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July 2023


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Chancellor’s Installation

On Thursday 29 June, Dr Fiona Hill was officially installed as the University’s 13th Chancellor in an historic ceremony in Durham Cathedral. Outgoing Chancellor, opera singer Sir Thomas Allen took part to welcome his successor. 

Joe Docherty, Chair of University Council, said: “Fiona is a living embodiment of the transformative powers of education and research and will help to inspire our University community and especially our students to achieve extraordinary things at Durham and beyond.” 

Previous Chancellors of the University include the aforementioned Sir Thomas Allen, author Bill Bryson, thespian Sir Peter Ustinov and ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn. 

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His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honours 2023

On the announcement of The King’s Birthday Honours List 2023, we would like to congratulate our alumni, staff members and friends who have been honoured. We are inspired by your success and proud of your affiliation with Durham.

The 2023 Birthday Honours List recognises and rewards the public service of individuals from across the UK in a wide range of areas, including science, politics, sport, and the arts. Those who are honoured represent the inspiration and leadership that characterises our Durham community across the globe. 

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Durham’s world-leading status confirmed 

We are pleased to share that Durham’s status as a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence has been affirmed once again in the QS World University Rankings 2024.

The University is now ranked 78th in the world, up 14 places from 92nd last year. We are also ranked joint 30th in a new category of Sustainability and 50th in the Employer Reputation category. 

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Summer Congregation

Over 4,500 students from 100 countries worldwide celebrated the completion of their studies, reflecting on their time spent at the University and in Durham. Twenty-three ceremonies took place in the magnificent setting of Durham Cathedral from Thursday 29 June. 

We would like to welcome the Class of 2023 to our alumni community. Read more about the benefits of keeping in touch and getting involved.

Alumni services
Dr Fiona Hill’s first engagement as Chancellor 

Prior to her official installation, Dr Fiona Hill attended the Chancellor’s Circle Dinner on Thursday 25 May at Drapers’ Hall in London, marking a significant moment as she begins her tenure as incoming Chancellor.  

Pictured (left to right): Dr Fiona Hill, alumna Beth Henderson (English Literature, Josephine Butler College, 2017-20) and Professor Karen O’Brien. 

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Thank you for your support

Our telephone campaign wrapped up on Sunday 2 July and we're grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response. We raised a total of £159,738 for the Durham Future Fund.  

Thanks to your support, we can provide personal development grants, hardship funding and scholarships to students like Dilan (pictured) who can make the most of their Durham education. 

With your help, we can ensure that all students, irrespective of background, can fulfil their potential.

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New for 2023: Dean’s Scholarship

Are you considering postgraduate study in the Arts & Humanities or Social Sciences & Health? Do you have a first-class undergraduate degree?

The brand-new Dean’s Scholarship could be for you! The scholarship is available to support high-achieving students from the UK looking to embark on a taught Master’s programme in academic year 2023/24. The scholarship is worth £2,500.

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Keep an eye out for the latest Dunelm Magazine 
Look out for your copy of this year’s magazine in your inbox very soon. The latest issue is packed full of news and great stories shared by our alumni community.
Summer of Shakespeare

This summer, 400 years of Shakespeare is being celebrated in Durham in the best possible way - through world-class theatre.  

Marking 400 years of Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio’, we are recognising the links the University has to the Great Bard and welcoming exceptional productions of his plays to the City, produced by both students and partner organisations - The Elysium Theatre and Durham Fringe Festival.

Pictured: scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

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Upcoming alumni events

Alumni Evening in Ottawa with Professor Denise Lievesley   
Friday 21 July 2023, 6-8pm 
Join Durham University Council Member, Professor Denise Lievesley CBE, CStat, FAcSS and fellow alumni and friends for an intimate, informal evening event in Ottawa, Canada. Attendance is free, but registration is required. 

Alumni Meet-up in Auckland
Friday 21 July 2023, 6-8pm 
You are invited to join the Auckland Alumni Chapter for an informal networking event with Dr Riccardo Mogre, Associate Professor in Operations Management at Durham University Business School. Attendance is free, but registration is required. 

Oxford Alumni Meet-up 
Thursday 27 July 2023, 6.30-8.30pm
Meet fellow Durham alumni in Oxford for an informal gathering at the Head of the River pub. The event is free to attend (but please book your place) with refreshments available to purchase.

Durham Alumni Enterprise Networking Event in London – Angel Investing
Thursday 14 September 2023, 6.30-9pm 
Join us at the London offices of our friends at St James’s Place for an evening of networking, and meeting friends old and new. Please register to secure your place.

Vice-Chancellor’s Reception in Hong Kong
Saturday 16 September 2023, 7-9pm 
We invite you to join our Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Karen O’Brien, senior University colleagues, and fellow alumni and friends, for an evening reception in Hong Kong. Places are free, but registration is required. 

Vice-Chancellor’s Reception in Sydney  
Saturday 23 September 2023, 7-9pm 
Alumni are invited to join our Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Karen O’Brien, for an evening reception in Sydney. Reconnect with Durham and hear the Vice-Chancellor’s aspirations guiding the University’s current and future plans. Places are free, but registration is required.

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Get Involved
Inspire future Durham students

Could you help us in an online session for postgraduate offer holders? We are currently seeking alumni volunteers who undertook postgraduate studies.  

There are five sessions remaining in July, with more up until September. We’d be delighted if you could join us to be a guest panellist, providing advice and guidance, and drawing from your own experiences to illustrate where a Durham degree could lead. Read more using the button below. 

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Share your experience with year 12 pupils

If you want to help inspire future Durham students but didn’t undertake postgraduate studies, there is another opportunity to consider! 

The University is participating in With Insight Education’s ‘Insight2Uni’ mentoring programme. A series of careers talks aimed at Black heritage year 12 school pupils is planned for August. With Insight Education are seeking Black heritage Durham alumni to share their career journeys. If you’re interested or want to know more, get in touch using the button below.

Get involved
Connect with your alumni chapter

Alumni gathered in Delhi recently for the Delhi Alumni Chapter’s cocktail event. Delhi Alumni Chapter Lead Sahil Kumar (MBA, University College, 2019-20) said: 

"The alumni event started with a mellow vibe but soon became an absolute blast with memories, mouthwatering bites, and delicious cocktails. It was absolute fun getting to know our incredible fellow alumni from our Uni and making memories that'll last."

To connect with your local alumni chapter, use the button below.  

Get involved
Durham City Run Festival

Durham City Run Festival is back from Thursday 13 – Saturday 15 July 2023. The University is proud to partner with this energetic festival to bring you summer competition, fun and celebration. 

Together with Durham’s Sports University of the Year accolade, this is the perfect way to celebrate sports in a world heritage setting. 

If you’re in the area and have your running shoes to hand, why not sign up? Alumni can benefit from discounted entry – please contact for further details.

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Class Notes

Jamil Ampomah (MBA, 2003-06), as Director – Africa at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Jamil has been involved in one of the largest ever studies across the accountancy profession. The Global Talent Trends Survey 2023 provides unique and immediate insights into how people feel about working within accountancy. 

Xavier Brice (English Literature, Trevelyan College, 1993-96) in his role as CEO of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, is in the midst of a legal challenge against the UK government, after cuts to active travel funding were announced earlier this year.

Rachel Frame (Archaeology & Ancient Civilisations, 2013-16; Archaeology, 2018-19, Trevelyan College) has been appointed as the Senior Archaeologist on the Roman Magna Fort project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for The Vindolanda Trust. 

Jonathan Douglas CBE (Theology, St Chad’s College, 1988-91), CEO of the National Literacy Trust, will sit on a judging panel for ‘Wicked Writers: Be The Change’ competition alongside best-selling children’s author Sharna Jackson, Wicked star and former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry and Executive Producer of Wicked in the UK, Michael McCabe. 

Grace Gilbert (Education, Hatfield College, 2011-14) will be rowing across the Atlantic in December 2023 as part of female trio ‘Vibe the Wave’. While Grace has no prior rowing experience, she has plenty of enthusiasm, drive, determination and resilience and will be fundraising for The John Radcliffe Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

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St Cuthbert’s Society 
Cuth’s Week took place from Monday 12 – Saturday 17 June, beginning with the annual student art competition. This was followed by an informal wine and beer tasting on Tuesday, hosted by the SCR. Next was a Sports and Soc Formal, with the awarding of honours, and half and full colours to members. Thursday saw a visit to Lindisfarne, where St Cuthbert lived, worked and died. The week concluded in the traditional manner with Cuth’s Day in House 12 garden with a Wild West Rodeo theme. 
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St John’s College
Following the announcement of the appointment of Professor Jolyon Mitchell as new College Principal in last month’s Newswire, St John’s is delighted with the news that the Warden of Cranmer Hall, Revd Canon Dr Philip Plyming, has been appointed as the new Dean of Durham Cathedral. This is an exciting new phase for both Philip and the Cathedral and strengthens the already strong partnership St John’s holds with the Cathedral. 
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Ustinov College 

Mid-June at Ustinov saw our GCR Summer Ball at Beamish Hall, as well as our Annual Conference with several keynote speakers and postgraduate presenters. Our Annual Art Exhibition launched closely after, with a reception and tour of the art by Redcar based artist Wendy Lowrey. The exhibition runs until Friday 21 July.  

Early July was the turn of our signature Ustinov Day featuring fairground rides, a bouncy castle, live music and more to mark the summer holidays. 

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Van Mildert College 

Van Mildert alumni gathered in London in May for a ‘call my bluff’-style wine tasting. Participants tasted five wines from various countries, varieties, vintages and price points.  

A panel of experts comprising Martin Gamman (Zoology, 1981-84) from Joseph Perrier Champagne, Abigail Bennington (Combined Social Sciences, 1995-98) independent wines and spirits educator, and current Van Mildert student William Doble-Thompson each gave tasting notes, but only one was telling the truth!  

Participants voted for who they thought was truthfully describing the wine, with Chris Halliburton (1967-70) crowned overall winner. 

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Departments and Societies
Department of Classics and Ancient History: Royal honour for academic

Congratulations to Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, our Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History, who has been made an MBE by King Charles III for Services to Education. 

The honour, awarded in the King’s 2023 Birthday Honours, recognises Dr Holmes-Henderson’s work to make Classics more widely available in schools and helping young people develop their communications skills. 

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Department of English Studies: New scholarship launched by alumnus Jeremy Vine 

A new English literature scholarship will launch this autumn to support undergraduate UK students of Black heritage at Durham, with applicants eligible to apply for the 2024/25 academic year. 

We’re delighted that this scholarship has been made possible by Durham alumnus, UK journalist and broadcaster Jeremy Vine (English, Hatfield College, 1983-86; Honorary Doctorate, 2012), who has generously donated £120,000. 

Pictured: Jeremy Vine (centre) with undergraduates Tessy Osagie-Iroguehi (left) and Sharon Behane (right) on Elvet Bridge, Durham. 

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Department of History: Ukrainian Talk Series draws to a close

June’s Newswire featured the closing talk in the Ukrainian Talk Series for the 2022/23 academic year.  

Hosted by Dr Markian Prokopovych, Associate Professor at the Department of History, the discussion focused on the geo-security dimensions of the war in Ukraine. We were delighted to welcome panellists Bob Jensen and Mark Pfeifle, US security experts with significant governmental and crisis communications experience between them. 

Pictured (left to right): Prof Anoush Ehteshami, Bob Jensen, Dr Markian Prokopovych, Dr Igor Kotsiuba and Mark Pfeifle. 

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Department of Theology & Religion: Leading Catholic figure visits Durham
Sister Nathalie Becquart, a leading figure in the Catholic Church, was welcomed to Durham last month to deliver the Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture 2023. She also opened a ground-breaking research symposium concerning what the Catholic Church can learn from six major Protestant traditions. 
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Durham Energy Institute: New funding for AI research 
Researchers at Durham Energy Institute have been awarded £1.84m to lead a consortium of university and industry partners in developing virtual power plant technologies. The funding is part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) £13 million investment to fund 13 projects to help the UK meet its Net Zero targets. 
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Durham Law School: Introduction to Law at St Bede’s School 
In June, Durham Law School and Slaughter & May delivered an ‘Introduction to Law’ workshop to pupils at St Bede’s School, Peterlee. Pupils participated in a sample lecture and negotiation exercise, and heard from current undergraduates about law student life.  
“Being able to see both the lawyers from Slaughter & May and the current undergraduates gave the students a great sense of the pathways they might take to a legal career”. 
- St Bede’s School teacher 
Careers & Enterprise Service: AGCAS Award for Careers Adviser 

Careers Adviser Stephen Nash has won the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) John Roberts Memorial Award 2023. 

Stephen is delighted with his achievement, which is awarded to the best student on the CEIGHE Postgraduate Diploma course. He is looking forward to putting his learning in to practice in his role, to the benefit of current students seeking career advice and direction. 

Pictured (left to right): Stephen Nash with Simon Brandwood (Director of Careers & Enterprise) 

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Durham University Volunteering & Outreach: CSR Excellence Award 

The University’s Volunteering & Outreach team (DUVO) has won a prestigious International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Excellence Gold Award.  

This accolade highlights the success of DUVO’s work and Durham’s commitment towards volunteering and community outreach. The team has won a number of awards in recent years, including the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020. 

Pictured (left to right): Stacy Porter and Jackie Lowes from the Volunteering & Outreach team 

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Gifts from Durham University Retail Office  
Here at the Retail Office, we strive to provide staff, students and alumni with the best possible merchandise, to commemorate their time here at Durham. With stock ranging from stationery and jewellery to clothing and glassware, there is sure to be something that will take your fancy.
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Newswire is compiled and produced by Lucian Hudson, Tristan Alltimes, Debbie Mayne, Jo Coombs, and Hamish Lehan, along with colleagues across the University and our alumni community.
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