Speech — 1891 Society Lunch: Welcome Remarks, 30 November 2019

Good afternoon and welcome! Thank you for joining us today.

Here at Surrey – as at most institutions, large or small – we often try to capture our ‘brand’ in words and images. But really, it is our people who define who we are and build our reputation.  There’s an energy, momentum and ambition to Surrey these days, and our strength is in our people – from our successful alumni to our dedicated staff and talented students.

I feel very privileged to meet Surrey alumni across the world, who put excellence into practice in the most inspiring ways. In the past few months, I’ve been travelling in Hong Kong and mainland China, where Surrey hosted a graduation celebration in Shanghai.  I am constantly impressed by the fantastic contributions that our 120,000 alumni are making to society.  And I am proud that so many people feel such a warmth and connection to the University, and are so eager to support us.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your generous support and your invaluable encouragement.

It enables us to educate new generations of young people who will push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation even further. 

Your support has already helped us to build critical mass in research, and excel in innovations that will transform lives and change society for the better.

Your contributions are creating real opportunities for our students – from funding vital bursaries for professional training placements, to ensuring access to exceptional teaching facilities.

We are expanding into our role and making more and more impact as a world-leading institution.  We have so much to offer – from the research we are doing right now that provides solutions to some of society’s most challenging issues, to the students who will go out in a few short years to deliver and apply those solutions and lead the way to a brighter future.

We were very proud to be ranked number 100 in the recent Times Higher Education ‘World University Impact Rankings’, which assesses the impact universities have on society and community. This ranking is linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We were especially delighted to be number 9 in the world in the ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ category, recognising the contribution of our graduates to the workforce of the health professions.

By giving, you are helping to enrich the Surrey experience and to share the value and benefit of a world-leading education with ambitious, smart and motivated young people. Regardless of size, each and every one of these gifts has a far-reaching positive impact on university life. Each legacy makes a difference in changing lives.

As the university sector faces its toughest times yet in terms of funding, philanthropy is playing an even more important role in securing Surrey’s continued success. 

By working together, I am confident that the University of Surrey has a great future for another 50 years and beyond, both here in Guildford and across the globe.

Thank you.