'A Univ alumni dinner was held in Singapore on 5 July on the occasion of the Master’s visit. The dinner was kindly hosted by Ng Lak Chuan (1984, PPE) at the Tower Club, which offers breathtaking views of Singapore's vibrant skyline.
It was quite amusing to realise that the reason for gathering on top of one of the three tallest skyscrapers in the Lion City, which proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, was that all present had spent one or more years studying within walls erected in 1249. This was no doubt evidence of Univ’s talent for maintaining its unique history and traditions while keeping up with the pace of modernity on a global level.
"Irrespective of age, subject, profile, and nationality, we all bore witness to the powerful and lifelong mark which Univ leaves on its students. As we separated after this delightful evening, we all wished that another opportunity to meet would occur before long." - Clarisse Girot (1994, Law)
Another proof of this ability to do the splits between old and new was provided by the Master’s presentation of work recently carried out in college: after all, are there so many places on earth where, within the same period of time, one has to build a new organ in a 17th century chapel, refurbish a 1960s building to fulfil the more stringent environmental requirements of the 21st Century, and buy land in North Oxford to accommodate students in modern facilities?
Of course, the evening was also marked by the recent decision of the UK to leave the EU, which delivered a blow to Asian markets and unsparingly exposed which Asian blue-chip stocks, among which major Singaporean companies, were most vulnerable after Brexit vote. The Master shared with us his extensive analysis on the consequences of this decision for the UK’s influence in the world, as well as on academia and Univ specifically.
Finally, this gathering was also the occasion to see that irrespective of age, subject, profile, and nationality, we all bore witness to the powerful and lifelong mark which Univ leaves on its students. As we separated after this delightful evening, we all wished that another opportunity to meet would occur before long. And, therefore, that the Master would hopefully hear our plea issued from 11,000 kilometres away: please, do come back again soon!