e-Matters - 27th July 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

Greetings from Christ Church and welcome to this edition of e-Matters.

This edition features the five Christ Church alumni who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June to whom we send our wholehearted congratulations. Congratulations also go to two Christ Church academics who have been awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships – read more below. It features the recent Gaudy for 1981-85 and a report on the Choir Tour to Sweden, news on a wonderful gift to Christ Church and much more besides.

Looking ahead to events next term, invitations will be going out shortly for the September Gaudy (1986-1989). Members of the Board of Benefactors will be receiving their invitation to the House of Lords reception by email or post imminently. We will also be in touch soon with US alumni about dinners in Washington and New York in October.

A new event has been added to next term’s calendar to mark the 100th birthday of Teddy Burn, Law Tutor at Christ Church from 1955 until his retirement in 1990. The lunchtime event will be open at all alumni who studied Law at Christ Church or who are practising Law. Other events for next term are listed below.

In the meantime, have a wonderful summer! If you would like at short stay at Christ Church over the ten weeks, please go to https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/conferences/staying-christ-church. Members of the Development and Alumni Office will be here all summer so please do get in touch to say hello if you are visiting. We’d love to see you.

With very best wishes,

Philippa Roberts

Development Director

News from the House

Christ Church appoints the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC to lead its Independent Governance Review

Photo of Dominic Grieve QCChrist Church, Oxford has today appointed the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC to lead an independent review into governance of the Foundation, after its Governing Body voted overwhelmingly to endorse the former Attorney General for England and Wales as chair of the review.

Christ Church, one of the largest colleges of the University of Oxford, is unique in that it also contains Oxford’s Cathedral, which is the college chapel as well as the Cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Oxford.

The Independent Governance Review, which is expected to report in 2023, will make recommendations that the Governing Body will carefully consider, to ensure that Christ Church’s statutes, by-laws and governance arrangements meet the needs of this unique institution in the 21st century.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Grieve said:

“I am both pleased and honoured to be chairing this Review, which I believe will help Christ Church to sustain its long history of academic excellence and flourish as a modern institution.

“I am delighted to play a role in this process.”

Two Christ Church academics awarded prestigious Future Leaders Fellowships

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship supports early-career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential to develop their careers, and to work on difficult and novel challenges. The fellowship support is up to over £1.5 million over four years, with the ability to extend to up to seven years.    

Dr Neil Hart will lead a team of researchers, in collaboration with project partners across southern Africa and the UK, to develop the predictions of rainfall season characteristics necessary to managing a growing climate risk. 

Prof. Laurence Brassart will investigate the mechanical and degradation behaviour of biodegradable polymers in load-bearing applications. Examples include bioresorbable polymeric implants, such as stents or scaffolds for tissue reconstruction, and biodegradable plastics for agriculture or packaging.  

Click here to read full article.

 

Announcing The Oxford-Christopher Ainsley Graduate Scholarship

Photo of Christopher AinsleyWe are delighted to announce that a new Graduate Scholarship has been endowed in memory of Christopher Ainsley (Geography, 1976).  

The Scholarship, in Geography and the Environment, has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Christopher’s friends.  Their donations have also unlocked matched funding from the University through its Graduate Endowment Matching Scheme (GEMS). The Scholarship will cover both fees and living costs.

The first Oxford–Christopher Ainsley Graduate scholar will start at Christ Church in October 2023.  We are extremely grateful to Christopher’s friends, including his contemporaries Martin Alderson-Smith and Giles Frampton, for creating an amazing opportunity for future students of Geography, through which Christopher’s name will live on at the House. 

Christopher was also remembered by friends and family at Christ Church earlier this year with the planting of specimen in trees by The Jubilee Bridge on Christ Church Meadow. 

 

Christ Church supports IntoUniversity

IntoUniversity (IU) is a remarkable organisation which works with young people to help break the link between economic disadvantage and educational underachievement. The disruptions to school life and studies caused by the pandemic have brought the need for IntoUniversity’s outreach into even sharper focus.

IntoUniversity

With 35 IU centres across the UK, each serves a local community. Christ Church has partnered with the IntoUniversity hub in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, since 2014. Here, pupils can access a wide range of support: this includes after school sessions to build on their academic learning and personal development. With a mentoring scheme for older students, visits to Christ Church and help with skills such as interviews and CV writing, IntoUniversity has a multi-faceted approach to encouraging participants to aim high, work hard and be the best they can be. 

IU assesses its impact continually and is able to demonstrate impressive results: 66% of IntoUniversity 2021 alumni progressed to Higher Education, compared to 27% of students from similar backgrounds nationally. (Read the full impact report).

Through the generous support of alumni donors and the work of the Access and outreach team here at Christ Church, we are proud of our links with IntoUniversity. 

We recently had the chance to catch up with some of the IntoUniversity students from Blackbird Leys, both at the centre and when they visited College. Take a look at what they had to say in this video!

 

Click here to download IntoUniversity Impact Report 2022.

You can find out more at https://intouniversity.org/ and https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/admissions/intouniversity 

If you are interested in supporting IntoUniversity through its partnership with the House, please contact Laura Jostins-Dean via laura.jostins-dean@chch.ox.ac.uk or Tel: +44 (0) 1865 286854.

 

The American Friends of Christ Church Graduate Scholarship recipients announced

The American Friends (the association of Christ Church Old Members resident in the U.S.) have generously established a scholarship fund to provide financial assistance for postgraduate students who are currently enrolled at Christ Church.

It is intended to offer several scholarships of up to £4,000 each for the 2022-2023 academic year, which will be awarded by the Governing Body of Christ Church, on the basis of academic merit and financial need.

The 2022 American Friends of Christ Church Graduate Scholarships have been awarded to:

  • Andrew Biedermann (History D Phil)
  • Amanda Curtis (Information, Communication & Social Sciences D Phil)
  • Suzie Fisk (Taxation M Sc (Part-Time))
  • Zara Kahlet (Theology & Religion D Phil)
  • Samantha Sharkoff (Economics M Phil)
  • Paul Ulishney (History D Phil)
  • Peter Varga (Experimental Psychology D Phil)
  • Jenna Zmrzel (History DPhil)

 

Peter Varga, one of the recipients of this year's scholarship, said:

"It is a great joy to be back at Christ Church as a postgraduate after first coming up to the House as a visiting undergraduate.  I am now reading for the DPhil in Experimental Psychology under the supervision of Christ Church’s own Professor Brian Parkinson. 

Photo of Peter Varga“Drawing on my background as a classically-trained guitarist and liturgical organist, my thesis investigates how emotion and higher states (e.g., inspiration) are communicated by composers to listeners via music as well as the implications of this process for cultural transmission and evolution.  This work is supported by my typically interdisciplinary approach to research, exemplified in past projects examining the role of aesthetics in science, experiences of higher goods (e.g., unity, truth, goodness, beauty) as indicators of self-transcendent well-being, the function of inspiration and imagination in the creative process, the social and emotional underpinnings of the ‘chills’ response to film and music, the effect of social stress on prospective memory, and differences between terrestrial and lunar psychophysics using virtual reality.

“Prior to beginning the DPhil course, I received my MS in Psychological Sciences from William & Mary and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa as the President's Award recipient and a University Scholar from The Catholic University of America with a BA in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theology & Religious Studies, earning additional honors in Classical Philosophy, Theology, and Humanities.

“Being at Oxford, and Christ Church particularly, has allowed me to pursue what has long been my passion project in music psychology research whilst still being immersed in the practice and performance of music myself.  In the coming year, I will serve as choir manager to the College Choir of Christ Church in addition to my ongoing role supporting the Cathedral Choir and Frideswide Voices as Music Trust Development Officer.

“The process of cobbling together funding at Oxford can be exceedingly difficult and time-consuming, especially after the first year when most funding sources are no longer available.  I am thus especially grateful for the support of the American Friends in the form of this scholarship aimed specifically at continuing postgraduates.  It makes a significant difference in allowing me to pursue my intellectual and musical interests and offer novel contributions in my academic field, uninhibited by financial obstacles.”

Find out what previous students have done with their scholarships here.

These Scholarships are open to applicants who completed their undergraduate degree at an American university and who are already enrolled in graduate study at Christ Church.  

 

Save the Date! Forthcoming Events in 2022

We were delighted to have held a number of events in the first six months of 2022, having welcomed back over 1,000 members back to the House and having met dozens of them in cities outside of Oxford.

Please see below dates for your diaries for events happening in the second half of the year. All will be advertised in more detail in the next months, and specific invitations sent where relevant.

All bookings will be taken via Christ Church Connections. We do encourage you to sign up if you have not already done so. It only takes a few minutes to set up your profile. Click here to sign up to Christ Church Connections.

If in doubt please contact development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk

September:

  • 16-18 September: OU Meeting Minds
  • 17 September: Association Weekend
  • 18 September: 1546 Lunch
  • 30th September: Gaudy 1986-89

October:

  • 2 October: Family Programme Tea
  • 11 October: Board of Benefactors' Reception in House of Lords

November:

  • 12 November: Lawyers' Lunch in Hall
  • 27 November: Family Programme Advent Reception

December:

  • Date TBC: Alumni Christmas Drinks in London

 

 

A warm welcome back to the House – 1981-1985 Gaudy

1981-1985 GaudyWe were thrilled to host the Summer Gaudy on 24th June, with 1981-1985 matriculands being welcomed back to the House.

The event included a lecture by Professor Chris Breward, an evensong, a drinks reception in Tom Quad, dinner in Hall, and the chance to reminisce after dinner in the Buttery. Pictures from the event can be found here. If you have more photos you would like to share, please email development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk

A great debt of gratitude is owed to all who enable these events to happen; many behind the scenes. Of course, our greatest thanks go to all of you for helping to create such a thriving Christ Church community.

The Autumn Gaudy will take place on 30th September and we look forward to welcoming back 1986-1989 matriculands soon. The invitation will be sent by late July. If you have recently changed your address, please do let us know by emailing development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk so we can make sure your invitation reaches you.

 

 

The 'Mike Rosewell' Boat Naming

On 25th June, the 'Mike Rosewell' was christened and rowed for the first time.

We learnt with great sadness of the death of Mike Rosewell in August last year at the age of 84. Mike was known to many as Christ Church Chief Coach from 1978-1990, or as the Rowing Coach and Economics Teacher at St Edward’s School, Oxford. Beyond that Mike made a huge contribution to the sport of rowing as The Times’ Rowing Correspondent, a member of the ARA Council and as coach of GB Junior Squad, OULRC and OUWBC.

Mike Rosewell Boat NamingAll who had the privilege to have been taught or coached by Mike remember him with great fondness for his inspiration, his devotion and his sense of humour. Mike was a superb coach both technically and motivationally and was able to inspire in his crews a strong belief, ruthlessness and controlled aggression, whilst always conducting himself with decency and thoughtfulness for those in his charge. Many who were mentored by Mike feel a huge sense of gratitude to him for either setting them on the paths of their rowing careers or for being responsible for some of the moments of their greatest rowing successes and happiest memories.

It is with thanks to the Men’s First Summer Eight crews from 1984 and 1985 (which Mike had taken to second and head of the river) for their generous donation towards the Empacher racing 8. It was wonderful to see so many alumni returning to celebrate Mike and his contibution to the ChChBC. We hope to see many of you at the Boat house again next summer, as both W1 and M1 seek to take the headship. 

Our thanks also go to Anna Betteridge (Boat Club President), James Bracey (Head Coach), and Tom Stewardson (Boatman).

 

Christ Church Cathedral Choir Sweden Tour

Christ Church Cathedral Choir has just returned from a successful tour of Sweden!  Following two postponements because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the tour was a much-anticipated return to international travel for the Choir. Along the way, we were very glad to be reunited with alumni of the House as well as friends and supporters of the Music Trust.
 
The tour included four concert engagements highlighting the Cathedral Choir's versatile breadth of repertoire and style.  In addition to the concerts, the Choir was pleased to join in some special events for alumni and Music Trust friends in Stockholm as well as collaborate with our Swedish counterparts in Uppsala to sing in liturgical context.  We were all thrilled to share the joy of music through the venerable choral tradition of the House.

Click here to read full article.

 

Choral Evensong with Founders' Prayers

The Christ Church Cathedral Choir sang Evensong for the Birth of John the Baptist with Founders’ Prayers on the occasion of the Summer Gaudy for Old Members who matriculated in 1981-1985. The music was Martin Responses, Jackson in G, and Mater Christi sanctissima by the first Organist of Christ Church, John Taverner.  The service was recorded live and can be viewed for a limited time here.

 

Consultation on Christ Church Developments

Alumni and friends may be interested in reading the consultation materials relating to developments on Christ Church land around Oxford. Both sites have been allocated for housing and facilities to address Oxford’s unmet housing need. Consultations are now open until late July. Please see further information in the links below.

https://www.water-eaton.co.uk/

https://www.bayswateroxford.co.uk/

News from Alumni

Queen's Birthday Honours List 2022

Congratulations to Chris Skidmore MP OBE (1999, History), Professor Dame Clare Grey (1983, Chemistry), Harry Bicket OBE (1980, Music), Charles Rangeley-Wilson OBE (1984, Fine Art), and Professor Sir David Warrell (1958, Biology) on their awards in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Queen's Birthday Honours List 2022

Chris Skidmore was awarded OBE for Parliamentary and Public Service. Chris was elected Conservative MP for Kingswood in May 2010, and has held multiple Ministerial roles including most recently Minister of State jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy between September 2019 to February 2020. Chris has also written several history books including ‘Edward VI: The Lost King of England’, ‘Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart’ and ‘Bosworth: the Birth of the Tudors’. Recently, Chris published ‘Richard III: Brother, Protector, King’. Chris is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

 

Professor Dame Clare Grey was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to Science. Clare is a multi-award-winning Professor of Chemistry, whose research specialises in applications of nuclear magnetic resonance, a physical phenomenon that allows observations of atomic nuclei, and its use to study lithium ion batteries, particularly their potential for use in energy storage applications that benefit the environment. Clare was the first woman to hold the post of Head of Inorganic Chemistry at Cambridge, and is currently the Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor and a Royal Society Professor in the Department of Chemistry and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

 

Harry Bicket was awarded OBE for services to Music. Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and since 2007 has been Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of Europe’s finest period orchestras. In 2013, following regular guest appearances for Santa Fe Opera, he became their Chief Conductor and in 2018 assumed the Music Directorship. Since taking up his position, he has conducted Cosi fan tutteFidelioLa Finta GiardinieraRomeo et JulietteAlcina and Candide. In the 2019 season, he also performed Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Renée Fleming. 

 

Charles Rangeley-Wilson was awarded OBE for services to Chalk Stream Conservation. An angler, author, and conservationist, Charles chairs the Chalk River Restoration Group, whose first task will be to produce a national chalk stream restoration plan: it will be used to drive progress by government and regulators, water companies, landowners, NGOs and river associations right down to the grass roots level of individuals who are passionate about their local river. Charles is a founder and vice-president of the Wild Trout Trust, an ambassador for the Angling Trust, and leads a catchment-wide restoration project on the River Nar in west Norfolk. Charles describes himself as "passionate about river conservation with a particular interest in the history, restoration and preservation of chalk-streams."

 

Professor Sir David Warrell was appointed by the Queen Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to global Health Research and Clinical Practice. Emeritus Professor of Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine; Honorary Consultant Physician, Oxford University Hospitals Trust; and Honorary Fellow of St Cross College. Professor Sir David Warrell is one of the world's leading figures in tropical medicine. He is the founding director of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme, Thailand. He has advised, among others, the British Army, the Foreign Office, the Royal Geographic Society and the World Health Organisation, on tropical medicine. His research interests over the years include malaria, respiratory diseases, relapsing fever, rabies, malaria, and venomous and poisonous plants and animals.

 

 

Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE (1987) appointed first ever Patient Safety Commissioner for England

Photo of Dr Henrietta HughesThe Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay has appointed Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE as the first ever Patient Safety Commissioner for England.

Adding to and enhancing existing work to improve the safety of medicines and medical devices, the appointment of a commissioner is in response to the recommendations from Baroness Cumberlege’s review into patient safety, published in 2020.

Dr Hughes will be an independent point of contact for patients, giving a voice to their concerns to make sure they are heard. She will help the NHS and government better understand what they can do to put patients first, promote the safety of patients, and the importance of the views of patients and other members of the public.

Click here to read full article.

 

Keta's Journey - The 47 Peaks

Keta Hansen and her two daughtersChrist Church Alumna Keta Hansen (1989, Chemistry) was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2014 and passed away in 2019. Her husband, Kevin Street (Engineering, 1989), and their two daughters participate regularly in events to raise money to fight this awful disease.

In August, Kevin and their two daughters, Hebe and Violet, together with Neil and Matt (Kevin’s brother and schoolmate) are embarking on Keta’s Journey – The 47 Peaks, a new fundraising challenge to raise money for MNDA. They aim to climb 47 peaks in Snowdonia in 5 days – one peak for each year of Keta’s life.

This follows on from the hugely successful Keta’s Journey in 2019 when they walked 352 miles in 15 days from Hartlepool (Keta’s hometown) to Godalming (where she sadly died in 2019) via Christ Church (where Keta & Kevin met) and Battersea (where Hebe & Violet were born), enjoying widespread media coverage through National press, TV and social media which helped them raise over £100k.

Keta’s Journey – The 47 Peaks promises to be another huge but rewarding challenge for a fantastic cause. There is still no proper understanding of the cause of MND, let alone a cure for this devastating disease that affects 1 in 300 in the UK. The estimated prevalence has increased materially in recent years owing to significantly better diagnosis and awareness, particularly in the elderly. However, there is much optimism amongst the medical research and MND community that major progress is being made and a breakthrough imminent; but it all costs money, which is where they and hopefully the Christ Church Community come in.

Kevin and his team are looking for 47 Corporate Sponsors, one to support the climbing of each peak. The suggested donation per sponsor is £500, although they very much welcome corporate generosity. The highest donation received will have the honour of sponsoring the climb of the highest peak, Snowdon, and will be advertised accordingly. The aim is to have sponsors in place by mid-July to enable names of those companies supporting the challenge to be incorporated into their marketing and social media activities, including advertising during the event itself. General advertising and fundraising via the JustGiving site will follow at the end of July.

If you are interested in being a Corporate Sponsor of Keta’s Journey – The 47 Peaks, please contact Kevin by emailing kevinpstreet1@gmail.com.

 

Steven DeLay (2013): Everything

Steven DeLay (Philosophy, 2013) published his latest novel, Everything. The novel consists of three volumes: Anomie, Kings of the Earth and The Desolate. The synopses are below: 

Anomie, Volume 1:

Sartre and Camus held that existence is absurd, that consequently meaning is forged through the individual who must create it, a Promethean doctrine of reality which today has come to exercise a grip on us so firmly that we barely notice it, much less ever think to seriously question it. To be sure, the world is absurd. But existence as such? In this debut novel, Christian existentialist Steven DeLay tells the story of a knight of faith's quest for meaning. In his resulting voyage from the suburbs of Texas to the secret societies of Oxford, he encounters the ineluctable claim of eternity on the everyday. Part fairy tale, noir mystery, psychological thriller, and essay in existential philosophy, Everything's first volume, Anomie, explores the condition of nihilism in modern culture.

Kings of the Earth, Volume 2:

In this continuation of his debut novel, Christian existentialist Steven DeLay resumes the story of a knight of faith's quest for meaning. Part fairy tale, noir mystery, psychological thriller, and essay in existential philosophy, Everything's second volume, Kings of the Earth, explores the inner world of Oxford power-relations, a world of intrigue where sex, money, and power threaten to ensnare those who succumb to temptation and destroy anyone who attempts to resist.

The Desolate, Volume 3:

In this concluding volume, Christian existentialist Steven DeLay completes the story of a knight of faith's quest for meaning. Part fairy tale, noir mystery, psychological thriller, and essay in existential philosophy, Everything's third volume, The Desolate, shows how only love, both human and divine, renders existence intelligibly true.

All three volumes can be ordered here.

 

Other News

Language Classes for alumni

Susan Isaacs is offering online language classes at discounted rates to Christ Church alumni.

Fully Interactive Language Classes Online conducted by Susan Isaac via Zoom are starting Tuesday September 27th. French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese from beginner through to advanced.

The classes are for 10 weeks and are 45 minutes long.  Small friendly classes with lots of individual attention.

All are welcome. Students come from firms including Linklaters, Norton RoseFulbright, HSBC, the Bank of England, EY and PWC and Anthony Gold.

Susan has been running language courses in Oxford for the past thirty years.

For more information, contact Susan Isaac on Susanelizabethisaacs@icloud.com 

Find out more on www.languages2000.co.uk