Association of Open University Graduates

Award Winners 2008

AOUG Foundation for Education Award
London - Region 01 - May 2008

AOUG were pleased, once again, to be able to make a presentation of the AOUG Foundation for Education Regional Award for the London region as part of the Open University Award ceremony that took place during Adult Learners Week in the London Regional Centre in Camden Town.

After a welcome drink, Rosemary Mayes, the OU Regional Director, introduced the proceedings which began with a short lecture on a fascinating project which was being undertaken into researching the life of Handel. This research work was actually based within the Regional Office. Only one worthwhile reference book has ever been produced on his life and that was published fifty years ago. Now the team were going back to original sources and not only finding many items of new evidence but had also discovered some errors in the original piece. We were party to not only an interesting insight accompanied by images of original written evidence of how much musicians were paid, what audiences thought of the performances, and letters containing the local gossip of what affairs might be going on behind the scenes, but also to extracts of the moving music.

Following the talk, London offered us its wonderful hospitality in the form of a superb buffet complete with a strawberry chocolate fondue. This I had to resist, as I still had a presentation to make and didn't think a jacket smeared in chocolate would look very professional. Then came the presentations to numerous worthy graduates but none more worthy than Matthew Pascoe who was receiving our AOUG award. The regional award is always given to a new graduate who has achieved their degree despite overcoming some form of adversity, over and above that of the average graduate. Matthew did not count himself as anything special and couldn't understand why he had been chosen. However having studied and passed four courses in his first year, Matthew had had to reluctantly reduce his second year's study to two courses as the firm he worked for had been taken over and his work now meant regular round trips to America, the Far East and back to London. He was surprised that we considered passing regularly through sixteen time zones whilst studying, an adversity!

The AOUG Regional Representative for London, Eric McKinnon, joined me in the presentation to Matthew when we were able to explain the background to the award and our pleasure at awarding it to Matthew. The evening then had one added bonus for Eric and myself, as we had the pleasure of watching one of our longstanding active AOUG London members receive an award from OU Alumni Relations for her voluntary work for the Open University. We are very pleased by our members' support for the Open University and especially proud as the Alumni Relations award for Volunteering in 2007 had also been presented to an AOUG member, a longstanding active member from the West Midlands region.

Jean Hertzog - Chairman