MP for Tauranga and alumnus of St Catherine’s;
  • An alumni reception in Auckland on 6 August at the Wintergarden Room of the Northern Club. The Vice-Chancellor was joined by the Warden of Rhodes House, Dr Donald Markwell, who spoke about global leadership.

Thanks go out to all branches for making these events such a success.




Vice-Chancellor visits in 2012



The Vice-Chancellor will be visiting India from 17 – 25 March 2012. His trip encompasses events in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Receptions for alumni will be held in each city - please watch your inbox for invitations closer to the dates. The Vice-Chancellor also plans to visit China and Japan in May 2012, with stops in Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. More details to follow.




News for branches

'Oxford Explained': Skype presentations for applicants

Oxford studentsThe Oxford Student Recruitment team delivered the first ‘Oxford Explained’ presentation via Skype to a school in New Zealand in November. Kate Burn, Student Recruitment Officer, spoke remotely with 30 students, including current and prospective applicants, to explain what makes Oxford unique, how to apply and what to expect from an Oxford interview. The Dean of the Auckland International College, Michael Kelso, said he thought the Skype presentation was ‘outrageously successful’ and he ‘would certainly like to make this an annual event’. Delivering international recruitment via digital media will revolutionise the way the Student Recruitment team works with schools and colleges across the globe.

UK branches are also playing an important role in student recruitment – the Hertfordshire branch run a successful annual event for pupils in years 11,12 and 13, their parents, and teachers from Hertfordshire county schools. They hear from an Oxford Admissions Tutor and a panel of current Oxford undergraduates about applying to Oxford, interviews and life at the University.

How you can get involved

  • If you think prospective applicants in your country would benefit from Skype presentations, please get in touch with Zoe or Joby on international.branches@alumni.ox.ac.uk.
  • To become more involved in recruitment and admissions, contact your dedicated college Admissions Officer. You can find the regionalisation scheme and your college representatives on the Admissions website.



Volunteer your city for one of our Study Days

National Museum CardiffMore than eighty alumni and guests enjoyed our most recent Study Day at the National Museum, Cardiff, in November. Speakers included Elisabeth Elias (St Hilda’s), Oliver Fairclough (Trinity), Miranda Aldhouse-Green (LMH) and David Alston (Corpus Christi).

The day's organisation benefited tremendously from the support of the Cardiff and SE Wales branch and the event also acted as a successful mechanism for increasing awareness of the branch and growing its membership.

Does your city have some hidden gems, or is it particularly known for its history or an industry? If your branch would be interested in helping to organise a Study Day in future, please contact the Events Manager, Beth Tibble, on events@alumni.ox.ac.uk.


Meeting Minds: Branch Officers at the Alumni Weekend

AW 2011 -Branch Officers' LunchMore than thirty Branch Officers attended the lunch and networking session at this year's Oxford Alumni Weekend in September.

Topics for a round table discussion included:

  • Student bursaries and outreach;
  • branch events;
  • branch publicity and membership lists;
  • and volunteer management and succession planning.

What you told us:

  • OUS Ottawa revealed that they use their own branch members as speakers;
  • OUS Paris charges a discounted rate for younger alumni to attract them;
  • most branches expressed the need to recruit younger alumni who can organise and attend events and join branch committees;
  • OUS Hampshire would like to attract retired alumni who have more time to help with branch organisation;
  • Branches also discussed the events they ran and what made these events successful. OUS Western Australia organises a cocktail party each year jointly with the local Cambridge group, other groups join up with a neighbouring Oxford group for an event;
  • We discussed bursary awards for students. OUS East Kent discussed their successful scheme and OUS Cornwall spoke of their own new initiative;
  • And finally, we looked at the problems surrounding finding volunteers to succeed committee members. Branch constitutions and terms of office have been a solution for some groups.  

This feedback is invaluable - as well as helping us plan priorities for network support it also allows us to focus planning for the next Alumni Volunteers’ Leadership Conference on the issues most relevant to you.

Branch updates

New branch formed in Jersey



A new OUS Jersey Branch has been formed by Kat Tiefenthal (Harris Manchester) and Penny Roberts (Harris Manchester). They held an inaugural drinks party on Friday 11 November at Jersey Aeroclub and are planning a speaker event at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in the New Year.





New branch appointments



  • Ukraine - OUS Ukraine held elections in November and appointed Oleg Akhtyrskyi (St Hugh’s) as Chairman, Sergey Naraevsky (Wadham) as Secretary, and Rostyslav Semikov (St Cross) as Treasurer; 
  • Cyprus - OUS Cyprus have appointed a new branch Secretary, Rania Traiforos Makriyiannis (St Hugh’s);
  • OUS Greece – have appointed Petros Stefaneas (St Catherine’s) as Secretary; 
  • SW France – John Baylis (Keble) has been elected as Chairman of the OUS Southwest France group; 
  • Valencia – Michael Baker (St Cross) has been appointed Branch Secretary of the Valencia alumni group and will be joining up with Cambridge alumni to form an Oxbridge Valencia group; 
  • Toronto – Payal Shah (Somerville) has been appointed Branch Secretary of the Oxford and Cambridge Society in Toronto
  • East Kent - The branch have elected new volunteers as follows: Peter Morgan (Trinity) replaces Jean Anderson (St Hugh’s) as Chairman, many thanks to Jean for her work with the branch in various positions on the committee over the years; Vice Chairman, Peter Berg (Brasenose) replaces Peter Morgan; and the new Hon. Secretary is Gail Swainston (St Hilda’s), who replaces Talbot Penner (Exeter). Many thanks to Talbot for his dedication to the post. Jean and Talbot remain committee members.





Shared Interest Groups for Oxonians



Shared interest groups are a growing part of the Oxford Alumni Network and provide links to all alumni sharing professions or interests in a variety of subjects, no matter their locale. Groups range from the Oxford University Bridge Association to the Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Network.

The newly formed Oxford Anthropology and Museum Ethnography Alumni Society, founded by Chair, Dr Helen Carr (Wadham), and a committee of anthropology professionals, held their inaugural dinner in London in October followed by new members meeting at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in December. The group is open to Oxonians who share an interest in anthropological ideas. For more information and to join, email: alumni@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Oxford Chinese Students and Scholars Association (OXCSSA) 
A Chinese community organisation for Oxford students, scholars and alumni. To join their mailing list, email: info@oxcssa.org

Are you an Oxford Biology Alumnus?

A new group is being formed for alumni who studied a branch of Biology at Oxford, including all undergraduate degrees (Botany, Zoology, Agricultural & Forest Science, Pure & Applied Biology, Biological Sciences), MSc degrees (Forestry, Integrative Biosciences) and related DPhils. The group is currently making a call for expressions of interest from alumni who would like to maintain a link with the department. Alumni will receive (among other things) an annual newsletter and invitation to the planned inaugural event (Saturday 15 September). Interested alumni should email alumni@biology.ox.ac.uk or visit www.biology.ox.ac.uk/alumni to join the mailing list and to update their contact details.





OUS Prime-Mover mailing list



Ian Senior, Chairman of the OUS Hertfordshire branch has been publishing Prime-Mover for three years as an informal networking forum for prime-movers in OUS branches worldwide. New editions come out around six times a year.

A prime-mover, here, is defined as an Oxonian at branch level who makes at least one branch event happen each year. Branch representatives can receive Prime-Mover and indeed circulate it to other branch prime-movers. All six members of the Herts branch organising team are designated prime-movers.

If you are not already on the circulation list and would like to receive Prime-Mover, please e-mail Ian at IanSenior@aol.com





Oxford Alumni Travel Programme: New Benefit for Branches

Travel Brochure 2012We are pleased to introduce a new 10% discount on Alumni Travel Programme tours for Branch Officers and a partner. The 2012 programme includes a wide range of tours across the globe, each accompanied by an expert trip scholar. The University receives a contribution for each booking, and these funds are used to support alumni activities.

Please also spread the word to all branch members about the Oxford Alumni Travel Programme. The new 2012 brochure is available here. In order to obtain a Branch Officers’ discount, please tell the tour operator at the time of booking.*

We would particularly welcome the participation of our international alumni in the Travel Programme. You could:

  • consider forming a small group to attend a tour;
  • join a tour in your region without airfare costs;
  • suggest site visits or tour guides for the programme; 
  • suggest ways to meet and engage with alumni travelling to your area.

For further information, please visit our website or phone +44 (0) 1865 611617 to request a copy of the 2012 brochure.

*Please note that a very limited number of tours might be excluded from this offer – please check with the tour operator.



Oxford and the Olympics

Olympics - Steph CookSeveral Oxford students and alumni are hoping to qualify for London 2012, and the University will be following their progress online. New web pages at: www.ox.ac.uk/olympics feature profiles of the athletes, blogs, information about Oxonian medal winners of the past, and how members of the University can get involved in local activities relating to the Games.

Competitors represent many nations worldwide:

  • Andrew Yang Bilski, an Australian Greco-Roman Wrestler who completed an MSc at Christ Church this summer;
  • Mutsa Mutembwa, a Zimbabwean field hockey player, a Rhodes Scholar at St Edmund Hall;
  • Nikki Emerson, (neuroscience and psychology at Magdalen) a British T53 wheelchair racer who competes in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and marathon;
  • Scott Frandsen, a Canadian rower who read Psychology at Teddy Hall & won silver at Beijing
  • Andreas Heger, an Australian Paralympian rower who recently completed a Bachelor of Civil Law at St John's
  • Rosara Joseph, a cross country mountain biker from New Zealand who read Law at St John's
  • Mari Rabie, a South African triathlete studying an MSc in Applied Statistics at St Catherine's
  • Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss, US rowers who both undertook MBAs at the Saïd Business School


Oxford alumni website re-design

new Alumni websiteThe Oxford alumni website www.alumni.ox.ac.uk now has a new look and feel with, we hope, more intuitive navigation, more useful features and more information on getting involved with the University. Although the design is new, all features of the previous website remain and there is now the option to register for Oxford Alumni Online, which creates an account that enables alumni to securely log-in to view and update their details, search the directories for friends from Oxford and send messages to other alumni. This new log-in aspect will allow us to introduce more tools and resources for branch officers.

More updates to follow, but if you've any suggestions for the new site, either for features for all alumni, or things that would make branch life easier, please contact webmaster@alumni.ox.ac.uk.


Forthcoming alumni events

Earth sciences equipmentForthcoming alumni events are listed at the top right of this email. For more information about events and to book, please visit the alumni website.



Save the date! Public dialogue with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Richard Dawkins, introduced by Tony Kenny



Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, 23 Feb 2012
A limited number of alumni seats will be available for this –booking will open in the New Year.

We are also planning to offer pre-booking for branch secretaries and will contact you when this is available.







A reminder to all branches to please continue to let us know your latest branch news and events to publicise on our website or in our Networks blog. Please email to: joby.mullens@alumni.ox.ac.uk



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