Kellogg College alumni
It was tangible, the effervescence of the group walking single file to the Sheldonian for Matriculation. This was our introduction to the rites, rituals and rigour of being a student at Oxford University. A quarter of a century ago, here were the first class of part-time students that prised open the gates to what is now a veritable flood of academic excellence at Kellogg College.
Students graduating from Kellogg College automatically form the Alumni Association. There are no fees. We are members of College and are welcome at the college. The ethos is one of inclusivity with online communication and emails. If you are not receiving these, then ensure that College has your email address. There is a Facebook page with news and events. Take advantage of the many opportunities, spend some energy to include yourself in these interesting events and make new friends, and catch up with others.
Kellogg College celebrates its former students as part of the University’s Alumni weeks. At this time the Gaudy is held, which can be a grand affair, and one meets up with peers to reminisce about the good old days. Although, with all that full-time work and part-time study it was tough going. Yet we went on to graduate and once more to file to the Sheldonian and enter and exit the building in a rather bewildering way that involved changing gowns midway! Something interesting is usually planned to precede the Gaudy dinner and speeches – which can be delectable, too. Gaudy activities have included expert guided tours of The Ashmolean Museum; and talks by Marcus de Sautoy and our late Honorary Fellow P.D. James spring to mind.
The main annual events can be uplifting and proud occasions, ones that many attend to confirm their identity as alumni. Another annual celebration is the Foundation Dinner, held in March providing an opportunity for the President to report on the accomplishments of staff and students past and present. Then there is the Bynum Tudor lecture and dinner, and after the lecture, you have an opportunity to meet the Bynum Tudor Fellow. For many, it was a special thrill to talk to Bishop Desmond Tutu.
The social life of the College is rich and varied and increasingly, has an international dimension. Events are organised in the US and Europe too. Guest night dinners enable us to share our college with friends and family or to meet up with some and befriend others. There is an excellent flavour to the buzz of perhaps a bit too much wine mixed with arresting conversation with an array of fascinating people: Fellows of the college with their diverse specialisms, current and former students of many disciplines from all over the world, local people with useful information – it becomes an adventure to get to know your fellow members of College. And the opportunities are plentiful – the Christmas party, Burns Night, May Ball, summer buffet, Octoberfest, wine tasting, quiz night, theatre visits, sporting events, charity fund-raising; there is something for everyone. Yes, that means us.
Alumni use the common room, gardens, the bar, the college punt. There is the Kellogg Colloquium, plus lectures, seminars and readings – a dizzying array of learning opportunities. And all of this is free of charge. We are privileged to have access to such jewels of knowledge because we belong to an Oxford College, now having its 25th birthday.
What now? Now is about the future which is nothing without the past. So it is about giving back. There are ways in which alumni can contribute. Obviously financial contributions to student support and silver salvers are welcome, but there are smaller gifts in kind that are beneficial. This can include assistance during Welcome Weeks, help at Oxford Open Doors, gardening, stuffing envelopes, making cakes for fundraising, putting forward ideas for events. This can create an inclusive culture where alumni have a full role in the life of the institution. Of course, all this is predicated upon not adding an extra organisational burden. Our Alumni Association is in its infancy and it would be interesting and useful to know what you feel about how we can enhance our role over the next 25 years.
Founding MCR President