On parade

The University of Bath alumni blog

Posts By: Rachel Skerry

Getting Connected in Hong Kong

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📥  Get Connected, International, Uncategorized

Alumni panel - Get Connected Hong Kong

Alumni panel - Get Connected Hong Kong

This was a week of firsts, from my first landing at Hong Kong Airport in a Level 8 typhoon to my first Thai iced tea (somewhere between an iced coffee and pumpkin juice).

The purpose of this trip was to bring a new offering to our graduates living and working here. My mission? To deliver Hong Kong’s first ever Get Connected event. From Bath to London to New York, we have had great success with these alumni networking evenings, but now it was time to look even further.

With some 1500 Bath alumni living and working in the city, we have a wonderfully strong and enthusiastic community here in Hong Kong with a great breadth of experience and sector knowledge. Despite being some 6,000 miles from Bath, there is a real sense of family amongst out graduates here and this is what it’s all about. The Get Connected events are about making the network ‘work’; utilising the alumni ‘family’ to learn and get ahead and I was really excited to help them do this.

So on Tuesday, with the Typhoon disappearing north and the normal humidity returning to the air, I head over to Exchange Square, the illustrious home of the city’s Stock Exchange, where we are lucky enough to be using the auditorium for our panel discussion. As guests and alumni panel members start to arrive I’m told by many that being allowed inside this building is an experience in itself, adding a great buzz to the atmosphere! This alone goes to shows the power of the Bath community, having been offered this amazing venue by one of our Honorary Graduates in Hong Kong, Sir CK Chow.

The panel seated on the stage is made up of five graduates, all of whom are incredibly successful in their respective fields. Each was kind enough to give up their evening to share their professional experiences and insights and they didn’t disappoint. With 40 eager faces in the crowd we kicked off the discussion, hearing from each panellist in turn as they imparted the best and, indeed, worst points of their careers and their sound advice for starting out and progressing in the world of work.

The audience was a great mix of graduates from across the years (including a 1970’s engineer!) and I was really pleased to see a number of our third year placement students in the crowd as well. Questions from the floor were plentiful and judging by the unwillingness of people to go home, I think it’s fair to say that a huge amount was gained by all.

In true Hong Kong style, business cards were swapping hands left right and centre, then it was back out into the bustling metropolis to fight off the humidity on the journey home. I have a feeling that this Get Connected Hong Kong will be the first of many.

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the help and enthusiasm of Chapter President, Vivian Ching,

Get Connected Hong Kong

Get Connected Hong Kong

and our fantastic Chapter Committee and, of course, our panel members: Mickey Ko, Martin Cerullo, Andy Li and Susan Khua.  I’d like to thank them all again for their support.


Update from Hong Kong


📥  International

Find out what happened when alumna Vivian Ching (MSc Management) met with the Foreign Office Minister in Hong Kong

Vivian Ching (middle row, second from left) with the panellists who met with Mark Field, the UK Minister for Asia

On 24 August 2017 I was honoured to have been invited by the British Council to an Exclusive Roundtable Discussion with Rt Hon Mark Field, who is a UK Member of Parliament for London and Westminster, and also the Minister of State for Asia Pacific.

Field was in Hong Kong for a few days, and he was interested to learn more about the prevailing attitudes and opinions of young people in Hong Kong. As one out of ten young emerging leaders from a wide range of industries selected to join the panel, the event offered a unique opportunity for us to share our thoughts with Field with regards to building improved UK foreign policies that benefit the future of Hong Kong.

The roundtable touched on a wide array of social, economic and political issues. We discussed how young people in Hong Kong tend to perceive themselves in relation to China and the world, shared our opinions on the impact of economic integration with mainland China, as well as Hong Kong’s status as China’s “world city.”

Given the diversity of the panellists at the event, we also shared our views on how our respective education has helped shape who we are today, and what can be done to improve the current education system in Hong Kong. This topic actually triggered a deeper discussion on the importance of nurturing creativity among the younger generation.

As a doctoral degree holder, a business professional working at a Global Fortune 500 company as well as an artist, I talked about my experiences as an example of the benefits that Hong Kong students can gain from a more diverse curriculum that promotes innovation and experimentation beyond traditional career paths.

Overall, the roundtable was a success and we were able to openly exchange ideas with Field, as well as other British Consulate General and British Council staff who were also present at the meeting. Even though all panellists had come from differing backgrounds and specialties, the majority of our opinions were actually on a similar page, which was a fascinating finding to all those who were present at the event.

It will be interesting to see how our ideas can be integrated into existing foreign policies, and I very much look forward to new opportunities to contribute more towards enhanced dialogue between Hong Kong and the UK in the future.



From Claverton Down to Silicon Valley

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📥  Uncategorized

Alumnus Amit Kothari is the CEO of a business process automation software startup called Tallyfy. This is a story of how he got there, starting with his wonderful years at University of Bath.

Life as a student

My start at the University of Bath – in the year 2000, was ridiculously mad and exciting.

I missed the entire dot-com-boom-and-bust. Social networks were huge at the time, and I hadn’t even heard of business process automation. I had wonderful housemates – we lived in Eastwood 44 on campus – which must have changed a lot now.

Freshers week was a blur, and all I remember is destroying a perfectly good bowtie and tuxedo in that first week, and 'Game On' nights on campus. It was truly awash with glittering eyes that (like me) - realised “I’m at university now!”

One of my housemates set up the kickboxing club as a university society, and despite my frame, I joined. I set up the creative writing society. Let’s say the two didn’t really mix. That’s when I got my first taste of “setting my own thing up.”

People don’t realise, but it only takes a bit of personal pride in something you created which other people also want to be part of, to smell the coffee and go on adventures that can lead anywhere. A university society is one of those things.

The societies that were more fun to talk about went on big benders in the beginning. The picture below is from an “initiation” in 2001 for the kickboxing club.

Personal photo shared by Amit Kothari, taken in 2001. Amit is the one with a white and yellow jacket on, he is on the far left with his back to the camera

Personal photo shared by Amit Kothari, taken in 2001

I really feel for the non-university residents of Bath - they had to put up with our madness and energy. It often ended up at The Huntsman, which if I remember - was open late. Or some club - wandering around and crashing into mirrors. Then clambering into whatever vehicle looked orange and large - back up that hill and into bed. Daytime was no better. I hope nobody is still putting washing-up liquid into the fountain at Laura Place?!

All this aside (which is more a rite-of-passage I guess!) - I had an absolutely tremendous time at Bath. I took a year off in my degree - and eventually made it to the Abbey for graduation, a proud moment. I’ll be honest and tell you that I felt very uncertain at graduation. The “structure” of the past was being left behind - with the Big Wild West ahead.

Life after Bath: Workflows and Process Automation

What ensued over the next 15 years was a life worth living (at work) - and it kept me glued to a mission of growing and scaling my own business in the area of workflow management and process automation.

I spent my first two years after graduation at a large consultancy firm. I realised quickly that what people called a “career” in some firms is really just a lock-in to maximise revenue from selling young people at a large daily rate and then slowly increasing their salaries to make them feel like they’re making progress.

I guess I was trying to fit into a hole that wasn’t for me - but I wasn’t cynical. I have progressed from being a rebel-without-a-cause to a balding 35 year old who knows when to feel, when to think and when to act. In my focus area - business process automation - experience is mandatory.

I didn’t enjoy shuttling around various hotels and cities doing anonymous things I didn’t really care about. I left that first role, and then joined a very small firm in London that was thinking about the future of collaboration software in large companies. Facebook was just taking off in general in the consumer world, so this was fairly cutting edge.

I was there for six years, and it was awesome. I learned a lot, and met some of the edgiest minds in collaboration and workflow automation. I launched my first startup, which failed. I learned one specific thing - don’t change a formula that’s already working just because “it might scale.” Get in touch if you’d like details.

My second startup also failed, but I really put myself on the line on that one. I learned about product/market fit and moved up the learning curve.

Startup Success with Business Process Automation

In 2014, my wife and I pitched an idea to Startup Chile - which funds any scalable idea with equity-free grants. The catch? You have to move to beautiful Santiago, Chile for at least six months. My wife and I left London, but there was still no company. Tallyfy had not yet been born.

After some experimentation, we realised that some large forces were at play that we could easily ride for natural momentum in Tallyfy:

  • Businesses can only scale through repeatable workflows. Such repeatable workflows are not the same as a project, or a to-do - which are one-off (not repeatable).
  • A repeatable workflow is mostly locked into a document or flowchart - you can’t track it, it’s hard to improve and nobody follows it. You especially can’t look at a flowchart on a phone - the screen’s too small.
  • You can’t improve a process unless you’re tracking it - because you have no data on who does what, how, when and how long it takes. You also can’t automate a process unless you track it.
  • The existing BPM/Business Process Management market is worth billions, but only sells to IT people - because ordinary business folk can’t make any sense of it.
  • If we could automate workflows and make business processes easy enough for anyone to create and track on the cloud, we could not only conquer new markets - but we could disrupt existing ones.
  • About five years ago, you had to be a coder to write integrations between apps. Nowadays, services let you create point-and-click integrations with no tech know-how. This means we don’t need to spend money building integrations.
  • People are just googling what they want and using apps. Nobody is asking IT anymore.
  • Customer-facing workflows are a massive opportunity to improve customer and client relationships - and yet nothing easy exists to help professional services firms with that.

After all the above - we pitched and won a $50k grant through Arch Grants in St. Louis, Missouri. We stayed within our mission - making business process automation easy. However, it took 6 months to get a US E2 work visa with their help. It was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me, hands-down. I’ve grown to love St. Louis and the US too.

In the last 15 months, I’ve gone through 500 Startups and Alchemist Accelerator - two of the top accelerators in the world - and I’ve probably pitched 150 angel investors and VC’s in Silicon Valley. We’ve raised around $1m in total funding, and we aim to stay in St. Louis.

Amit Kothari pitching at 500 Startups Demo day at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley

Amit Kothari pitching at 500 Startups Demo day at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is interesting. It’s expensive, everyone has a poker face - but mostly - there’s some really awesome people. I tried to oppose the opinion that everyone feels like you have to move there if you want to be successful, smart and clever. You don’t.

I’ve learned that you really shouldn’t try to raise money in Silicon Valley (as an outsider) until you’ve got your business well off the ground and can show solid traction with a repeatable sales or growth model. I hope that advice helps a Bath alumni!

Anyway - Tallyfy is not going to end. It just began! If you run a business and are interested in automating your business processes - give it a try.

How a Computer Science degree at Bath equipped me for success in the process management industry

We learned hard principles in our degree around multi-agent systems, fundamental principles in algorithms and algebra enabled me to appreciate whatever came next. Part of the challenge with business process automation is fundamental problems in integration, data modelling and data cleansing/mapping between systems.

The hot topic at present is deep learning and recurrent neural networks. We want to use them to predict workflow delays and failures before they occur. We are exploring deep learning at Tallyfy - which would be impossible to really understand - without my degree from Bath.

Personal photo in Bath - Amit Kothari, 2012

Personal photo in Bath - Amit Kothari, 2012, graduated from Bath with a Computer Science (BSc) degree in 2004


University Council: update from your alumni rep

📥  Uncategorized

Christine_GibbonsChristine Gibbons (BPharm Pharmacy 1978) is the Convocation Representative to University Council, elected by the alumni community to represent graduates. She’s kindly agreed to blog for us – here’s her first bulletin from the Council meeting in May 2017.

May's Council meeting covered a range of topics.

League Table success

I was delighted to hear how well our university is performing in the League Tables.

We have been ranked 5th in the Guardian University Guide (up from 10th last year). Subjects in the top 10 include Psychology, Architecture, Business & Management Studies, Social Policy, all engineering subjects, Sociology, Sports Science, Social Work and Economics.

We’re 11th out of 129 UK universities in the Complete University Guide 2018, and we remain the top ranked university in South West. Bath also performed well again in the subject tables, with 19 of its disciplines ranked in the top 10 in the UK.

According to the QS World University rankings, six of our subjects are in the world’s top 100 – Architecture and the Built Environment, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Social Policy, Business & Management Studies, Development Studies and sports-related subjects.

It fills me with immense pride to see the great strides Bath continues to make, at home and overseas. I hope you share this feeling too!

New University buildings

Those of you who, like me, returned to Bath in May for the brilliant University Festival and 50th Reunion, will undoubtedly have spotted the many cranes and diggers dotted around campus.

Along with ongoing construction work for the Milner Centre for Evolution, foundations are being dug for the new Polden Residences (our purpose built postgraduate accommodation). The University is also upgrading other accommodation blocks to ensure students continue to enjoy a high standard of accommodation.

Architects have also been chosen to design the new School of Management building, at the East end of campus….exciting times ahead!

And beyond campus, for those of you who remember the police station in Manvers Street, it’s now reopened as the Virgil Building. Purchased by the University and refurbished to provide excellent study facilities for students, it’s very impressive and is already well used, as I saw when I visited.

The Higher Education and Research bill

This became an Act in April 2017, which will mean changes to regulation and funding.

There will be a new regulator and funding council for universities – the Office for Students (OfS). This will have statutory responsibility for quality and standards, approving new entrants to the sector and also awarding university title and degrees.

The OfS will make arrangements for assessing the quality of teaching through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and, after 2020, tuition fees may be linked to results in TEF.

Universities will be required to publish information on the fairness of their admissions and also information that could be considered ‘helpful to international students’. OfS will also have powers in relation to monitoring the financial sustainability of providers.

The seven research councils, Innovate UK and the research functions of HEFCE will be brought under UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). A new body, Research England, will be responsible for quality-related research funding.

And finally…

The University has made a significant addition to its senior management team by appointing our Dean of the School of Management, Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, as Vice-President.

Professor Hope-Hailey will have responsibility for championing and enhancing the University’s engagement with large scale organisations and corporations, both private and public. She will focus on identifying and creating opportunities to deepen our existing relationships and develop new partnerships nationally and internationally.


Happy Birthday Bath!

📥  Uncategorized

Thanks to our alumni who sent their best wishes to the University for our birthday on Tuesday. Here are some of your messages. Don't forget you can also wish us Happy Birthday via twitter.


Thank you very much for reminding me of the Bath University 50th year Birthday.
Happy birthday to Bath Uni.! !
Just visiting the Bath Facebook, wishing you all the wonderful birthday.

With best wishes,

Kaori Hara
Tokyo, Japan


My warm greetings from Brisbane where I am for a visit. Since I left Bath many things have changed in my life I have a good career as humanitarian and soon I am having a family. I thank you for your continuous updates and for keeping me close to my cherished University. I am happy to hear the good news from Bath. For this special day I am proud to be part of the big family of University of Bath. I wish you a happy and fabulous anniversary to all of you and long life to our University. Let keep grow more and spread our wings across the world. Happy 50 anniversary to Bath.

Kenny Theophile Nkundwa


birthday card

A Pea Birthday!

A Pea Birthday!
Thank you for the messages. Sorry we cannot be there.
Have a great day and evening!
Malcolm + Donna Hecks


Thank you very much for sending this email to me. I am so glad today is our university's birthday. I want to say "Happy birthday to my dear BATH" sincerely. The study time in BATH is so wonderful. Thank you very much my dear BATH and have a good day.

Qiulu Ding
From Shanghai. China


May the university continue to achieve further progress in all its objectives to benefit the community, the society and the world.
God bless,



I have had the great pleasure of being associated with the University from its very earliest years, prior to the award of its Royal Charter and since. I wish to record my sincerest appreciation of the professional support and guidance given to me during my full-time secondment from Avon County Council in 1987, and later following early retirement, leading to the Degree of MPhil (Education).

During my Further Education lecturing career over 25 years, the University regularly hosted students from my Business Studies Department, and several went on to be appointed to posts within the University. This was one of the first Work Experience Schemes (1964) in the region for FE students, and I was always impressed by the great support the College received from the University staff. The College reciprocated by hosting students from the University for Teaching Practice.

As the nominee of the Bristol and West of England Branch of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and the Secretary of State for Education, I served as a Professional Business Member on the City of Bath Further Education Corporation for 13 years from 1988, Vice Chair for the final 3 years. I am particularly pleased to record that throughout these years, and since, the College and the University have developed very close professional links.

I am very proud to have been associated with the University over all these years. BATH IS NOW ONE OF THE TOP BRITISH UNIVERSITIES!! WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT!! VERY WELL DONE TO ALL OF YOU!!!!

Stan Nicholls
MPhil (Education) ACIS


Many congratulations on 50 years of contribution to learning and development! Loved my years at Bath (1972-1976 Pharmacology) – will always hold such a special place in my heart. So sorry to miss this wonderful celebration and look forward to revisiting next year when we return to UK for a sojourn.
Would love to connect with other graduates from Pharmacology 1976 – Carol Waring, Ann Brown, Dave Parkinson, Mike Tomkins. Are you out there?

Dr Christine A Phillips
Gold Coast Australia


Happy birthday to dear BATH!

Crystal Feng


At my instigation and with local coordination by Tom Longridge (as I live in Fleet, Hampshire) there have been two sessions of bell ringing today to mark the University's anniversary.

First, 10 of us (some with a university connection) rang for 15 minutes after the celebratory event in the Abbey.

This evening, eight of us - all with University connections - rang a quarter peal. That was 1250 changes taking 45 minutes.

The full details are available through the following links to the ringing website, BellBoard.



You are welcome to share this with the University organisation more widely if you wish.

James White
Mathematics BSc. 1990


Happy Birthday!

Lester Ferguson
NSW, Australia


A great milestone for the University and the Bath Community. As an early student (and I well remember the wonderful ceremony in Bath Abbey) I wish all the present and past community of students, Alumni and wider community a truly memorable celebration and wish I could be with you. It is very pleasing to see how the university has prospered and grown in stature since its inception when we had only one building on the site and all lived in digs around the town sometimes to the consternation of the locals. Have a great time.

Best wishes,
Angela (Bailey) Delves
NSW, Australia


Congratulate you on the 50th anniversary! I am proud I have graduated from this University.

I wish you prosperity and success!

Evgenia Belova


Congratulations to everyone on our 50th Anniversary. As a student during the 10th Anniversary my memories are still very strong of wonderful times there and learning then that still helps me now.

Roy Kirkby


I remember well the day I was offered a place in 1967 and the following Sunday took my wife and children to visit the Campus

It consisted in those days of a singular square block that eventually became the Biology faculty.

Walking around it there was not much to see or say, but my wife commented on an attractive plant in one of the windows.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history!

Ken Riley
Sociology, Class of 71


Thank you for sharing this celebration.
As a graduate of the Bath University Masters Degree in Construction Management 1999 (Distance Learning + two Residential Schools) I am excited to share in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the University. Especially so as we here in Barbados will celebrate our 50th Anniversary as an Independent Nation on November 30 this year. I join Adminstrators, Faculty, Students, Alumini, Donors and Friends of Bath University in celebrating the growth and excellence of this great University and am very happy that I was fortunate to be part of that experience. I look forward to continued participation in whatever small way in the life of this great institution of learning accessible to the whole world. The greetings in many languages across the world attest to the reach of your teaching and learning. I am very proud to be a part of it. Congratulations.

Erskine Thompson


With best wishes for a wonderful day.

Sorry I couldn’t make it as it’s also the 50th anniversary of my graduation.
Peter Jones


From small beginnings look at the Uni now! I'm so glad I went to Bath Uni! Those many years ago.

Brock Hoaran


My hearty best wishes to Bath and all on its 50th!!!

Have a great day and I trust the reception is lots of fun.

Peter W Marshall, Eco & Pol 1982


I feel deeply identified with this transcendental date of the anniversary of my University.

My best wishes for the professors, lecturers, researchers, administrative personnel, students and the whole community of Bath University, specially for the Masters course on International relations and Development Studies (then) .

Maria Gutierrez, Peru


Happy Birthday
I well remember 50 years ago as it was then that I was one of the very first batch of students to graduate from Bath University as it had just become. Of course, as the Engineering department was still in Ashley Down in Bristol the only time I visited the University Campus was for an end of course dinner. The graduation ceremony took place in the Assembly Rooms in Bath.
Happy Birthday again.
David G Rosser, BSc Bath 1966


Happy Birthday! 🙂

Hope it went well today (and goes well this evening) - I've been thinking of you all!

I think a great big celebratory cake is in order from the winner of the bake off sweepstake!



Thank you for the invitation and information. It would have been nice to attend the celebrations but it's a bit far for me to come.

The university seems to have changed enormously since the first generations of students (that includes me) were there. I remember the lake with lots of space around it (fortunately I was never enrolled for a dunking, that activity was the province of the more harum-scarum elements), and the refectory in which I worked for a while "polishing the silver" as the forewoman called it (most people would have said drying the cutlery).

But it's still the same chug up that hill. I used to walk from my various digs in town (Audley Park amongst others) to the university and back, to save busfare. It was beautiful and I daresay it still is, but I wonder if anybody does that any more.

Are the terraces there still? I was in Conygre Terrace and thought it was great!

All the best for the next 50 years.

Shirley Boss


It has been 21 years since finishing my MSc in IEM at Bath. It gives me great pleasure being able to join remotely with all of you in celebrating the 50th Birthday of Bath University. I am happy that Bath University has been making steady progress as a world renowned higher learning institute. I wish Bath University a wonderful 50th Birthday.

M W Leelaratne, Nugegoda


My name is Tianxiang Zhang who graduated from University of Bath in 2015. I send this mail for sharing my wishes to my loved university.

"Happy Birthday, University of Bath. I wish more and more young students enjoy their lives and studies in the perfect environment you provides. And also, I wish University of Bath can get better achievements on academic researches."

Kind Regards,
Tianxiang Zhang

Fabulous celebration of the first 50 Years for University of Bath, in the Abbey, with super speeches, marvellous music, astonishing a Capella, diverting dance and fantastic films featuring students, alumni, staff, supporters and academics, all in a spectacular setting...

Barry Gilbertson


Thanks for keeping us informed. Let's have such birthdays celebrated also in our countries

Dr Desire M Sibanda


Happy Birthday Bath University!

The Rev.d Preb. Angela Berners-Wilson
Rector : Quantock Towers Benefice


Happy Anniversary !

Wish our university grow in prosperity rapidly, and all of U in Bath a wonderful night !

I am currently in China and work in PwC Shanghai Office. I'm wondering what would be like in the celebration at Bath Abbey ! 🙂

Best Regards,



Today on the 50th Birthday of University of Bath، a great university, and amongst "top 10" university within UK, I congratulate the faculty, students, staff and the leadership / management of the university, and wish all the best to this university for many successful years to come in education, research, including sports and other activities, and as one of the worlds top UK university.

I feel privileged to have been a Graduate student of this great university, and completed MSc in Electrical Power Systems in 2005.

With all the best wishes,

Noorali Amarsi


Happy birthday. I am so proud of being the student here.

Qu Nyi Zeng


Hiiiii My Bath Uni,

Happy birthday to you!!!!!!!!!
And really miss those precious time you gave me!!!!!!
Love u !
Please keep that lovely all the time and I'll be back one day!!!

With Best Regards
Chang Ding


Happy birthday to the best university in the world!

Happy birthday and thanks to all of you who work diligently to make the university of bath a better place for all!

Best wishes,


As one of the select band of students who were the first to go through in Bath I have many memories of my four years, including attending the service in the Abbey. I am still in touch with a number of those who were there with me and I still sometimes have work contacts with current staff at the University. It was an interesting experience with initially only about 200 students in Bath in the then preliminary building, but we had a fantastic vice-chancellor in George Moore, who was brilliant. My, how you have grown!

John Fawell, Applied Biology 1969


Happy 50th Birthday! It was my 56th yesterday #classof84

Paul Butler


Happy Birthday to the University of Bath: I suspect I am one of the few people remaining who was at the Bath University of Technology (as it was then) in the South Building of the Claverton Down site on that day 50 years ago!

Graham Stewart


This is great news! Happy Birthday, and congratulations for the 50 year anniversary! ^_^



Happy Birthday, and congratulations for the 50 year anniversary! ^_^

Po-Hsiang (2008/2009 Bath MBA) from Taiwan


Many congratulations and I am so sorry not to have been with you today

With warm regards
Sheila Hollins



Excellent!!! HBD to us all!!




Celebrating our 50th with alumni overseas

📥  Bath, International

I have been accompanying the Vice-Chancellor on a tour of Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore to celebrate our 50th anniversary year with alumni. And bumping into an international rugby star along the way...

Saturday 2 April - The tour begins

We spend a lot of time celebrating how international a university we are, and I'm often heard citing how great it is that we have 100,000 alumni in more than 150 countries, but as I looked at my schedule before leaving the house this Saturday morning, I did sort of wonder - 15,000 miles in five days!

The Vice-Chancellor and I are going to celebrate the University's 50th anniversary, with alumni events in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore, accompanied by a tag team of Events colleagues: Sarah in Dubai, and Laura in Hong Kong and Singapore - a big 'thank you' for all their help. Record crowds are expected in each venue.

Here's hoping for no delays, and luggage that stays with us all week - oh, and - channeling a previous correspondent - some decent coffee.

Saturday 2 April - Arrival in Dubai

A warm welcome was bound to await us as we arrived into Dubai at midnight, but I confess I was impressed with this set up in the hotel room - and it was edible too!

A warm welcome.

A warm welcome.

As for the Bath duck, was that genius irony, or does everyone get one? It's almost as though they have got their hands on our 50th memorabilia plans...

Dubai duck.

Dubai duck.

Saturday 2 April - Dubai event

One down, two to go. That went really well. A great spread of ages among the graduates, some locals, some expats, a warmly received speech from the Vice-Chancellor (and the technology worked - unlike during my rehearsal...) and we also launched our new Alumni Network here in UAE.

You can see more pictures of the event on our Flickr page.

Alumni event in Dubai

Our Dubai event

Monday 4 April - Celebrity spot

Sean Fitzpatrick, All Blacks legend, on the same plane. He's going to the Hong Kong Sevens; we're not. We shall be in Singapore by then.

As you might imagine, he was absolutely fascinated to hear how it's the Economics & Politics degree from Bath in 2003 that makes Steve Borthwick such an expert when it comes to cracking opposition line out codes. As a proud Scotsman it was difficult for me to wax lyrical about England's Rugby Union success in the 6 Nations, but a Bath graduate is a Bath graduate, and I'll take the opportunity to celebrate their achievements whenever and wherever (even at 39,000 feet above Chittagong if necessary).

Should have asked him what he thought about Luke Charteris (BSc Sport & Exercise Science 2005) touring New Zealand with the Lions next summer.

Neutral territory, the British & Irish Lions - not for "Fitzy" though!

Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick

 Tuesday 5 April - Arrival in Hong Kong

Got to the hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui a little before 11pm, a decent flight from Dubai. I can now understand why people have been telling me it's a good idea to break the long trip to the Far East with a stopover in the middle.

A great meeting with Dr Betty Chan (Honorary LLD 2015) among others today, then prepare for this evening's event.

130 alumni have registered for the reception, which could make it our largest ever alumni gathering in Hong Kong.

Lots of HK can make you feel that you're a long way from home, but then, en route from the MTR in Central, you realise in many ways it's just the same as Bristol really.

Harvey Nichols Hong Kong

Harvey Nichols

Except when you see the bamboo scaffolding...

Bamboo scaffolding

Bamboo scaffolding

Tuesday 5 April - Another successful event

Sir CK Chow (Honorary DEng 2001) is a great performer. To observe him working a room is to witness a master at work - definitely hope I can pick up some tips.

Cracking event tonight, fabulous location and venue, and a great crowd.

Another pair of excellent speeches, from the Vice-Chancellor and Sir CK. The biggest "ooh" definitely came for the pictures of student accommodation nowadays - I think we may have recruited quite a few postgrads just on the basis of wanting to return to campus and enjoy the modern comforts!

Student bedroom

Student bedroom

Student kitchen.

Student kitchen

Two events down, one more to go; both great successes. As Sir CK put it, if we have achieved this much in our first 50 years, just imagine what the next 50 could bring!

Off to Singapore at 8.30 in the morning, the penultimate (and shortest) flight.

Thursday 7 April - Arrive in Singapore 

The alumni tell us we need to improve our brand here in Singapore - don't tell the Director of Marketing & Comms. Perhaps we could amend our logo a little to pretend to be this one? I'm sure the United Overseas Bank wouldn't mind.

And I bet Martyn Whalley would love to have a crack at persuading the Bath planners that a neon logo on a 50 storey building would be just the ticket in our 50th Anniversary year!

United Overseas Bank logo

United Overseas Bank logo

Thursday 7 April - Singapore event

Here's the calm before the storm (a phrase you can say a lot in Singapore, although actually we haven't been caught in the rain yet).

The High Commissioner's residence

The High Commissioner's residence

That's the third and last event done - another success. Now there's just the small matter of 300+ follow up emails to send, conversations to pursue regarding placements, mentoring, donations, research partnerships, visits back to Bath, and everything else you try desperately to retain having had hundreds of conversations. Thank goodness for business cards and the visual cue they can give.

Only one fly in the ointment - the High Commissioner's visitors' book revealed that we somehow managed to let a Bristol graduate through the net! I'm all for GW4, but really, that's a bit much...

The visitor's book

The visitor's book

Fly home tonight, land at 5.10 tomorrow morning in Heathrow. I will be out training the U10 boys and girls rugby by 9.30 - looking forward to it. It's always good for the soul when the little terrors reveal quite how unimpressed they are by where you've been in the last week - puts it all into perspective.

A great trip, though, real enthusiasm for the University, for the roles that alumni can play to support us, excellent venues, record turnouts, money raised, and no technology hiccups.

My thanks to Laura Andrews and all the team back at the ranch in DDAR for helping to make it all look so easy - it's not, and the people who matter know how much work goes into it.

I'll shut up now - that's more than enough blogging from me...


Meeting Bath's finalist at the British Council International Alumni Awards

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📥  International

Dr Toby Jenkins, Erdem Aydin and Professor Tony James at the British Council International Alumni Awards 2016

Dr Toby Jenkins, Erdem Aydin and Professor Tony James at the British Council International Alumni Awards 2016

Dr Toby Jenkins and Professor Tony James have just returned from a whirlwind tour of Turkey, where they attended a Medical Biotechnology Workshop at at the TUSSIDE Conference Hall, TÜBİTAK Gebze Campus from 17-18 February 2016.

The workshop is part of the UK-Turkey year of Science and Innovation sponsored by the UK Science and Innovation Network and the British Council. The aim of the workshop was to build networks with the aim of applying for both Newton-Katip Celebi and Horizon 2020 funding.

Tony writes:

During our visit we attended the prestigious British Council International Alumni Awards Ceremony in Istanbul at the British Consulate. We had the pleasure to meet Erdem Aydin, a PoLIS alumnus and reporter on the International News Desk at CNN Turk, who was a finalist for the ‘Professional Achievement’ category.

Erdem was exceptionally positive about his time in Bath and grateful for the excellent support he received during his for his time in Bath. Toby - a keen cyclist - was happy to hear that one thing Erdem particularly missed from Bath was the cycle ride to the University. The traffic in Istanbul currently prevents him from cycling.

When we bumped into him he was busy getting updates about the then-breaking news about the Ankara bombing. He is a true professional reporter, more concerned about the news than worrying about the award ceremony.

While Erdem did not win the category, he is an exceptional alumnus who will continue to spread the good word about Bath as he excels in his journalistic career.


Let it snow!

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📥  Bath, On campus

One of the biggest up-sides of preparing for our fast-approaching 50th anniversary is looking at the collection of your photos from the 'old days' which you have kindly been sending in to us. We've been putting some of the best on our Flickr photostream - thank you for sharing your memories with us.

In a bid to get into the festive spirit early this year, we're looking for Christmassy photos from your time at Bath. Snowmen on the Parade, Christmas parties, you get the idea!

We will be creating an album on Flickr of your seasonal student snaps and, you never know, one of your photos might even make it on to our alumni Christmas card…

If you would like your photo to be included in our album, please send a scanned or digital image (as high-res as possible) to alumni@bath.ac.uk. Please include as much information as possible, including the year it was taken and anyone you can name in the picture.

University of Bath snowball fight on the Parade

Here’s a starter for ten. Can anyone name the three combatants?


Bath alumni meet up Down Under

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📥  International

On a Spring September evening in Melbourne, around 20 alumni gathered in a suitable watering hole to share memories of their time in Bath and stories of how they ended up in Australia. We were honoured to be joined by David Hancocks , the University of Bath’s ‘Graduate No. 1’, having been first up to collect his degree certificate for Architecture in 1966. David spent most of his working life in Seattle but is now in Melbourne and enjoying life in this thriving city, recently named named the world's most liveable city for the fourth year in a row.

The three Davids

The three Davids: David Chuter ((BEng Manufacturing Systems 1992), David Hancocks (BSc Architecture & Building Engineering 1966) and David Suder (MSc Industrial Systems 1992)

Many of the alumni came to our first gathering last year so it was great to catch up with each other, share stories of trips back to the UK and talk about the changes that people have seen in Bath on their recent visits. It was also fantastic to welcome new faces, some of whom were recent arrivals to Melbourne. Some were putting their degrees to good use whilst others had ended up in careers quite different to their studies. Everyone remembered their time at Bath very fondly and looked forward to their next visit.

Australians have developed a love of cider but we all agreed that it wasn’t quite the same as the scrumpy served in the Beehive - many were sad to hear that it’s no longer a pub. We look forward to catching up again next year!

Isobel Michael (BA MLES German & Russian 1991)


Behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider

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📥  Bath, International

As a Bath graduate based in Geneva, and the CEO of the world’s largest cancer NGO, the link between the University and CERN is for me, a compelling one. And one which, amazingly, came about due to a chance alumni connection.

In a nutshell, engineers from my old university are adapting technologies from the Large Hadron Collider to find ways to treat lung cancer tumours more effectively.

CERN group around collider

At the Large Hadron Collider

Dr Steve Hancock, who studied physics at Bath in 1980, had been working on 3D imaging technologies at CERN for over 20 years. He had the idea that the type of imaging used to examine tiny particles moving close to the speed of light could be beneficial in medical treatments too. So when he saw a tomography laboratory at the University mentioned in an alumni e-newsletter, he was inspired to get back in touch with Bath academics.

A year on and, alongside Dr Manuch Soleimani from the University’s Electrical Engineering Department, they secured £100,000 of funding from CERN to work together on the application of his technology. Lung cancer is particularly difficult to treat as the tumours move a lot within the body due to the motion of breathing. This makes it difficult for surgeons to remove all of the cancer without damaging healthy lung tissue. Bath and CERN’s technology should help surgeons to see the real time movement of cancer tumours in the body, and will hopefully one day translate into an affordable product that hospitals around the world can use. The project has the potential to impact the lives of thousands of cancer patients and is a great example of how blue skies research at CERN can turn up incredible and unexpected applications.

And where do I come in? I founded a Bath alumni group in Geneva a few years ago, because I wanted to help fellow graduates find their feet in the city, make friends and get on in their careers. We’re a mix of generations, working in all kinds of areas, from the UN and NGOs to pharmaceuticals and corporate finance. We try to meet up at least twice a year for drinks or dinner to share our experiences of working in Switzerland, have fun, and help each other in any ways that we can, such as passing on job opportunities.

To celebrate Bath’s new partnership (and the happy accident of our living in the city where the world’s most talked about science takes place right under our feet), the Alumni team at Bath arranged a special opportunity for our group to visit CERN in July.

Matthew Wilson, one of our newest members of the group, at CERN's Large Hadron Collider

Matthew Wilson, one of our newest members of the group, at the Large Hadron Collider

Our day began with a welcome from their ‘Head of Beams’, Paul Collier. Beams, we were to learn, are what they accelerate around the 27km long ring of tunnels which lie 150m below ground, before they collide in the Large Hadron Collider. While the beams are circling the ring it is the coldest place in the Universe, due to the liquid helium cooling the giant magnetic tubes, then the hottest place in the Universe when they collide, hotter than the centre of our sun! This was the first of many awe-inspiring facts and sights.

I was surprised to learn that CERN employs many more engineers than physicists - it is the engineers who designed and built CERN’s giant instruments. One point, particularly pertinent to a university like Bath, is that without the engineering and computing behind CERN, there would have been no Higgs Boson Particle, or World Wide Web (which was invented there).

The highlight of the day was descending down the lifts to see one of the Large Hadron Collider experiments, CMS. This was special access we’d only been granted because of Bath’s links to CERN, and it was a truly magnificent, Sci-Fi-esque vision. By this point the science had gone a little over our heads, with talk of quarks, laptons and fermions, but you couldn’t help but be impressed by the human achievement. When they conceived the idea of the Large Hadron Collider, the engineers and scientists hadn’t a clue how they would turn it into a reality, but through ingenuity and perseverance they succeeded.

This event was the first of its kind in for us in Geneva, and I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for us to gain such an amazing insight into the world of CERN. I look forward to seeing how Bath’s research project progresses and hope that this partnership will be the start of something remarkable.

Cary Adams (BSc Economics, Computing and Statistics 1985, MBA Business Administration 2002) is  Chief Executive of the Union for International Cancer Control and the leader of Bath’s alumni Chapter in Geneva.