University visit schedule
Bill is based in Norfolk, and due to his commitments as a writer and as President of the CPRE, spends a lot of time in London and overseas. Despite all these demands on his time, during his time as Chancellor he tried to visit Durham at least four times as year. He got involved with a huge range of diverse activities and events and always valued the chance to meet the University's students and staff. He also took part in various community led events and in 2009 was the first American to be made an honorary freeman of the City of Durham.
19th October 2010
Bill interrupted his US book tour to fly back to Durham and take part in "Seeing Further" an event organised by the Institute of Advanced Study and the Royal Society. He joined the President of the Royal Society, Lord Martin Rees, biographer Richard Holmes and science writers Georgina Ferry and Philip Ball for a lively and entertaining discussion about the magic of science. The event was hosted by the Gala Theare and was part of Durham Book Festival.
June 28th to July 4th 2010
Bill was in Durham to carry out his duties as Chancellor - over the course of the week he shook hands with over 3,500 new graduates, made speeches during 14 ceremonies and had his photograph taken with hundreds of students and their families on Palace Green.
On Monday 28th June, he was joined by the Vice-Chancellor, Natalie Crisp (president 2009-10) and other representatives from the University to carry out the official opening of Durham Johnston School.
Bill also attended the Vice-Chancellor's garden party; visited the Oriental Museum's Golden Jubilee exhibition and attended the Honorary Graduates and Graduate School dinners.
At the beginning of March, Bill spent a week in Durham - he attended the Celebrating Excellence Dinner; the launch of the Bio-diversity project at the Botanic Garden; the oSCArs ceremony; the Graduate Society Researchers' Poster competition and the Queen's Campus University Challenge event. He was also interviewed by the editor of Palatinate to mark the fact that 2010 is his fifth anniversary as Chancellor.
Bill attended the Treasures of Durham exhibition at the Wolfson Exhibition Hall, in Palace Green Library. In addition to featuring inspiring and diverse exhibits from the University's museum collections, the "Treasures" was the first opportunity for visitors to see Durham's very own copy of Shakespeare's First Folio and to hear the remarkable story of its theft and recovery. He presided over four congregation ceremonies and at the invitation of David Milliband , provided a guest lecture at Harton Technology College, South Shields followed by fish and chips!
June & July 2011
On 3rd June 2011 Bill hosted an acting workshop for members of Durham Student Theatre (DST) led by Russell Crowe. This remarkable event came about after the Hollywood star contacted Bill on Twitter to arrange an event for aspiring student actors at Durham. Attracting international media attention, Bill described the masterclass as "a dream", adding "he [Russell Crowe] has found space in his life to do this, and not just to do it but to do it so well. It was an absolute inspiration to the students."
From 27th June to 1st July, Bill attended 14 Congregation ceremonies - once again having his photograph taken with hundreds of students and their families. Honorary degrees were awarded to five distinguished individuals, including Social reforming politician and pioneering landscape architect Donald Poon-huai Liao, North-East historian Professor Keith Wrightson and Controller of the Royal Navy, Rear Admiral Amjad Mazhar Hussain. Degrees were also awarded to the eminent Catholic theologian Professor Nicholas Lash and retired Durham University employee and "college mum" Carol Carr.
Bill joined Durham's alumni community for the Annual Palatinate Ball at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.