I recently returned from Singapore and Malaysia as part of a delegation led by the Vice-Chancellor to discuss partnerships and collaborations with several universities and major corporations, and an important part of the trip was to meet our local alumni.
We held two receptions: the first in Singapore, at the Raffles Hotel, which gathered 70 Bath alumni and guests. This was the biggest alumni gathering we’ve ever had in Singapore, nearly one in five of all the graduates who live there came along. The Vice-Chancellor updated everyone on the successes of recent years, along with the capital investment on campus, and encouraged them to act as ambassadors for the University, stressing that our alumni are our best advocates.
It was particularly pleasing to be able to welcome alumni representatives from our newest university partnerships, Stellenbosch and Ohio State universities. Joany Mouton, a Stellenbosch alumna, wrote afterwards: “Thank you for the invitation. We had a wonderful evening getting to know more about Bath University and meeting your faculty members and alumni. The function was very well organized and we felt honored to attend. We are very happy and proud that Bath University picked Stellenbosch University to be their partner. I am sure this will be a very successful partnership.”
We then moved on to Kuala Lumpur where, again, our alumni reception was the largest ever in the country. Nearly 100 of our 1,400 graduates based in Malaysia came along to the JWMarriott Hotel, including Bath graduates who had completed the MBA in association with the Malaysian Institute of Management, a programme which ran for many years until 2000.
The President of the Malaysian Alumni Chapter, Professor Datuk Mohamed Salleh (PhD Biological Sciences,1980, Honorary DSc 2012) opened proceedings, welcoming the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the community, who then spoke about the University’s long relationship with the country. Students have come from Malaysia to study at Bath since the University received its Royal Charter in 1966, and today, almost 200 Malaysian students attend the University, making our links with Malaysia ever stronger.
We were delighted to be joined by representatives from the British High Commission, including one of our own, Nick Cain (MSc International Development 2005). Comments since the evening have included: “Thanks to the University's effort in doing this. This is the right thing to do to maintain the good name and reputation of the University, to increase the image profile of the alumni and the students. Looking forward for the next reception. Please keep in touch.”
“It was a very nice gathering. Active discussion, and I met my course mate after more than a decade - great reunion. I listened with interest to the development in University of Bath, how the University has grown and successful in many areas as shown by the continued high ranking. Thank you for organizing the gathering.”
Along with individual meetings outside the receptions, we got to meet nearly 200 graduates over the week, and it was clear to all of us that the University retains a special place in our graduates’ affections, that our recent successes bring them enormous pride, and that the graduate community act as ambassadors for the institution and also stand ready to greet visiting academic or fellow alumni travellers. All in all, the Bath network is strong and thriving in SE Asia.
Gavin Maggs is Director of Development & Alumni Relations at the University of Bath