Latest News

Congratulations to VC Peter Horrocks

AOUG would like to offer our sincere congratulations to the recent Inauguration of Vice–Chancellor Peter Horrocks. Peter used the platform at the Milton Keynes Graduation Ceremony to promote the importance of Part Time study and requested that all graduates be ambassadors for the OU and promote the value of study with the Open University. It was a wonderful day and a great honour for the Chairman to be present.

Research Students’ success

On the 2nd October AOUG were delighted to present The Foundation for Education Research Awards to five Open University PhD students who are in their final year of study. AOUG criteria dictates that they must have completed their first degree with The Open University. They were all nominated by their supervisors, and you can read more about each student on the Research Awards web page. We wish them all success on finishing their studies. Thanks to all their Supervisors, friends and family who came to support them.

Neurolaw – by Paul Catley

AOUG members were delighted to receive a lecture given by Paul Catley, Head of The Open University Law School in the afternoon of 2nd October. It was entitled ‘Neurolaw - heralding a new era for law or a damp squib?’ The Lecture was extremely interesting and provided a well balanced approach to the value of neuroscience i.e. the behaviour of the brain and its impact on criminal acts and posed the thought do we have freewill. A great vote of thanks to Paul for a very stimulating and thought provoking lecture.

Sad loss of Sir John Horlock

It is with great sadness that AOUG reports the news that Sir John Horlock, who was the Vice-Chancellor at the time of AOUG’s foundation, has died. He saw the potential in having an Association of Open University Graduates and deployed Peter Price and Roger Walters to work with our Steering Committee led by Olga Camm to design the format that most suited the graduates’ enthusiasm and the OU’s need for independent ambassadors. Sir John presented a scroll to Olga at our official launch at the OU Open Day in June 1988 and together with Olga, planted our beech tree on the Mulberry lawn.

Sir John Horlock enabled the introduction of a taught postgraduate Masters programme and oversaw the opening of the Business School. He passed away on 22nd May and there will be a Thanksgiving Service for his life at Ampthill Baptist Church, Ampthill MK45 2JS at 3pm on Friday 19th June. All former colleagues are most welcome to attend and AOUG encourages any AOUG founder members who are able to attend, to do so, in respect for our great sense of gratitude to his support of AOUG.  The OU flag will be flown at half-mast on 19th June in his memory. 

Facebook and Twitter set up

Association of Open University Graduates now have a Corporate Facebook account and in less than a month have a score of 140 ‘likes’. We are including a Diary Date section and will shortly have a set of photo albums to view about various AOUG activities. News is being included about various OU activities and individual departments, as well as information from OUSA. There is the opportunity to comment on existing posts or to post something new for yourself. You can also write a review on the page. Link from the Facebook symbol at the bottom of our Homepage and join in the discussions.

Then less than two weeks ago we started a Twitter account @theAOUG and this is also starting to take off with the OU Office in Wales already advertising us. Become a follower and find out what AOUG and your Chairman are up to each day.

AOUG election results

We are pleased to welcome back to the Executive Committee, Margaret Stobirski as Chairman, Pam Pearce as Publicity Officer, Ramsey Hertzog as Executive Representative for the East Midlands (05) and Jean McKenna as Executive Representative for the North (09). Marion Corns is also welcomed as a co-opted Executive Representative for the North West (08). Peter Williams, the previous North West Executive Representative, was thanked for his service after completing his three year Term of Office. 

In addition the Committee formally welcomed our new employee Tami Davey to her role as AOUG Clerical Assistant.

EC celebrates 100 meetings

The Executive Committee celebrated their one hundredth committee meeting at the Celtic Royal Hotel in Caerrnarfon during the AGM/Social Weekend. Three or four committee meetings have been held each year since AOUG’s formation and the Committee celebrated with cakes in the shape of the number hundred during their meeting coffee break. The Association itself is now in its twenty seventh year. Special Association celebrations we held in 2009 for our 21st and in 2013 for our 25th and so by comparison, the committee celebration was a significant but low key event. We are now looking forward to the Association’s 30th Anniversary.

A New Vice-Chancellor

After the departure of Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, Professor Tim Blackman is acting Vice-Chancellor. Tim has been working at the University since 2011 when he took up the position of Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Scholarship, and Quality. He states that “he is immensely proud of our high quality research and courses”. Tim will make sure that the transition period is smooth in readiness for the Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks. Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks takes up his Office on 5th May 2015.

Peter’s current role is at the BBC where he is the Executive in charge of global news operations which includes the World Service. Peter joined the BBC in 1981 after graduating at Cambridge. In his BBC career he set up the BBC Multimedia Operation and became Director of the World Service in 2009. His post of BBC Global news was taken up in 2010. The BBC Global News has now been renamed as the World Service Group.

Peter Horrocks stated that “The Open University had been making life changing differences to hundreds of thousands of people by providing them, by distance learning, an education which may otherwise have been unobtainable.” He ends his statement by “calling it an honour to join the organisation” AOUG Officers look forward to meeting him early in his post.

Baroness Lane-Fox installed as Chancellor

Baroness Lane-Fox was installed on Wednesday 10th September 2014 as the new Chancellor of The Open University at the morning Degree Ceremony at the Milton Keynes Theatre. In addition to all the many new graduates and their families, the event was attended by OU senior staff members, members of OU Senate and members of OU Council. The procession party of over seventy meant that the VIPS filled not only the stage but several extra rows in the auditorium. Our AOUG Chairman, Margaret Stobirski and our previous AOUG Chairman, Ramsey Hertzog, were part of this prestigious event.

Martin Bean's Campus Open House

Following the morning Degree Ceremony at Milton Keynes on Wednesday 10th September, Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, invited the VIP guests from the installation of Baroness Lane-Fox, back to campus for a special lunch. Prior to this the VIPs were shown around campus and were taken to see Martin's Open House event which showcased elements of the life of the university with displays from many of the Faculties, Alumni, OUSA and AOUG.

This showcase was originally designed for new graduates and their families to attend in the late afternoon after the second of the Milton Keynes Degree Ceremonies had been extended and allows Martin's guests to get a flavour of the different aspects of The Open University's work. AOUG are honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of this prestigious occasion.

Martin Bean is moving on

After five years leading The Open University the Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, is demitting Office at the end of 2014. Martin is leaving The Open University to make a return to his own home town of Melbourne where he will take up office as a Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT University.

Martin has thanked staff for their 'collective passion', hard work and dedication. He also paid tribute to the University's achievement during his time in office, and its transformative power in peoples' lives across the World.

Lord Haskin The Open University's Pro Chancellor said, “Under Martin's direction we have made excellent progress in tackling the issues facing the University and he has shown great strategic judgment and vigorous implementation.”

The AOUG have always found Martin very approachable, informative and supportive. We will continue to work with him until the end of his Term of Office in December. We wish to thank him for his support and wish him well in his endeavours as he takes up his new post across the World.

Trudi de Haney to Retire

AOUG sends our best wishes to Trudi de Haney, known to many of our long- standing members, who is to retire shortly. We have worked for many years with Trudi and thank her for her support and wish her a long and healthy retirement.

On 3rd June a celebration was held in honour of Trudi de Haney’s forthcoming retirement on 31st July. Trudi has worked as General Manager of The Open University Students Association for many years and has made a valuable contribution to the OUSA and OU working relationship. The event was attended by Marianne Cantieri, President of OUSA and Will Swann, an AOUG Honorary Life Member, and retired OU Director Students, was a special guest. The occasion was marked by Trudi planting a rose bush in Walton Hall rose garden. This was followed by lunch in the Mulberry Suite.

OUSA elects a new President

At the 2014 OUSA conference held in June, Ruth Tudor was elected OUSA’s President. AOUG look forward to developing a positive working relationship with Ruth and the rest of the OUSA Executive.




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