Principal's Blog: 1st-25th April

2015 10 22 13.04.13 2Our Principal, John Bowers, shares more thoughts on the first few weeks of his time at the College.

US tour:
Suzanne and I went on a fascinating tour of Washington DC and New York in the vacation with our Director of Development, Liz Miller. In DC we attended a glittering dinner at the amazing setting of the Library of Congress for the whole University addressed by Lord Patten. The main occasion for this part of the visit was the Oxford University North American alumni weekend. Presciently some nine months ago the organisers had chosen as one of their main sessions a discussion on the “Politics of Extremism” and there was much to talk about. I saw more Heads of Colleges there than I am accustomed to meeting in Oxford.

We also had a wonderful evening for alumni at the home of Allen Foster, an alumnus and a prominent Washington trial lawyer. The beautiful house was on the banks of the Potomac River. There were also many one to one meetings with alumni from a wide range of different backgrounds including a Sotheby’s vice president, a former US General, many bankers and lawyers.

We then went by train to New York which was a first for me by this mode of transport in the USA. There we met many other alumni, and held a meeting to review the College endowment strategy with US-based alumni who have a broad mix of investment experience.

This was followed by a big reception hosted by at McKinseys where amazingly I met an alumnus from my home town of Cleethorpes who now teaches piano at the Julliard School. We were away for a week but our feet really did not touch the floor during that time. The Americans are fascinated by the prospects of Brexit and are very worried that we will pull out.

Jubilee and Tenants lunches:
Since returning to College, I have presided over a Jubilee lunch and a Tenants’ lunch. The latter brings together an amazing group of farmers who are tenants the College. I was struck by the fact that their day is very differently structured to our academic life; up often at 5.30am. There are however similarities; the pursuit of excellence and the desire to succeed.

Christopher McKenna:
Our E&M Fellow Christopher McKenna, University Reader in Business Strategy and History at the Saïd Business School, Oxford has received the 2016 Williamson Prize from the Economic History Association. This is presented for a mid career scholar. The citation says amongst other things that Chris “has been a prominent scholar in business history and an excellent citizen of the Business History Conference.  His book The World's Newest Profession (Cambridge University Press, 2006), a history of the management consulting industry, has been influential in business history scholarship and in the broad arena of business strategy”. We are thrilled for Chris.

Football cuppers:
We are all delighted that our football team won cuppers after a penalty shoot out which has been described in our graduate newsletter as “perineum clenching”! A big congratulations to all of the players.

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