Happy New Year. I hope that everyone is refreshed after the vacation. The Christmas period is sometimes called a holiday – but vacation is more accurate since our support staff, academics, and students spend much of the time between Terms working.
I hope you all enjoyed The Miniaturist on BBC. The drama was based on the book by our alumna Jessie Burton. She also had a role on screen.
Dr Liz Miller our Development Director and I had a successful trip to Hong Kong which is always such an exciting destination. Altogether we met some many alumni at a party at the Hong Kong Club hosted by alumnus Tony Tyler, as well as a dinner and in various one to one meetings. The mood in Hong Kong is buoyant notwithstanding increasing inroads by the Chinese Government. It was interesting to learn that the French now have a larger ex pat community in Hong Kong than the British.
Professor Richard Cooper:
On 10 January, Professor Richard Cooper gave a scintillating account of his long career as a Fellow of Brasenose at a “Business with Brasenose” event at Deloittes in London. This was put on through the generosity of Ben Bell, an alumnus. It was pleasing to see such a large turnout especially of Modern Linguists.
It was entirely appropriate that Richard spoke on World Laughter Day as he had the audience in stitches. In a wide survey of Brasenose over the years, he commented on the positive influence of women. He recalled an Ale Verse reflective of a time long gone by when
“Brasenose the best of them all
But your chance of a first is exceedingly small”
We are still of course the best but the chance of a first is statistically good. Richard also recalled a cricket match where Colin Cowdray batted and Archbishop Robert Runcie was umpire and used papal infallibility to disguise what Richard thought were distinctly dodgy decisions. Richard wholly lived up to my introduction of him as a “Brasenose Legend”.
Congratulations to all those who received offers this year. Our Brasenose's offer profile is 63% state schools (among UK offer-holders) and all four OFFA targets have been met:
- schools with limited progression to Oxford historically: University target 15.9%, BNC offers 17.8%
- households in socially deprived areas: University target 9.5%, BNC offers 15.8%
- households in areas with low progression to higher education: University target 13%, BNC offers 13.9%
- disability: students declaring a disability: University target 3.2%, BNC offers 7.9%.
A visit from our Visitor:
We were delighted to welcome our College Visitor, The Ven Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln on 16 January with his wife Susan. The Bishop is a busy Visitor as he also performs the function for Lincoln College, Eton College and Kings College, Cambridge.
It was our first College Eucharist of the term and the Bishop presided and preached. We invited Lincoln College to join us and their Chaplain Mel read the gospel. It was lovely that students, staff and fellows of both colleges attended.
The Bishop spoke about the fact everyone has a vocation and as part of what he was saying he quoted Thomas Merton as follows:
Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His Kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfil our own destiny, according to God's will, to be what God wants us to be.
Thomas Merton (2005). “No Man is an Island”, p.138, Shambhala Publications
We have more than the usual number of congratulations in this month’s blog. It reflects the high academic standing of so many of our Fellows. Dr Rebecca Bowler (Junior Kurti Fellow) has just won a Winton Award from the Royal Astronomical Society. The details can be found here
Dr Ferdinand Rauch has won the Kiel "Excellence Awards in Global Economic Affairs" this year. The awards ceremony will be in June.
We are also delighted to see New Year’s Honours for Dr Diane Coyle of a CBE (soon to be made an Honorary Fellow of the College) and an OBE for David Earnshaw who does terrific work for education in the North. Congratulations also to Mary Loram who became a QC.