A chance encounter in Singapore

Posted in: International

Our international network has grown beyond measure over the last few years. So whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, the chance of bumping into a fellow Bath graduate is growing. However, when our Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Gavin Maggs, hosted an alumni reception at Raffles Hotel, Singapore, and met three graduates who were, quite by chance, holidaying there at the time, he asked them to write a blog entry to share the coincidence with the alumni community.

Our thanks to Peter, Jane and Alan. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday.

There I was, relaxing in our hotel on our once-in-a-lifetime holiday in New Zealand, downloading email to check on my ageing father back home, when a message popped up about a University of Bath meeting in Raffles Hotel, Singapore.

"Now, if that had been when we are passing through on our way home," I said to my wife, "we could have gone."

"What date?" she asked.

We checked our schedule, and it was right in the middle of our three day stopover.  What a coincidence. So we went.

I graduated in 1973 in engineering, so I didn't think there would be much chance of meeting anyone from my year, let alone anyone I would remember. But there was another 1973 graduate there, also holidaying, and a group of 1974 engineering graduates. We must have crossed paths many times in the corridors of 4East, although we did not recall each other.

My wife feared a dry and stuffy talk, but not at all. Gavin Maggs, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, justifiably trumpeted the successes and current high regard that Bath enjoys; it was good when I was there, but it has achieved much greater standing since. And Professor Gareth Jones, our new Dyson Chair of Design Engineering, talked with enthusiasm and interest about innovation and its importance both in education and in industry with examples from his own background.

If you weren’t there, you missed a good evening.

Peter Fosker (BSc (Hons) Engineering 1973)

I left the Bath alumni reception at the Raffles Hotel full of good wine, great canapés and benevolent feelings for the University. I also had a homework assignment from Gavin Maggs, Director of Development & Alumni Relations: explain how I ended up at an alumni get-together in Singapore with my freshman roommate, Liz, from Bath, when I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

The story is simple.

Liz and I met in 1970 at Freshers’ weekend and shared a room for the winter term. She then left for another university while I stayed at Bath. We kept in touch, but met only very occasionally.

Liz’s eldest son now lives in Singapore, and as I wanted to travel in the Far East, I suggested that the next time she and her husband were visiting him we could meet up – unfortunately this never happened.

As I am a signed up University of Bath alumna, I get the emails, and one announced a get-together in Singapore while Liz and I would both be there. So I signed us up, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I made friends for life at Bath. It’s also where I met my husband. He and I were professionally successful because of our four degrees from Bath. I was lucky enough to have a Bath undergrad intern at my company for a summer. I also donate (modestly) to the scholarship program because I couldn’t have had the education I had without grants which are no longer available.

Professor Gareth Jones - the speaker at the alumni reception in Singapore - was great, and I am so glad that a technical university appreciates the power of the creative mind. I was married to an architect, and architects have always had to merge artistic creativity with a technical foundation.

Jane Morgan (BPharm (Hons) Pharmacy 1973 and PhD Pharmacy & Pharmacology 1978)

My youngest daughter, Ellie, lives in Australia and has recently started a new career teaching in Perth. I visited her in January and spent two wonderful months in Western Australia.  On my way back to the UK I spent two weeks in Phu Quoc - an unspoilt island off the south coast of Vietnam (look it up on Google!) - and then stopped over in Singapore before my return journey.

Whilst there, I went to Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar - a must on any tourist visit to Singapore. As I was sipping my cocktail I noticed a sign for a University of Bath Alumni reception in the East India rooms. I was an undergraduate on the social sciences degree course in 1976, so thought, ‘I'm in!’

And what a wonderful evening I had.

Gavin Maggs, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, gave a fascinating talk on how Bath has developed to become a leading University not just in the UK, but the world.

An equally inspiring talk followed, given by Professor Gareth Jones, Bath’s new Dyson Chair of Design Engineering, on innovation and the success the University has had in this respect.

How wonderful it was to feel such a connection after all these years, and to know how the University - which was only ten years old when I attended it - has prospered in the space of fifty years to become a world class university.

Good luck to all of you, particularly my classmates.

Alan Ormerod (BSc (Hons) Social Sciences 1979)

If you have any stories you would like to share with the alumni community, please email us at alumni@bath.ac.uk

Posted in: International


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