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Hello & welcome

Welcome to Observe, the annual magazine for Oxford Brookes alumni, supporters and friends. We live in changing times, both within the higher education sector – which is adapting to the largest legislative change for a generation – and the world more widely. Now more than ever, collaboration plays the greatest role in helping us all to respond well to these challenges and opportunities.

I strongly believe that the diversity of our community of staff, students and alumni, and the extent to which we collaborate with colleagues and fellow alumni around the world, are signs of a successful, responsible and forward-thinking institution.

I’m pleased to say that our international reputation continues to grow, as exemplified by Oxford Brookes being named as one of the top 50 universities under the age of 50 by QS – we were the only UK institution to appear in this ranking.

Our Chancellor, Dame Katherine Grainger PhD, achieved the greatest of sporting honours on the international stage and continues to be an inspirational figure to us all. I’m sure you will enjoy reading our cover feature in which she reflects on life away from rowing, new challenges and the importance of staying connected with where you have studied.

In the last year we have enhanced our engagement with alumni, both in the UK and around the world, through the setting up of global and professional groups. The imminent launch of our new alumni e-mentoring platform will also enable alumni to support and encourage current students at Brookes.

As you will see from this edition, our alumni continue to inspire us with their achievements and stories: from the winner of the British Council Study UK Award, to the students who started Student Pride, to three alumni who have produced a pilot comedy for Amazon Prime. We also conferred Honorary Degrees on three of our alumni in 2017 in recognition of their success and continued engagement with their alma mater.

Whatever and whenever you studied at Oxford Brookes, and wherever life has taken you since, staying in touch with you continues to be so important to us. I have no doubt that our alumni are our greatest ambassadors and advocates and, as the world changes rapidly, you remain a constant source of pride and achievement.

I hope that this issue of Observe provides a snapshot of the amazing things taking place at the University and in our alumni community, and you find it an entertaining and informative read. Best wishes,

PROFESSOR ALISTAIR FITT
Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University

Photograph by Christopher Cornwell