Bristol in the Americas
newsletter for Bristol alumni in North America
Vice-Chancellor tours US Welcome
This year marks
and Canada for centenary the University’s
centenary and a
number of you
will have attended
events in Bristol to
mark the occasion,
providing the opportunity to meet up
with old friends. We’ll also be holding
centenary celebrations in Canada and the
east and west coasts of the US, hosted
by the Vice-Chancellor. What better
opportunity to get together with fellow
alumni and make new acquaintances?
Bristol’s strong connections around the
world are part of what makes it such a
great institution. Its academic ties with
North American universities are many
and varied; these institutions are favourite
San Francisco, California locations for Bristol students undertaking
study abroad; many current Bristol
This year celebrates the University be local to each event. To book your University students are US or Canadian
of Bristol’s centenary. To mark place, please go to citizens and, of course, North America
this occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, www.bristol.ac.uk/alumni/events. hosts the largest community of alumni
Professor Eric Thomas (Hon LLD outside the UK. This issue of Bristol in
2004), is embarking on an international North America tour dates: the Americas profiles scholars, students
tour, which includes several stops in and alumni who typify these connections.
the US and Canada. 22 September – San Fransciso, USA I hope you enjoy reading about them.
City Club, 155 Sansome St, 10th Floor
This series of events represents a I wish you all a great summer and look
unique opportunity for alumni based in 24 September – Vancouver, Canada forward to seeing you at our centenary
North America to hear first hand about Simon Frazer University celebrations in the autumn.
Bristol today and its plans for the future,
and to get together with other Bristol 26 September – Toronto, Canada Jim Rucker (BSc 1978)
alumni. The events will include talks University of Guelph Director, University of Bristol Foundation Inc
by Professor Thomas and there will be Co-hosted by Dr Alastair Summerlee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
plenty of time for informal socialising. (BSc 1974, Hon LLD 2004), President,
Directors, University of Bristol Foundation Inc:
University of Guelph
Jane Camblin (BA 1973) (email@example.com);
All alumni are welcome to attend, Louise Pitt (BA 1996) (firstname.lastname@example.org);
whether they live locally or are just 1 October – New York City, USA Geoffrey Rowley (BA 1953)
passing through. The Water Club, 500 East 30th St (email@example.com);
Wendy Vandame (BSc 1974)
We will send invitation letters with full We look forward to seeing as many of (firstname.lastname@example.org).
details to those alumni we know to you as possible. Local Convenors:
John Binsted (BA 1954)
John Bull (BSc 1958) (email@example.com);
Tony East (BSc 1959) (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Dr John Weaver (BSc 1953) (email@example.com).
Bristol in the Americas
Reunion round-up Study Abroad
ONTARIO Tory Ribar, Study Abroad Officer, reports.
A Lake Ontario getaway from 12-14
September 2008 began with a Bristol welcomed 135 Study tucking into turkey, stuffing,
Friday paddle-boat cruise, followed Abroad students from 13 veggies and the all-important
by a Saturday evening reception countries in 2008-09, including pumpkin pie. Those who had
and banquet, with a Harvey’s Bristol 85 from Canadian and American never experienced a Thanksgiving
Cream sherry toast. Chairman of universities. Our spring semester learned what it’s all about from
Convocation, Dr Stuart Goldsmith programme continues to be those who were away from home
(BA 1966, Hon LLD 2007), and his popular, with over 50 students for the first time.
wife, Elinor, were guests of honour. arriving in January.
Close to 50 Bristol students will
BRITISH COLUMBIA Once again we tried to bring a spend a semester or year abroad
On 20 September 2008, alumni taste of home to Bristol during in Canada or the US in 2009-10
based in Western Canada chatted our annual Thanksgiving dinner. as part of their degree, following
and reminisced over bangers and Over 60 students from North in the footsteps of the 35
mash, fish and chips, Newcastle America and further afield sat students abroad in 2008-09.
Brown Ale and Boddington’s. An down to dinner in The Hawthorns,
evening reception and dinner –
again, attended by Dr Goldsmith
and his wife – attracted nearly 60
alumni and guests.
Alumni gathered on 17 January
2009 at Santa Monica’s King’s Head
to mingle and meet guests Dr John
Weaver (BSc 1953), Convenor for
British Columbia, and Professor
Nick Lieven, Dean of Engineering
and Professor of Aerospace Dynam-
ics. Professor Lieven highlighted the
University’s medical breakthroughs
in stem cell research, developments in
computer science and the student
enterprise project ‘Engineers
Without Borders’ (inspired by
Médecins Sans Frontières).
From Philly to Bristol
Kristen first came to Bristol tried to navigate from Hiatt Baker
On 14 May 2009, more than 20 from Philadelphia in 2004 Hall, across the Downs, to the
alumni attended a lecture by Dr
as a Study Abroad student, Students’ Union.
Mike Benton on ‘The greatest mass
having left her home university
extinction of all time’, organised by
to spend a semester studying Now, five years later, Kristen
Jim Rucker (BSc 1978) and hosted
English literature in England. calls Bristol home and works
by Stephen Lloyd (BA 1972).
in the International Office in the
Almost immediately, she fell in Students’ Union building, helping
New York drinks are scheduled for
love with the city of Bristol, its outgoing students to organise
the last Thursday of every month,
docks, hills and music. Finding their years abroad and incoming
from 6pm at O’Casey’s, 22 East
her way around wasn’t easy at students to feel welcome as well
41st St. Contact Jim Rucker or
Wendy Vandame (BSc 1974) for first; she remembers getting lost as how to find their way around
details. for three hours the first time she Bristol.
Journalism and the Big Apple
BBC broadcaster Caroline Hepker (BA 2000) on breaking into TV, the mad
dash for a story and why her profession is like a sofa …
At university, I was fascinated by of much smarter, more intrepid – looking for a foreign posting or
politics and business but I also interviewees (notable catalysts a name in print or documentary
loved to talk. My Spanish language include Nobel Prize-winning film-funding – multiplies like twitter
professor gave me the solution. economists). Sometimes it works messages, and yet the jobs in
Today, I cover Wall Street news for in your favour; occasionally you the industry are disappearing.
the BBC based in Manhattan. feel as if you’ve fallen flat on to a Newspapers and magazines are
concrete pavement. moving wholly online or simply
Most days I write and record TV folding. TV and web are meshing.
news reports with an Australian The job is physically demanding But technology is your friend: the
cameraman in New York City. too. Work could have been a more you know about it, the better
My work is increasingly tri-media grey office and a perpetual round off you’ll be.
– television, radio and online. of meetings. My life is more
It takes me all over the US, unpredictable and more sociable; Finally, a word of advice on
giving me opportunities to meet when a big story breaks everyone applying for jobs; even in a
people from all walks of life, runs and I love the mad dash. recession, opportunities are out
from Wisconsin cheese-makers there. Don’t be discouraged if
to Microsoft’s Chief Executive. Like all reporters, I find myself you get turned down at first. I
I feel very lucky to have had a obsessed with the weather. Radio remember trying to break into
ring-side seat, commenting on and print journos rarely need to television towards the end of
the worst economic crisis in 60 look good hunting down a story. my studies. The BBC came
years and witnessing the historic Standing drenched in a rain- to Bristol University’s Careers
election of Barack Obama to the soaked field in Detroit a week ago, Fair and I applied for one of
White House. clinging to an overhead tarpaulin, their three prestigious Graduate
I did wonder what on earth I Traineeships. I did not get an
But as one friend put it, this was doing. Then I was on air interview but neither did most of
job is also about being a sofa – live outside Chrysler’s HQ as the the other 8,000 applicants that
functional, a support to others company filled for bankruptcy – job year (yes, 8,000). But I ended
and occasionally overstuffed. I done. On screen you could barely up getting a job at the Beeb
cram news, memorising figures see it was raining. eventually. Some walls are there
to regurgitate at will. No-one tells to clamber over. And as an
you either about the gnawing For anyone studying or graduating adoptive New Yorker, I like to
angst that we eager news- soon, I would say two words: embrace America’s cherished
hounds live with – the fear of embrace technology. The crowd enthusiasm – if you really want it,
not knowing enough in the face of hopeful young journalism grads you can make it happen.
Bristol in the Americas
Bristol in the Americas
Bristol’s new Centre for Featured volunteer
Nanoscience and Quantum John Bull (BSc 1958) has pioneered a
Information (NSQI) is poised to reunion with a difference in Eastern
sign a partnership agreement Canada. He shares his tips and wisdom.
with the California NanoSystems In 2001, we were invited to a
Institute (CNSI), following a reunion in the US, which we
conference at the University of combined with a visit to my
California, Los Angeles in January. daughter in Charleston. At that
It is the first agreement of its type event it was suggested that I might
that the CNSI has made with a like to become more involved with
European university. Bristol alumni. So, with the help
of the Alumni Relations team in between 20 and 40 attendees
Linked by common academic Bristol, I emailed alumni in Eastern with spouses at each reunion. In
interests and a commitment to Canada to gauge interest and in 2007 I extended the event over a
interdisciplinary scientific research, 2002 I organised a reunion in my whole weekend in the Kawartha
the agreement will provide tangible home town, Guelph: lunch, a round Lakes region. It worked so well
benefits to NSQI and CNSI through of golf or tour of the arboretum, that we did it again last year at
joint research collaborations then dinner. The consensus was Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario.
and academic exchanges in that ‘We should do this again’, so a
nanoscience and nanotechnology. tradition was born. I have a group of people whom
I bounce ideas off. My wife
FULBRIGHT WINNER To encourage people to travel complains that I spend a long
PhD student Mike Shaw (2005- ) to an event, I think they should time at the computer, but it’s this
has gained a prestigious Fulbright have some ‘meat and potatoes’, interaction which makes things
Commission Distinguished so I lay on several activities with happen. Everyone who comes
Scholarship Award to carry out an overnight stay. Every year I do along always seems to enjoy it,
research at the Scripps Research something different. We get which makes it worthwhile.
Institute in California. See Nonesuch
Summer 2009 for the full story.
THANKS TO JOHN BINSTED There were three winners of a BA in Women’s and Gender
After 11 years, John Binsted (BA American scholarships this year, Studies and English Teaching,
1954) announced his retirement which are funded by alumni She says: ‘I chose Bristol
as a director of the University of donations. because it’s the only university
Bristol Foundation Inc at the AGM in the world with a MSc
on 3 July 2009. John has been Louisa Pittman, from South specialising in identity and the
assiduous in his participation Carolina, is completing an MA role contemporary society plays
at board meetings and, even in Maritime Archaeology. Louisa on its formation.’
on personal trips to the UK, spent eight years in the US
has made time to visit Bristol Merchant Marine, serving as both
and share his views on alumni crew and officer on historic tall
relations and fundraising in the US. ships, which inspired her interest
John has been unstinting in his in studying original ships and
commitment to keeping the Bristol wrecks. She’s starting a PhD in
spirit alive, and the annual West Bristol in September.
Coast events he has organised
have been a welcome addition to Colin Elliot, from Oregon, is
the calendar. Happily, John will studying for a Classics MPhil.
remain Convenor for Convocation ‘Studying in the UK was the right
(for which he was awarded the choice because much of the the
Convocation medal in 2002) but research, publications and scholars
his eagle eye for detail will be of the ancient economy are working
missed by the Foundation. in this country,’ he says.
Geoffrey Rowley (BA 1958), Top: Ashley Reichelmann
Chairman, University of Bristol At the College of New Jersey, Above left: Colin Elliot
Foundation Inc Ashley Reichelmann completed Above right: Louisa Pittman