Monthly Archives: October 2013

Alumnus takes to the stage at this week’s Open Lecture

Alumnus and respected human rights lawyer Jonathan Cooper (R84) will deliver our Open Lecture this Wednesday.

Jonathan CooperJonathan is currently Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust and Trustee of the Sigrid Rausing Trust. His lecture is entitled Things can only get better: What’s next for human rights protection in the UK? and will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Human Rights Act. It promises to be an entertaining evening of discussion.

An outspoken commentator on human rights, Jonathan was awarded an OBE for his work in the field in 2001 and received an Honorary Doctorate from Kent this summer. He read a BA in History at Kent during the 1980s.

To find out more about the lecture please click here:

New alumni achievers section now online!

See which leading figures in the worlds of industry, science, entertainment, politics, sport, and the arts are Kent alumni in our new alumni achievers web page here.

This new regular feature will be updated throughout the year to highlight the notable achievements of our alumni in their respective fields. It’s also an opportunity for you to get in touch and share details of your own successes or to nominate a fellow alumnus that you think should be featured. We want to celebrate as many of our alumni as possible and you don’t have to be famous to be a part of our line-up of profiles. We’re proud of all of our alumni and we want to spread the word about your achievements. Please contact us at to share your news and views.

The first of our line-up of profiles spotlights leading figures in science and industry, including telecoms entrepreneur Charles Wigoder, easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall OBE, and leading conservationist Belinda Stewart-Cox OBE.

Belinda Stewart Cox

Carolyn McCall

Charles Wigoder







We’ll update the page regularly with details of more alumni achievers and we’ll highlight a particular field of expertise each time, so please check back frequently for details of more alumni achievers.

Brussels Open Lecture: Book now

Join us for an evening of thought-provoking discussion at our Brussels Open Lecture on Tuesday 12 November 2013.

Commissioner VassiliouThe guest speaker at the event is Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. She will speak on the topic of ‘Lessons of the global financial crisis for economists and economic journalists.’

Commissioner Vassiliou is very active in social and cultural fields within the UN and EU. A Cypriot, she has also held many important posts and is on the Board of public and private companies in her home country. Her lecture promises to be an entertaining and informative look at one of the key issues facing the EU at the current time.

The University of Kent’s Brussels centre is home to the Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), a specialist postgraduate centre located in a world centre for international affairs. Its location offers students the chance to study at the heart of the main institutions of the European Union, think tanks, lobby groups, NGOs and multinational companies.

The lecture will start at 6pm at the Brussels campus.

Join top businessman Steve Pateman at our special guest lecture

Leading businessman Steve Pateman, Executive Director – Head of UK Banking at Santander, will give the Vice-Chancellor’s lecture on 4 November 2013 and we’re delighted to extend an invitation for you to join us on campus for the event.

The lecture is entitled ‘The opportunity to create a sustainable recovery‘ and will focus on the UK’s economic recovery and the lessons that banking has learned from the 2008 financial collapse. This promises to be a unique opportunity to hear from a leading expert within the world of banking and gain valuable insights into future business trends.

Steve PatemanSteve joined Santander in 2008 and rose to his current board position last year. His responsibilities include Retail, Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking within the UK. He was previously the CEO of Business Banking, Managing Director of Commercial Banking and Managing Director of Corporate Banking at Natwest and RBS.

This special lecture coincides with the official opening of a new Santander branch at the Banking Hall on our Canterbury campus. It will start at 12.30pm at Grimond Lecture Theatre 2 on the Canterbury campus. To register for this event please click here.

The Vice-Chancellor’s lecture is an annual event and previous speakers have included Professor Carl Lygo, Principal of BPP University College, on The changing view of higher education in the UK , and Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, on Transforming the UK’s capacity for innovation. You can see the full archive of our Open Lectures here.

Best-selling author inspires students at School of English event

Kent alumnus and twice-Booker nominated novelist David Mitchell (D87) returned to the School of English to discuss his work with current students.

David Mitchell

David read excerpts from his unpublished works and enjoyed a lively question and answer session at the event, where he was joined by second and third year students. He was introduced by Professor Jan Montefiore, Professor of English and American Literature, who taught David during his years at Kent and has remained a life-long friend.

During his visit, David was also interviewed by current English Literature student Emma Shelton, who is features editor of student newspaper Inquire. He reminisced about his experiences at Kent and spoke about returning to the University. He said:

“For a long time I had a ‘you shouldn’t go back’ kind of philosophy about my home town. Then middle-age comes knocking on the door, and you’re actually rather curious. It’s good to go back and see where you’re from. There’s a sense of closing a circle.”

You can read the full interview here.

Having studied English and American Literature at Kent from 1987 until 1990, David published his first novel, Ghostwritten, in 1999. His most famous and acclaimed work is Cloud Atlas, which is now a major film. He won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the South Bank Show Literature Prize and is currently working on his sixth novel.

His other books include Black Swan Green (2006), which was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by Time magazine, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010).

David was awarded an honorary degree by Kent in 2006.

Collaborating to Compete: New Business Executives Forum

Two new Business Executives Forums, run by Kent Business School, will take place in Kent during November 2013 and March 2014.

 The events are a chance for business leaders in the region to network, share ideas and learn from leading industry experts, with a free dinner thrown in. Andrew Fearne, professor of Food Marketing and Value Chain Management and director of the Centre for Value Chain Research at Kent Business School, will lead the workshops. They will focus on the role of collaboration in the pursuit of sustainable competitive advantage and the process of value chain management.

The events are free and will take place at 18.00hrs on 12 November 2013 at Canterbury and at 18.00hrs on 4 March 2014 at Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Tunbridge Wells. To find out more or to sign up to attend please email or call 01227 827192.

BEF-Collaborating to compete

Alumnus switches on 50th anniversary countdown clock

Alumnus and member of the First 500 group John Platt helped the University to kick-start the countdown to its 50th anniversary year.

John was the special guest at an official ceremony held on campus at Canterbury on 1 October. He switched on the newly installed countdown clock, which is positioned on the side of the Senate building and will tick down time until 1 October 2015 – the date the University’s 50th year officially starts.

The launch event was attended by students, staff and alumni. Professor Nick Grief, Dean of Medway and Kent alumnus, led the evening’s festivities, whilst the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Keith Mander and Alastair Ross, Head of European Administration, addressed the guests via Skype from locations including San Francisco and Brussels.

John Platt said: ‘When I joined Kent as one of the first 500 students almost 50 years ago I never imagined that it would grow to become such a successful, innovative and inspiring place to be. Now there are almost 20,000 students and campus centres in Europe. We’ve come a long way in 50 years and as a proud alumnus I’m looking forward to celebrating those achievements with everyone at the University over the coming year.’

To learn more about the University’s plans to mark its 50th anniversary year and find out how you can get involved visit our dedicated website at

Wayne Otto

Nine-time World and European karate champion and Kent alumnus Wayne Otto opened the new Kent Sport facilities at Canterbury.

The £4.8 million upgrade of the fitness suite and training facilities at Kent Sport was unveiled by Wayne during a gathering of local athletes and sports organisations. Wayne graduated in 1992 with a BSc in Communications Engineering. He earned nine Karate World Championships by 1997 and retired from competition in 2000. He is currently an international coach, in great demand with national teams and karate federations around the world. Wayne said:

‘I thoroughly enjoyed my experience while studying at Kent and even back then I had access to sporting facilities which helped me progress in my chosen sport. Seeing the facilities available now is quite incredible. I’m delighted to see how far the provision has come and the opportunities for students and aspiring young athletes to excel in sport.’

Kent Sport’s new services include a state of the art fitness suite with three distinct areas for cardio and resistance, rehabilitation and strength and conditioning training, plus a new physiotherapy clinic.

Click here for further details and information about alumni sports membership.

Tanzania visit makes the local news

Sue Hopkinson, Assistant Director of International Development, visited Tanzania in September and attended an event organised by a group of UK universities (including Kent), to which we invited all our Tanzanian alumni. Sue was featured in The Citizen, and is seen here with three students who were then about to commence their studies at Kent.

Visit our International Events Calendar to find out about our upcoming overseas visits, and register for our online community to ensuThe Citizen articlere that you receive details of events in your country!