On Friday 7 November, over 300 alumni, friends and supporters of the University came together for the 11th annual House of Lords reception and to welcome Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL (2014 DUniv Honorary Degree), who was installed as the University's seventh Chancellor in July. Alumni in attendance graduated between 1949 and 2014, and travelled from across Europe, Asia and North America to enjoy this popular event.
Guests were warmly welcomed by their host, Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Lord Bilimoria, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood. Professor Sir David joined alumni in celebrating the University’s successes of the past year, including being named University of the Year 2013-14 by the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. He announced that, due to the incredible generosity of the University’s alumni and supporters, the Circles of Influence campaign is set to exceed the £160 million target, which will have a life-changing impact in the UK and internationally, as well as helping to transform and redevelop our beautiful campus.
Professor Sir David also highlighted several other highlights from the past year, including:
- Birmingham was ranked 64th in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15 and is fourth in the UK for employability, as our great students go on to become highly employable graduates;
- Due to the extraordinary quality of applications in 2014, the University was able to offer 450 additional undergraduate places;
- Birmingham was chosen as the location for the headquarters of the new National College for High Speed Rail, central to which was the involvement of the University’s Centre for Railway Research and Education;
- The University has launched a new graduate diploma programme at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, which will help train the next generation of railway engineers and address the current skills shortage in China;
- We are continuing to expand upon our global outreach through our MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
Professor Sir David then introduced Lord Bilimoria, who spoke of his honour at joining the distinguished ranks of Birmingham Chancellors, including Joseph Chamberlain and Anthony Eden. He also spoke of his family connection to the University: Lord Bilimoria's mother, grandfather and uncle are all Birmingham alumni. Lord Bilimoria then led everyone in a toast to the University.
This incredibly popular reception was an enjoyable evening of conversation with old classmates and new friends. Wine and canapés were served throughout the evening as alumni enjoyed the stunning views of the Thames, the London Eye, and other landmarks from the terrace. Alumni were especially keen to meet with two of our current students, George (Political Science) and Olivia (Medicine), and ask them about life on today’s thriving campus.
Thank you to everyone who attended and made the evening such an enjoyable and memorable occasion. We are proud of your continuing support, which is critical to the ongoing success of the University.
Each year more than 700 alumni volunteer for the University, from mentoring current students, to offering career advice from attending recruitment fairs to offering internships. Should you wish to support us further by giving your time, please visit our Volunteering page.
Next year’s reception will take place on Friday 6 November 2015. Details of the event will be emailed to all alumni and online booking will be available in August. To ensure you receive your invitation, please visit www.your.bham.ac.uk to update your details.