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Royal Holloway marks 125 years of excellence in research

Posted on 14/11/2011

Royal Holloway, University of London hosted a celebratory dinner to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of Royal Holloway College, and 25 years since its merger with Bedford College.

The College welcomed almost two hundred guests on Tuesday last week (8 November) from the worlds of business, politics, health, media, the arts, academia, and the public and voluntary sectors, including Valerie Vaz MP, David Whelton, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Michael Fishwick, publishing director of Bloomsbury and David Blunkett MP.

In his welcoming speech the Principal, Professor Paul Layzell, began by looking back at the two Victorian visionaries, Thomas Holloway and Elizabeth Jesser Reid, who founded Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges respectively.

He said: “Both Colleges were built upon a history of philanthropy and, long before anybody coined the term “widening participation”, they broke new ground as the first institutions to admit and offer degrees to women.

“As a result of this heritage, we’re proud to be able to include amongst our alumni the first woman barrister, the first woman doctor and the novelist, George Eliot.”

While reflecting on the College’s past achievements, Professor Layzell said it was important to look to the future and expressed his confidence in Royal Holloway’s ability to meet today’s challenges head on, and to continue to go from strength to strength.

Guest speaker, The Baroness Diana Warwick of Undercliffe, who graduated from Bedford College in 1967 with a degree in Sociology, spoke warmly of her time at the College and reflected on the strength and diversity of Royal Holloway’s research and student experience.

Through the evening, guests were shown videos showcasing ground-breaking research from the Departments of Biological Sciences, Drama and Physics. Each guest received a set of postcards from the collection of 125 commemorative postcards created to celebrate the College’s history and achievements and were able to read the poem written especially by former Poet Laureate, Professor Andrew Motion, from the Department of English, to commemorate the anniversary. The evening was brought to a close with a performance by the Choir of Royal Holloway.

The event proved a huge success and many new partnerships were forged, from collaborations on research and performance, to opportunities for student internships and work placements and lectures for students.

The dinner concluded the College’s year of anniversary celebrations, which opened with a concert from three alumni sopranos, Dame Felicity Lott, Susan Bullock and Sarah Fox, and included the Royal visit in June by HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London. 

Please see the event website for photos, videos, postcards and speeches from the night.


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