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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.

Last Degree Ceremony in Versailles

Saturday 6th September saw the last of the Degree Ceremonies to be held in Europe for the foreseeable future and graduates and their families made the most of the occasion, on the warm sunny day, to parade around Versailles in their gowns and to pose in front of the many historic buildings. Once again AOUG was part of this event with Patricia Cowling our Local Contact for Europe processing along with Ramsey Hertzog. It was very rewarding for AOUG to also gain recognition by being invited to be part of the formal photo with the Honorary Graduate, Michael Morpurgo, writer of many books, including the now famous 'War Horse'.

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.

Annual reports on Forum

Each year attendees at the AGM weekend have received two booklets of Annual Reports on their arrival at the hotel but some of these members have stated that there was insufficient time to read these prior to the actual meetings and had requested a way to receive these in advance. Thus in 2013 the financial reports had been sent out electronically to the attendees two weeks in advance of the weekend. Full copies of all the reports have only been available to either attendees, or non attendees, on request by payment of a small price towards the cost of duplication. 
However this year is different as for the first time the full set of all Annual Reports are available for all members to read electronically on the Members` Only Forum. If you have not already joined the Forum. click on the word Forum at the bottom of this website Home Page and sign up today.

EC Election Results announced

The Count for the elections of the new Executive Committee members took place on Wednesday 30th April and the successful candidates will take up their positions from immediately after the AGM meetings at the Noke Thistle Hotel, St. Albans on Saturday 17th May 2014. These new members will be invited to attend their first Executive Committee meeting in the afternoon of the same day. Full results of these elections will be announced at the AGM in St Albans but will also be posted on the Members` Only Forum as soon as all the candidates have themselves been notified.

New OU Pro Chancellor

The OU has appointed Richard Gillingwater CBE as its new Pro-Chancellor, replacing Baron Haskins of Skidby who completes his term of office at the end of 2014 after 10 years in the role.

Richard is Chairman of Henderson Global Investors and also acts a non-executive Director for a number of organisations including WM Morrison Supermarkets and Scottish & Southern Energy. He is also a trustee of the Board of the British Council and has previously been Dean of the Cass Business School.

As Pro-Chancellor of The OU, he will be responsible for chairing the OU’s governing body, the Council, and will sit on the University’s Finance, Membership, Remuneration, Strategic Planning and Resources, and Development Committees. He will also play a key role in promoting the University’s external reputation and in influencing major external stakeholders both nationally and internationally and occasionally officiate as Chief Presiding Officer at degree ceremonies.

The role also provides strategic direction, support, guidance and constructive challenge to the University’s Executive. Richard will take up the role from 1 January 2015.

The appointment of Mr Gillingwater was approved by the University’s Council on 11 March 2014 for an initial term of four years. The role is unremunerated.

Martha Lane Fox appointed as Chancellor of the OU

The OU has appointed Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho as its new Chancellor, succeeding Lord Puttnam who is stepping down after more than seven years in the role.

Martin Bean, said: "Just like the OU, Martha has always been a tireless advocate for all things digital, constantly working to unleash the incredible power of technology to transform and improve the way we live, work and study.  I would like to thank Lord Puttnam for his years of hard work and loyalty and look forward to welcoming Martha into this important role."

Martha Lane Fox has built her career around the digital world, making her mark as one of the founders of 

For more than four years she served as the government’s UK Digital Champion, leading a drive to get more people and services engaged with the online world.  In 2012 she launched a charity – Go ON UK – which aims to plug the digital skills gap among British adults. 

Last year she joined the House of Lords and recently led a debate on the 25th anniversary of the world wide web.

The appointment was approved by a joint meeting of the University’s governing body, the Council and the Senate at a meeting on Tuesday 11 March.  The Chancellor is the public face of the university, acting as an ambassador with supporters around the world and attending degree ceremonies.

Martha said: "I have seen how technology can transform the way we do things – from shopping to socialising to studying. The Open University has an astonishing track-record of using of new and emerging technologies to make higher education available to all people around the world.  Its ethos of inclusion and access is something I respect hugely.  I am extremely excited about this appointment and can’t wait to start meeting students."

In addition to her work with the government, Martha has served on the boards of Channel 4 and Marks & Spencer and is patron of several charities.  She is also helping to finance the Women’s Prize for Fiction. 

Martha will be formally installed as Chancellor of the OU later this year and will take up her formal duties from September.

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