Univ North Working Party: John Crompton
John Crompton (1981, PPE), has spent over 30 years in banking and capital markets. He began his banking career with Morgan Stanley, in London, New York and Hong Kong. He also worked for HM Treasury, including as Senior Corporate Finance Advisor, and as Head of Market Investments at UKFI.
How did you get involved with UNWP and how long have you been a member?
I have been involved in the UNWP since its inception in 2017. I am one of three Old Members who were invited to join because of our involvement in the College’s development initiatives – I chair the University College Development Board and was involved in the Ditchley Park conference in 2016 which identified the need for a group to oversee the creation of a masterplan for the Univ North site.
What have you brought to the Working Party and College from being involved?
I think that the Old Members bring two things to the UNWP.
First, the benefit of their professional or broader life experience, to add to the very considerable understanding of needs of the College that are provided by Fellows on the Committee. In my case, that’s particularly to do with financing and financial decision-making – though like all members of the Working Party I have my own views on aesthetics and on practicalities. There’s also an aspect of “challenge” – testing out ideas that are presented. I can think of a number of times when points raised in this way have led to changes in the project’s design, or have helped strengthen conviction that the original proposal was correct.
Second – and perhaps more profoundly – Old Members are those who have the longest connections with the College. Collectively, in times ancient and modern, they are largely responsible for originating the College’s endowment, and will be needed to play a major role in the funding of this once-in-centuries initiative. Hopefully by engaging in the discussions we can help ensure that decisions are made in a way that reflects this “long view”, and can help promote the support of the current Old Member community.
What does the Working Party do, how often does it meet?
We meet multiple times a year, usually for 3-4 hours. Agendas have evolved as the project has evolved, moving from definition of outline requirements, appointment of architects, refinement of plans and response to the planning process. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of these meetings – well-structured agendas, effective updates and excellent inputs to decision-making.
What does being a part of the Working Party mean to you?
I’ve enjoyed it enormously. It’s been a chance to help shape the way that the Univ community will live and interact for coming generations. The insight into College strategy, and into the design and planning process, has been fascinating as well.
Which aspect of the project most interests you and why?
Most of all, the fact that this will create a second hub for Univ members – offering much more of a true college experience to those who don’t live on the High Street site. And that community extends well beyond the undergrads and postgrads who will be the principal occupants. The presence of a nursery will make Univ North a focus for Univ families, and I hope that over time there will be further ways to broaden engagement across the Univ community.
What do you think Univ North will mean to our community, and to future members of the College?
Most obviously, it will offer a full College experience for many more postgrads than is currently possible. It should also make for further improvements for undergrads. The true long-term consequences are harder to predict, but I suspect they will be very positive indeed, for the College as an academic institution as well as for its members.
Why should Old Members and Friends of the College support Univ North?
Everyone who has been to Univ has benefitted enormously from the generosity of those who have preceded us. And most of us continue to benefit from membership of the Univ community – through friendships, affiliations, direct participation in College life. Giving something back to the College is always valuable. But with Univ North, it’s a chance to give in a way that will have a tremendous impact on the experience of future members of the College, and therefore on the broader Univ community.
Why did you become a Univ donor?
Univ has been a big part of my life ever since I came up in 1981. My life opportunities, friendships, intellectual development all have their roots at Univ. Without the support of previous Old Members this would not have been possible. But I don’t think of donating to Univ as a duty: I am privileged to have the means to donate, and also to have Univ as a cause to support.
Is there anything else you would like to say about Univ North?
Univ has created a wonderful opportunity through its wise stewardship of resources and its farsighted investment around the Staverton Road site. The development will be beautiful, practical and will offer so much to the Univ community. So I would encourage all Old Members who can afford it to help make this project a reality.
Photo: Ian Wallman
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