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Sixty years at City: An interview with Alan Parish

Alumni Notice Board.

Written by Gemma Bradshaw

“I consider City to be the place which has provided the most significant influence on my life”

This year, Alan Parish is celebrating his sixtieth year as a staff member at City.

Reflecting on his time at the University, from his very first steps inside the then Northampton College of Advanced Technology as a student in 1958, to today, Alan recalls tales from the Student Rag, his work in External Relations and Examinations, and completing close to 400 City graduation ceremonies as University Mace Bearer.

Looking to the future, Alan comments:

Everything will be different in the coming months or years, depending on when Covid-19 is defeated. However, as the President would say, “We will have progressed”, and I have no doubt that everything at City will improve, until its ranking in the world is as high as possible.

What are your memories of joining City in the 60s, the then Northampton College of Advanced Technology?
The first time I set foot inside City (in those days the Northampton College of Advanced Technology), was September 8th 1958, straight from an apprenticeship with the General Electric Company. I was studying Light Engineering, in the Department of Electrical Engineering. I still remember my first lecture on Power Engineering, specifically electric motors.

In that first term, every new student took part in the Student Rag, which involved wearing fancy dress and walking around London to find such things as a six-inch nail and who was on the end of a telephone number. This was somebody from the Students’ Union who had been briefed to make the call as stupid as possible.

Anyone who didn’t take part in the Rag was dumped in the horse trough, (which still sits on the pavement opposite the old Blacksmith & The Toffee Maker pub on St John Street), or thrown into the old College Building swimming pool.

What was your first staff role at City, and tell us about your roles over the years?
After not passing my exams in my first year, the Head of Department, Dr Soper, recommended that I join the staff as a technician and spend one day a week repeating the course for a second time. I gladly accepted this suggestion and started as a member of staff on the following day, not realising that I would remain a staff member for sixty years.

My roles have changed over the years – and have included Experimental Officer, Examinations Officer, School Archivist and University Mace Bearer.

In 1986 I was asked to help the Departmental Examinations Officer who was struggling to provide the necessary service for an increasing number of courses within the School of Engineering. This was a great development because I became involved with examinations procedures for the remainder of my full-time employment at the University. I eventually took over as Departmental Examinations Officer and continued to develop methods of displaying results for members of the various Examination Boards. I was responsible for storing every examination mark and every coursework mark for every Electrical Engineering student so that I could produce comprehensive spreadsheets for the examination boards for each course. This was so successful that I was asked to do the same work for all Mechanical Engineering students and later for all MSc students.

Later, I was approached by the Head of External Relations to be a Clerical Assistant where I stayed for five years. I worked on the development of the alumni database, where I invented a system of data cleaning.

I was then asked to take back my old role as Examinations Officer. I left External Relations in 2000 and started 11 years in what I consider to be the most gratifying period of my employment in the University. My work not only involved keeping students’ marks but producing final examination papers for the academic staff. This involved formatting, liaising with the examiners and ensuring that they were satisfied with the adjustments made, dealing with examination timetables and sorting out problems which inevitably arise during the examination periods. For one resit session I had to produce 182 properly formatted examination papers.

Since 1996 I have acted as the University Mace Bearer at Graduation following an invitation from the Ceremonial Officer. This became a regular job and I have now completed 392 such ceremonies at the London Guildhall, at Southwark Cathedral, at the Methodist Central Hall and at the Barbican Centre.

Have there been any challenges along the way?
Probably my most challenging time at the University occurred in 2004 when the new computer system SITS was introduced. While far superior to the old system, I found the new system so complicated that it became impossible to use without experts being involved. It was a shame because SITS was obviously an improvement, but I felt the way it was introduced left a lot to be desired.

How has it felt to see thousands of City students graduate over the years?
It always gives me a sense of pride to represent the University every time I take part in graduation ceremonies. There is something magical about being watched by people all over the world, either in person or virtually.

Even when at different venues, the ceremonies are almost identical. But the occasional ‘problem’, such as a rolling mace one time at the Barbican Centre and a fire evacuation at the Guildhall, all add to the experience of taking part in such grand events.

What has been the stand-out highlight of your career at City?
There have been two real highlights of my career at City. One was the occasion when I played the organ for a graduation ceremony at St Bartholomew-the-Great Church in Smithfield, to several hundred people. I felt very important as I knew if anything went wrong it would be noticed. As it happened, everything went particularly well.

The other highlight was being congratulated by the Examination Board Chairman after each board meeting after my spreadsheets had been considered, following months of work to get them finalised.

And a highlight from your life outside City?
Having gone as far as I wanted to in engineering, I started to concentrate on working towards a degree in music. I took postal lessons and then private lessons at Trinity College of Music. I consider appearing in front of the Queen Mother at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971 to be the highlight of my life. After that, I took several music diplomas and ended up with one either for teaching or general musicianship from each of the major London music colleges.

What does City mean to you in a few words?
Having worked for only two organisations in my career, the General Electric Company for three years, and City for sixty, it is no surprise that I consider City to be the place which has provided the most significant influence on my life. I have gained so many skills at City which I have appreciated so much.

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020

Alumni Notice Board.

Each year, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list recognises the achievements and services of people across the UK, from all walks of life. City is delighted to announce and congratulate our ten alumni and staff who have been recognised for their commitment to various services in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List 2020.

Professor Caroline Alexander   
Group Chief Nursing Officer
Barts Health NHS Trust
Honorary Doctor of Science, 2017
CBE for services to Nursing

Ms Natalie Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
Blu Water Ltd
PG Dip Television Current Affairs Journalism, 2009
MBE for services to Social Entrepreneurship and Business

Ms Carrie A Deacon
Head of Social Action Innovation
NESTA
MSc Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, 2014
MBE for services to Social Action during Covid-19

Mr Thomas M Drew
Head of Counter Terrorism
Faculty
MA Newspaper Journalism, 2008
OBE for public service

Mr Alan R McCarthy
Chairman
Western Sussex Hospitals
MBA Engineering Management, 1991
MBE for services to the NHS

Ms Una McCrann
Speciality Lead Feeding Disorder Practitioner
Great Ormond Street NHS Hospital for Children
Dip Nursing, 2000
MBE for services to Nursing

Rabbi David Meyer
Executive Director
Partnership for Jewish Schools
MBA Marketing MBA, 1992
OBE for services to Education

Ms Neeta Patel
CEO
New Entrepreneurs Foundation
MBA Marketing 1995
CBE for services to Entrepreneurship and Technology

Mr Graham A Race
Accessible Aviation Expert
Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People
PG Dip Voluntary Sector Management, 2003
MBE for services to Overcoming Disability Barriers in Aviation

Professor Lorna Woods
Professor of Internet Law
University Of Essex
Former Staff
OBE For services to Internet Safety Policy

Exercising Ethically

Alumni Notice Board, Alumni Stories, Cass Business School News.

In the dawn of the paper straw and the reusable coffee cup, it’s no surprise that Gareth Evans (MBA, 2017) and his business partner Joe Lines, saw a gap in the market for truly sustainable, high performing, ethical activewear. Here Gareth tells the story of his new venture Peak+Flow; activewear that is kind to the earth but tough enough for your weekly HITT session.

Can you tell me about your time at Cass?

When I decided to study an MBA, I had a very clear goal of leaving my career in sales, and wanted to develop a deeper understanding of how businesses work. I didn’t know what field I wanted to move into precisely, but I felt that an MBA would help me to explore my options.

Cass Business School ticked all the right boxes for me due to its excellent London location, which was near my work and home. Plus, the fact that it offered an Executive MBA programme allowed me to fit study around my busy work schedule.

What happened after you graduated?

The day I handed in my Business Mastery Project, my company changed my role, so I achieved my aim of getting out of sales on the very day I finished the programme; a brilliant return on my investment.

Since then I have, along with my business partner, gone on to grow a consulting practice and also to launch a new sustainable activewear company, Peak+Flow.

How did Peak+Flow come about?

Gareth and Joe

 

Peak+Flow was born out of three simple realisations which developed over time:

Most activewear was created using materials that were damaging to the planet. Our options were to either buy from established brands who occasionally pay lip-service to sustainability, or end up with hessian-type clothing which didn’t perform.

Secondly, we saw activewear as a category being dragged increasingly towards fast-fashion: resulting in clothing that was over logo-ed, over-designed and released faster than necessary to the consumer. Not everyone wants to walk around advertising a brand in fluorescent yellow.

Lastly, we spent time researching brands and companies manufacturing activewear and found a lack of transparency and purpose. We believe many consumers see through the gigantic advertising budgets and would like to see a company delivering on values that people care deeply about.

The result of these was both of us asking how would you build a company that would ethically create sustainable clothing.

What has been the biggest challenge?

We knew when we set out it was going to be very challenging, and it still is.

While sustainability and ethical manufacturing are being discussed more and more today, when we started out two years ago it wasn’t so common. It was a challenge trying to find suppliers and partners that met the standards required, while we are selves were trying to establish our principles at the same time as learning about the industry. Quality and function have always been paramount but equal to sustainability and ethical production.

It is challenging as a new business to find partners that will work with you, and you multiply that when your demands surpass that of nearly everyone in the industry.

What has been the most rewarding experience?

Seeing the response that people have had to the brand, both online and at the trade shows we have done. Hearing people tell us that this is what they have been waiting for is very rewarding after a 2-year journey.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

It is going to take longer than you think, and that is ok.

Enjoy the journey and realise that no one wants it to go as quickly as you do.

 

Peak+Flow is currently fundraising via Kickstarter. To find out more and support the cause, please visit: kck.st/2Rn1Jzh

You can also follow them on Instagram: @peakandflow

 

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018

Alumni Notice Board, City News.


Congratulations to the following alumni and staff who have all been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018

Mr Huw Thomas
Auditor General For Wales, Wales Audit Office
Administrative Sciences MBA, 1971
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
For services to Public Audit and Accountability in Wales.

Mr James Law
Professor of Speech & Language Sciences, Newcastle University
PhD Clinical Communication Studies, 1993
Order of the British Empire
For services to Speech and Language Therapy.

Professor Jane Marshall
Divisional Lead – LCS, City, University of London
PhD Speech and Language Science
Order of the British Empire
For services to Education in Health Sciences.

Dame Janet Vitmayer
Former Chief Executive Officer, Horniman Museum & Gardens
MA Museums and Gallery Administration, 1990
Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire
For services to Museums and diversity.

Professor Jennifer Temkin
Professor, The City Law School, City, University of London
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
For services to Criminal Justice.

Dr Kathryn Adie
Presenter (former chief correspondent for BBC News), BBC Radio 4
Honorary Doctor of Letters, 1989
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
For services to Media.

Professor Kenneth Grattan
Dean of Graduate School, City, University of London
Order of the British Empire
For services to the Science.

Ms Mary Morley
Director of Therapies, South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust
MHM Health Management, 1998
Order of the British Empire
For services to Occupational Therapy.

Dr Ruth Caleb
Chair, Mental Wellbeing in Higher Education
MA Psychotherapy and Counselling, 1996
Member of the British Empire
For services to Higher Education.

Mr Thomas Ilube
CEO/Founder, Crossword Cybersecurity
Finance MBA, 1988
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
For services to Technology and Philanthropy.

Professor Tong Sun
Senior Lecturer, SEMS, City, University of London
BEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering, 1999
Order of the British Empire
For services to Engineering.

Image credit: royalcorrespondent.com

New Year’s Honours list 2018

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have all been named in the New Year’s Honours list 2018:

Mr Raymond J Long
Programme Director Department for Work and Pensions
MSc Business Systems Analysis and Design 1989
Companion of the Order of the Bath – For services to Government and the Public Sector.

Mrs Elizabeth L Dymond
Finance Director, Charity for Civil Servants
PG Dip Charity Accounting and Financial Management 2015
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For public service

Dr Susan Hampshire
Honorary Doctor of Letters 1984
Commander of the Order of the British Empire – Actress. For services to Drama and to charity.

Mr Robert Swannell
Chairman UK Government Investments
Bar Vocational Course 1976
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For services to the Public, Retail and Financial Sectors.

Mr Anthony E Timpson
Former Conservative Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich, House of Commons (former Minister of State for Children and Families)
Professional Legal Skills 1998
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire – For public and parliamentary service.

Professor Alan J Giles
Non-Executive Director Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Cass – Visiting Professor
Order of the British Empire – For services to UK Business and the Economy

Dr Mehool H Sanghrajka MBE
Managing Director, Jarvis-Mpc Systems Limited
BSc Business Computing Systems 1989
Member of the British Empire – For services to the Jain Faith and Education

Mr Harry Bibring
MSc Manufacturing Technology 1975
Medallist of the Order of the British Empire – For services to Holocaust Education.

Ms Sabrina Francis
Social Media Officer, City, University of London
Member of the British Empire – For services to the University of London.

Sir Andrew Parmley
Member, Guildhall Members’ Room
Hon DSc Honorary Master of Science 2017
Knight Batchelor – Lately Lord Mayor of London. For services to Music, Education and Civic Engagement.

Image credit: thegazette.co.uk

City Alumni 2017 Round-up

Alumni Notice Board.

From Journalism at 40 to the official opening of City’s new main entrance, we’ve collated 10 of the best social media posts of 2017, capturing some of our most exciting occasions this year:

The official opening of the new entrance

 

1951 Nostalgia

 

Our THELMA nomination

 

UK oldest man


 

Journalism at 40

 

Graduation

 

Alumni Stories

 

NYC student send-off

 

City Magazine 2017

 

Alumni Masterclasses

Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have all been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017

Mr Nicholas P Baldwin

Chairman, Office for Nuclear Regulation,

BSc Mechanical Engineering 1975

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

For services to Nuclear Safety and Security and to the charitable sector.

 

Ms Anna M Richardson

Research Officer, The Home Office (Hampshire)

MSc Advanced Social Research Methods 2000

Officer of the Order of the British Empire

For services to Drugs and Alcohol Evidence-based Policy.

 

Mr Adrian B Turpin

Director, Wigtown Book Festival

PG Dip Periodical Journalism 1992

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

For services to Literature and the Economy in Wigtownshire.

 

Dame Stephanie Shirley

DSc Honorary Doctor of Science 1999

Companion of Honour

For services to the IT Industry and Philanthropy.

 

Dame Beryl Grey

DL Honorary Doctor of Letters 1974

Companions of Honour

For services to Dance.

 

Sir Mark J Boleat

Chairman, Link Scheme Ltd

Knight Bachelor

For services to the Financial Services Industry and to Local Government in London.

 

Sir John Low

Chief Executive Charities Aid Foundation

Member of Council

Knights Bachelor

For charitable services.

 

Image credit: chroniclelive.co.uk

British Council Study UK Alumni Awards 2017

Alumni Notice Board.

Congratulations to the following alumni who have won a British Council Study UK Alumni Award:

Egypt

Professional Achievement Award: Sherif Hefni (PG Dip. Professional Legal Skills, 2010)

Malaysia

Entrepreneurial Award: Mary-Ann Ooi Suan Kim (Bar Vocational Course, 2007)

Read more about Mary-Ann.

Mexico

Professional Achievement Award: Dr Jorge Sigal Sefchovich (PhD Music, 2003)

 

Image credit: @StudyUK.BritishCouncil

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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