230 alumni and guests returned to campus in September for the 2018 Reunion. Graduates spanned seven decades, from the Class of 1953 to the Class of 2015, and travelled from nine countries, including Australia, Canada, Kenya and the United States.
Alumni reconnected with old friends and met new ones over a lunch hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood in the Great Hall, visited their old schools, joined a range of lectures and explored the many cultural gems on campus.
Our ground-breaking researchers spoke to alumni about their work on cancer treatment and the impact of climate and environmental changes. Professor Rob MacKenzie, Director of the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) shared how research in a Staffordshire woodland is testing whether trees will mop up increasing CO2 from the air we breathe. Preliminary results from this ‘Sci-fi Forest’ already indicate that increased carbon is being drawn down into the forest.
Friends meeting up at reunion included Vanessa Ward née Goodfellow (BA English Language and Literature, 1984) and Claire Gould (American Studies, 1984), who both lived at Manor House hall of residence, former home of the Cadbury family. Vanessa says: ‘I now work at Durham Cathedral, which has in its collections one of the earliest copies of Spencer’s Faerie Queen, so it was wonderful to return to the campus where I first read it as an undergraduate. It is amazing to see the development that has taken place on campus in the last 34 years. The new library is fantastic. I had the time of my life at Birmingham.’
Claire says: ‘I have fond memories of the Arts Faculty, and particularly the Mason Lounge where we met friends and whiled away many a happy hour between lectures, and which has certainly changed beyond all recognition! It was funny to see the same lecture rooms and even the stairs I walked up and down when I was 18 all these years later. I also remember the queues for the telephone in Manor House on a Sunday night, clutching our stack of ten pence pieces as we waited to make our weekly call home. Vanessa and I returned with Trudy Feltham (BSc Psychology and Sports Science, 1984) to Selly Oak the night before the reunion to eat at the Dilshad curry house - thankfully still in existence all these years later!’