There’s a Christmas tree at No 10 and we’re looking forward to welcoming friends over the holiday period. Rosie absolutely refuses to wear the very beautiful Santa hat we bought for her.
Although the weekend of 3/4 December saw the streets of Oxford lined with parental cars taking undergraduate students home for Xmas, College continued to be the usual hive of activity. Many people are staying here for the holidays and looking forward to an Oxford Christmas.
We had a very successful Alumni Winter Drinks event at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London. Attendees enjoyed a wonderful talk from Anthony Geffen on his career highlights – and a sneak taster of how virtual reality makes it possible to feel you are diving with David Attenborough: magic!
We also had an extremely well-attended informal lunch at the John Radcliffe for fellows and students who work ‘up the hill’ and are not often able to make it into College. I’m already looking forward to the next event in Hilary term.
Thanks to our friends at Pusey House, we had a wonderful carol service, with the Chapel completely full and great support from the choir.
We also resumed our informal meetings with our neighbours, the residents of St John Street, to keep them up-to-date with developments on the West Wing. Those developments have been very positive, with our new contractors, Beards, pressing on with outstanding work and addressing outstanding issues. We are looking forward to taking gradual possession of the ground floor in Hilary.
John Tranter, the Bursar, and I enjoyed a visit to our sister college, Clare Hall, in Cambridge. As well as enjoying a wonderful formal dinner, we also began to discuss how to add life to the existing relationship. Watch this space for more to come.
And at the very end of the year, our brilliant catering team heard that they had been awarded a score of 98.2% by the European Safety Bureau, putting them at the very highest level in the business. Congratulations, everyone!
I was pleased to attend a very thought-provoking session on the perspectives of black and minority ethnic students organised by the University. We will be following up in College next term and I can already see a number of practical steps that we can take to ensure that everyone feels fully welcomed and part of the College community.
I have also Chaired my first meeting of the Board of Visitors of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. If you don’t know this wonderful museum I strongly encourage you to visit when you’re next in Oxford (I am, of course, completely biased!).
The beginning of festive gatherings has reinforced for me the warmth of welcome that David and I have received from colleagues throughout Oxford. It has been a wonderful – if exhausting! – first term at the end of which I can do no better than to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and the warmest of good wishes for the New Year.
Here’s to 2017!