Principal's Blog: Early October 2018


blogBowerscrop1Freshers’ events
We have had a major round of Freshers’ events and inductions for new staff in this period before Term officially commenced. These included:

a.    The College Away Day on 27 September when we discuss strategic issues amongst the Fellowship;
b.    Our Michaelmas Dinner on 26 September which is an excellent opportunity for new Fellows to be introduced around our very convivial group of existing Fellows;
c.    An induction for new academic staff on 1 October;
d.    The Undergraduate Freshers Welcome Dinner which has to be spread between the Hall and Medieval Kitchen; all parts of College were represented;
e.    The Graduate Freshers drinks on 3 October, which demonstrated the wide range of our graduate population from all over the globe;
f.    The Graduate Freshers dinner on 4 October, addressed by the Tutor for Graduates.

I made seven speeches during this week so it is good that I always matched the speech to the occasion, or just about! Readers may find interesting part of what I said to undergraduate Freshers:

“You are all equipped to succeed here. The new way of working will be challenging but rewarding. The more you stretch yourself, the more rewarding it should be.

You may feel you have or will have information overload especially in these first few weeks but just pace yourself and ask if you need to know more.

May I suggest some rules /principles or as you might say Principal’s principles:

1.    Be yourselves [not least as everyone else is taken] – there really is no need to try to be anyone else to make an impact. Dress as you want to; stand out from the crowd if you want to;
2.    Experiment: as Samuel Beckett said “try again fail again fail better”.
Try everything, even croquet [well perhaps not everything and not all at once and not just the night before exams], before determining what you want to devote yourself to during your time here [if you do what you have always done you will just get what you always got], but always please put your studies first;
3.    Ask someone if you are unsure; there are many people eager to help;
4.    Get yourself plenty of rest;
5.    Share your problems if you have them; we have a great welfare team who are eager to help;
6.    Think about the heritage of the College, those have who gone before you e.g.:
a.    Great authors eg William Golding, John Buchan
b.    Comedians eg Michael Palin
c.    Politicians Lord Aldington and David Cameron
d.    even the inventor of bottled beer and the Eagle comic were here;
e.    Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist.
f.    Duncan Campbell, journalist and co-founder of Stonewall.
g.    Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK.

I also stress that we truly believe in diversity of all kinds and diverse means all backgrounds cultures religions economic circs; you should be part of that; do learn from each other”.

The Medical Society was launched at a Dinner in College on 29 September. This is an excellent initiative by Prof James. There was a mixture of young and old at the event.

On 2 October we held a memorial service for Max Mian who tragically died last year. As anticipated the chapel was full of his friends for a very moving service. We were joined by his parents, Shah and Helen and brother Louis.

Prof Alexander Betts one of our Golding Senior Fellows picked up a team bronze medal at last week's World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, running for GB over-35s.

We held an excellent Gaudy for those who matriculated in 2011-2012. The numbers were so large that we had to spread guests over two rooms, the Hall and an overflow in Lecture Room VII behind it.

I am sorry to tell readers of the sad death of Professor Ceri Peach after a period of illness.  Ceri looked after Geography between 2003 and 2006 at Brasenose for some years prior to the full-time employment of Greg Tucker as a Fellow. Ceri was a champion of Brasenose Geography and was a huge figure in its development. Some senior members of the College may remember him.

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