Principal's Blog: 1st April 2021

blogBowerscrop11990s Reunion:
On Saturday 27 March, we were delighted to welcome 1990s matriculands to an online reunion. Guests joined us from all around the world, including Japan, South Africa, Greece, the USA, and the UK. As well as alumni, we were thrilled to see some many Emeritus Fellows, who tuned in to see their former students.

The 1990s was a period of great change for the College – student numbers increased and, naturally, the number of student bedrooms did too. There were significant developments across the Brasenose estate, and especially at the Frewin annexe. Early in the decade there were renovations in staircases 3 & 4 with central heating, bathrooms, and lavatories.

Frewin is about to go through another period of extensive development. The decade also saw major sporting success for the College. BNC won Oxford in Bloom (Colleges and Public Institutions) Cup in 1990. We were pretty low in the Norrington table. This is lifted from the Brazen Nose: “This poor performance by the undergraduates is of great concern to the Fellows who must bear much of the blame, but it cannot be linked with sporting excess. In fact, the College sportsmen and women did very much better than the average undergraduate with several gaining firsts. The ability to organise one’s time remains a powerful aid to academic success, but perhaps our reluctance to send down the truly idle may not help the rest of the student body.”

Gertie – for whom our famous sandwich bar and café is now named – retired in the mid-90s. Many have been reminiscing about the fantastic breakfasts served there….a tradition, I am glad to report, still remains to this day.

Principals Conversation; covid revisited:
On 17 March, 130 people witnessed an excellent Virtual Principals Conversation entitled “Fighting the Covid-19 Pandemic: One Year On”. The team of Professors William James and Professor Philip Goulder reprised their very clear explanations from last time and they were and on this occasion they were joined by Professor Ellie Barnes, Professor of Hepatology and Experimental Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine. A whole host of issues were covered, in particular the progress of the vaccines and variants and we all came away much better informed.

Under the leadership of our Chaplain we took part in the National Day of Reflection on 23rd March for the first anniversary of the UK lockdown, to commemorate this tragic loss of life and to stand together with everyone who is grieving.

It was also wonderful to hear from Dean L. Winslow of Stanford University who spent a terrific term with us with his wife who was the Stanford Visiting Fellow. He tells me that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently asked him to take a leave of absence from Stanford to help lead the US COVID-19 Testing and Diagnostics Working Group in Washington DC. We wish him well, and all those many alumni who are involved in the fight against covid in one way or another.

This year’s telethon produced our best ever result. A great big thank you to our student callers and all those alumni who helped contribute to this.

We also just reached out to a record 650 young people who may wish to come to Brasenose in a virtual event and I congratulate the team who were involved in this under the inspirational leadership of Joe Organ.

I have been reading Eatock & Goodwin’s National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy and Peter Oborne’s The Assault on Truth.

I wish everyone a good Easter. Keep safe and well.


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