VC's week - 20 May 2013 - the Worldwide Universities Network conference and alumni milestones

A regular update from Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur.

Professor Michael Arthur

By the time this is published, I will be attending the 2013 Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Conference and annual general meeting in Washington DC.  An organisation which has been incredibly valuable to this University, WUN comprises 19 research-intensive institutions spanning six continents. It aims to encourage collaboration to address four significant global challenges: adapting to climate change; understanding cultures; global higher education and research;  and public health and non-communicable diseases.

The conference and AGM is a chance for the Vice-Chancellors and senior officers of the 19 institutions to come together to discuss progress and identify new, multilateral opportunities for international collaboration in research and graduate education. I know from experience that attending the WUN conference can help colleagues to identify some exciting potential partnerships and projects, and have no doubt that this year’s event will do the same.

Whilst in the States I also have several meetings with alumni and other friends of the University.  Some of the meetings will be in New York, but the main event is in Washington ahead of the WUN conference, when I’ll be joining board members of the North American Foundation for the University of Leeds (NAFUL) and other US-based alumni for an evening reception.

By coincidence, our alumni fund recently achieved two significant milestones. Firstly, we are now actively in touch with more than 200,000 Leeds alumni and, secondly, we received our 10,000th alumni donation to the Footsteps Fund. The Fund channels gifts into projects such as scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and opportunities for undergraduates to join research projects or take part in volunteering. 

The 10,000th donation was given by retired lawyer John Priestley, who came to Leeds in 1961 to study law. Of his reason for donating, John said, “It (university) is a stepping stone for people to get from one place to another. It can really help those who are bright and ambitious – and it is great to be able to support that. If I give a little back – and others do, too – then it will make a real difference to the students of today.”  It’s testament to the excellence of the University that a student who came here more than 50 years ago still appreciates the value of a Leeds degree and the beneficial start in life it can give a young person.


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