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Durham First

News in brief

Introducing New Members of the Development & Alumni Relations Office

Astrid Alvarez

Astrid Alvarez - Alumni Relations Manager

Astrid is the most recent recruit to the team, having started her career at Durham University working for the International Boundaries Research Unit in the Geography Department. A Chartered Marketer with a background in events, communications and public relations, Astrid is keen to engage with the volunteer networks within and around the University to share good news stories about the achievements of Durham with its 90,000-strong alumni community.

Durham... First

I've always said that Durham alumni succeed disproportionately. Now we have evidence. Last December saw the publication of Who's Who 2009, the 165th annual edition of the essential directory of all persons noteworthy and influential. Twenty of the 845 new entries in this latest edition studied here at Durham, bringing the total number of distinguished Durham alumni to feature in Who's Who to 502 or 0.39 percent of our alumni base. With Oxford pipped at the post at 0.37 percent, and Cambridge, at 0.28 percent, left with some distance to make up, we await the 166th edition in buoyant mood...

Chris Higgins
(Dunelm '76)


Filmmaker gets top award

Durham academic and Filmmaker Richard Else, has received a prestigious Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture in recognition of a lifetime’s contribution to mountaineering and the mountain culture. Richard has combined programme-making with an academic career. He is currently a Professorial Fellow at St Chad’s College where he is involved in using the media to promote social justice, which includes working overseas with Traidcraft, with whom St Chad’s has a close working relationship. With colleagues at the college, he is currently authoring a report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on poverty and the media.

Bede Chair of Catholic Theology now in post

The inaugural holder of the UK's first endowed chair of Catholic theology since the Reformation, Prof Lewis Ayres (Emory, Georgia, USA), took up position on 1st May. His first public duty was to present the inaugural Bishop Kevin Dunn Memorial Lecture on 1st June. Other key tasks include further development of the already successful pathway in Catholic Studies through the Department of Theology and Religion's MA in Christian Theology and of further imaginative outreach and research programmes through the Centre for Catholic Studies; another Durham first.

Result for University Merchandising

The University has recently appointed its first Retail Manager to professionalise all merchandising operations. Barry Calvert has joined Durham University from Bolton Wanderers Football Club and brings with him a wealth of commercial experience in the UK and Europe.

He is tasked with looking at university retail offerings across the board from clothing to giftware for students, staff, alumni and tourists, and will shortly be asking alumni for their input and ideas to develop an improved Durham University merchandise range and improve the retail experience.

BBC Radio Durham Reunion

On Saturday 27 September 2008, some 35 people marked the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio Durham's opening. Approximately half of those in attendance had worked on the first live university radio programme in Britain, ‘University Termtime' which ran from 1960-1972.

The former BBC Radio Durham staff visited Park House, which housed the studios from 1968 to 1972, and were provided with tea from the staff of St Cuthbert's Hospice, the current occupants of the building. A civic reception followed in the Town Hall with the Mayor of Durham, Councillor Grenville Holland (former Geology lecturer). Gavin Hewitt, (John's), was the main speaker. He was introduced by Nigel Holmes (Bede), who with John Forrest (Bede) and Neil Eccles (Grey) had arranged the reunion.

The man who opened BBC Radio Durham, Edward Short (Bede), then Secretary of State for Education, sent a message of greetings in which he said that, as an alum, he still regretted that the station was closed. Mary Hawgood, a former Mayor of Durham, and her husband John, a longserving Durham lecturer, were also present.

It was through Mary that the visit to Park House and the Civic Reception were made possible.


New Year Honours List

Several members of our staff and alumni have been recognised in the 2009 New Year Honours list. Congratulations to:

  • Alistair Buchanan (Alumnus; UK energy regulator Ofgem) - CBE
  • David Croisdale-Appleby (Member of Council) - OBE
  • General Sir Richard Dannatt (Alumnus; Head of British Army) - GCB (Order of the Bath: Knight Grand Cross)
  • Derek Hudspeth (Departmental Superintendent, Geography) - MBE
  • Richard Monk, OBE, QPM (Alumnus; lately Police Commissioner, UN Interim Mission in Kosovo) - CMG
  • Peter Warburton (Director of Sport) - OBE

Going green

The University has won the Newcastle Evening Chronicle's ‘Environmental Business' Award, which was part of the regional paper's ‘Go Green' campaign and operated in association with the Environment Agency. The judges' decision was unanimous, recognising the breadth of the University's environmental activities and the involvement of staff and students at all levels.

Durham Alumni rise to the Chancellor's Library Appeal Challenge

We were delighted when our Chancellor, Bill Bryson, agreed to champion the Alumni Library Appeal last November and your feedback clearly indicates you enjoyed receiving a note from the Chancellor. We've received pledges of support from as far as Hong Kong and Japan, as well as many closer to home, so a huge, sincere and heartfelt thank you to all those who sent donations and letters of encouragement and support.

More than £100,000 has been raised for the Library. Critical E-journals for the three University Faculties are soon to be purchased. These journals, which the University was previously unable to afford, will bring our Library bang into the 21st Century and ensure our students and researchers alike have access to the most up-to-date resources available today.

Rachel Brown
Annual Giving Manager


In the feature entitled Women in Tuition in issue 25, Irene Hindmarsh was mistakenly listed as having been Principal of St Mary's College when in fact she had been Principal of St Aidan's College from 1970-88. Durham First apologises for this error.

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