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Alumni Advisory Board Meeting - January 2011

Alumni Advisory Board Meeting - January 2011

  • University of Cambridge

"Cambridge is an exceptional place with exceptional people and there are so many opportunities ahead despite the difficulties we need to overcome," said the new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board (AAB) at its fifth meeting on January 31 2011, held in London.

The University and its Colleges move forward as one institution to meet the challenges faced amid the coalition government’s spending cuts and around the current debate on the future of education, he added.

Eighteen AAB members were present, including four new members – David Clouter, Mike Gregson, John Pritchard and Sarah Squire - with John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, unable to attend due to the unfolding situation in Cairo, Egypt. Retiring members Sumant Dhamija, Dame Patricia Hodgson, Edward Stourton and Jonathan Swaine were thanked, alongside the retiring representative of the Colleges on the Board, Corinne Lloyd.

The urgent issue of the proposed funding cuts, and Universities being allowed to increase fees, was raised by Board members. The Vice-Chancellor outlined the Universities position, which is laid out in detail at www.cam.ac.uk/univ/notices and in an article by Professor Steve Young (Pro Vice-Chancellor responsible for Planning and Resource) in Lent CAM.

The Board was updated on CARO’s many activities, including co-ordination of an extensive survey of alumni who graduated in the last decade, with early findings revealing high levels of loyalty to the University with enormous potential for further engagement. Alumni Weekend was an "excellent example of the Colleges and the University working together in tandem for mutual benefit," said the Vice-Chancellor. While roughly 1500 registered for Alumni Weekend in 2010, the University as a whole saw between 5,000 and 6,000 alumni return for events over the weekend. It was agreed that there remained scope for further events, with a pan-global focus in the future.

Board Member Alan Mak reported on the success of the recently launched Cambridge10 initiative, which aims to engage graduates of the last 10 years and which held its first event in September 2010.. It is expected to grow rapidly by leveraging relationships across other Cambridge Alumni Groups, as well as with other alumni groups such as Oxford10 and the London branch of the Harvard Business School Young Alumni.

The meeting looked forward to future programming, including CARO’s plans for events linking with the 2012 Olympics, and the launch of the new online service for alumni in June 2011, which the Board was delighted to hear was both on time and on budget.