New academic year opens with Vice-Chancellor's speech

New academic year opens with Vice-Chancellor's speech

Vice-Chancellor’s 1 October 2018 alumni message

The Vice-Chancellor's speech on Monday 1 October 2018 set out priorities and challenges for the new academic year.

In his first address as Vice-Chancellor of the University last year, Professor Stephen J Toope said that he wanted the University to be "an unstoppable, unapologetic force for knowledge and understanding, for a more inclusive community, and for the betterment of our shared world." This year, he highlights the challenges of financial sustainability and initiatives around widening participation, diversity and student support in a special video message to alumni, and in his speech in Senate House.

As the Vice-Chancellor noted, "Outside of these walls, beyond this magnificent city, people won't care how much we know until they know how much we care." Cambridge's alumni and supporters play a vital role in University's contribution to society locally, nationally and globally. As advocates and ambassadors, alumni and supporters are uniquely placed to tell the story of what Cambridge does, how it does it and why.

In addition to recognising the achievements and successes of the past year, Professor Toope also addressed areas in which "we have our work cut out".

He said: "It falls on all of us to dispel the facile stereotypes of Cambridge as a bastion of privilege and self-serving elitism. Let us prove instead - by showing, not just by telling - that Cambridge is increasingly open to diverse talent; that it is at the forefront of innovation; that it has the capacity to understand, explain and adapt to the social and economic realities of our own era.

Here, too, alumni and friends are an invaluable asset to the University.

"I ask that you join me so that together we make Cambridge not only a university that reflects the society it serves, but one that is able to challenge conventional wisdom and help make our world smarter, more inclusive and more decent."

More from the speech >