Notes from the Chancellor
When you get past a certain age in life, birthdays and anniversaries are something that it's all too easy to ignore. But as I reach my third year as Chancellor of this wonderful little place called Durham, I find myself not only looking back with the fondest of memories, but, rather courageously I might suggest, looking forward.
I must admit, I feared that immersing myself in such a vibrant community of energetic, ambitious and gracious young people might make me feel like the old, travel-weary (and yet ruggedly handsome) guy that I occasionally catch a glimpse of in the mirror in the morning. To find myself feeling exactly the opposite is therefore a welcome surprise, albeit a crushing blow for my vanity.
But apart from the throngs of brilliant and beautiful young students that I have had the great pleasure to meet in the years that have passed by since my installation, I find myself being just as inspired, invigorated and humbled by some of the older, and uncongenially attractive University members I have met along the way - the research fellows, academic, administrative and domestic staff and, of course, our remarkable coalition of graduates that adorn themselves with alluring Latin nomenclature.
I've had the privilege to have met many of you - not just at University-related events but in all walks of life - in industry, media, the arts and politics; on trains, planes and tubes; throughout the UK and far beyond. I know too that many of you have opened doors for Durham, created windows in busy schedules to help our latest generation of graduates, or given something back to keep a roof over the heads of your successors or provide a cornerstone for the University's ambitious development.
In times of economic change and a shifting political landscape, there are few commodities that retain market value without continued investment and I believe the same applies to your Durham degree. Working together to keep Durham's stock high can only pay dividends for us all.
This issue of Durham First looks, for the first time, at the challenge facing institutions like Durham which are part of an increasingly competitive and commercial global education marketplace. With government funding now accounting for around 33% of Durham's operating income and the competition and criteria for all funding providing difficult terrain - the future direction of our beloved community is in our hands.