Speech — Vice-Chancellor’s Awards: Welcome Remarks, 11 November 2019

Colleagues and ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all to this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards.

One of the pleasures in a VC’s job is to help celebrate the amazing achievements of our staff from across our University community.

The finalists this evening are all outstanding examples of the University’s commitment to the highest standards in teaching, research and student experience. All of our finalists should be immensely proud of the part they’ve played in Surrey’s success and its remarkable and growing reputation. They have demonstrated to Surrey and to the world how to value collaboration, share ideas and build bridges.  Their energy and passion enrich the lives of others, and create a better university and a stronger society.

These are the people who help make Surrey a place where the best and brightest young people want to continue their personal and academic journey. This is reflected in our TEF Gold award and in our continued high performance internationally, for example in the recent THE University Impact Rankings and the ARWU subject tables.

We also see it in our Guardian University Award for student experience, and our third consecutive RoSPA Gold award for excellence in Health and Safety.

In fact, I am very pleased that Health & Safety is a new category this year at the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards. This recognition is well-deserved: we talk about changing lives here at Surrey – and we safeguard them, too. The care for our staff and students is at the centre of our work every day, and provides the solid foundation upon which we all build our individual stories. 

What does excellence really mean in our day-to-day work and life here?  It means going above and beyond what is ‘good enough’ and inspiring others, by our example, to be their best. It reminds me of the famous quote by Henry Ford: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.’

Tonight, we celebrate people who think they can.

So, on behalf of the entire University of Surrey community, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for your great contributions that make our growth and excellence possible.

I am proud of your individual achievements and of our collective successes, and it gives me great pleasure to congratulate all of our finalists and winners. I hope you have a fabulous evening.

Thank you.