Imperial College London

Dedicated staff celebrated at Imperial Garden Party


President Alice Gast at Imperial Garden Party

President Alice Gast praises staff at the Imperial Garden Party

This year’s Wimbledon-themed Imperial Garden Party served up a celebration for over 300 members of staff and students.

Staff were nominated by Heads of Department and their peers for demonstrating exceptional work or service in the past year. Staff who have received internal accolades such as the President’s Awards for Excellence in Education, Research, and Societal Engagement collected their certificates from President Alice Gast in a ceremony held in the Great Hall before the Garden Party. Winners of the Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Health and Safety were also invited to attend. 

Staff enjoy food at Garden PartyGuests enjoyed a selection of culinary treats and were entertained by Imperial’s student string quartet.

President Alice Gast hosted the event for the third year and praised those staff and students who have gone above and beyond in their roles.

In her address to attendees, she said: 

“All of you share something in common: a commitment to Imperial, to excellence, and to one another. You hold yourselves to the highest standards, and set the bar very high for yourselves. Your contributions are essential. Thank you for all your good work."

We spoke to some of the staff recognised at the Imperial Garden Party this year. 

Unsung hero: Michael St Clair Laing

Michael St Clair LaingMichael coordinated elements of the Imperial Festival this year for the Estates Operations team and ensured the event ran smoothly. He said: 

“Our hard work paid off as Imperial Festival was a success. I worked with the Festival Manager and the Estates team to provide technical support, such as managing the construction and breakdown of marquees, ensuring the right amount of electrical power was provided to each site and making sure the College’s security team knew their roles and responsibilities.” 

Championing women in business: Professor Ileana Stigliani 

Professor Ileana StiglainiProfessor Stigliani, of Imperial’s Business School, placed first in the 2018 Poets and Quants’ Top 40 under 40 Business Professors after receiving a record 135 nominations for one given professor. She has also led and contributed to the Business School’s strategy development as well as its White City working group, and champions gender equality across her work. 

Professor Stigliani says it was a "great honour" to be invited to the Garden Party. She added:

“It was a big accomplishment for me - it proves that having goals is important. It’s fantastic that the College is acknowledging our hard work and achievements.

“For me, it is important to stand up for other women too, not just myself. The business sector draws more men than women, and I want to encourage and support more female leadership.

"I was also incredibly honoured to be listed in the Poets and Quants’ Top 40 under 40 list. I was very surprised to have received so many nominations and place first on this list. I didn’t anticipate it at all, but I am humbled by the amazing feedback from students at Imperial.”

Wellbeing champions: Occupational Health team 

The College’s Occupational Health team have been recognised for supporting staff travel overseas in good health and creating a sense of unity and belonging at the College.

Ela Carter and Nuala Kearney from the team reflected on their success at the Garden Party. 

“It feels really special to be acknowledged. We work very hard throughout the year to provide a good service to staff, so it is great to receive praise.

Our biggest success came from our Mental Health Awareness Week campaign in May, in which we introduced Sleepio to the College. We received really good feedback and had great attendance at the events we organised for staff. 

“It feels really special to be acknowledged." Occupational Health team

"Another important part of our work and part of the reason we were nominated is for supporting staff with their travel health requirements, ensuring they are vaccinated before they travel overseas for work.”

Young Global Changer: Dr Diego Oyarzún 

Diego OyurzunDr Oyarzún, Department of Mathematics, was selected as one of the 100 Young Global Changers by the Think 20 Summit in 2017, mandated by the G20 presidency. He was also appointed to a prestigious Global Future Council Fellowship from the World Economic Forum. He said:

“It was very exciting to be recognised at the Garden Party. The ecosystem at Imperial is very large and diverse, and it’s nice to see the College take an interest in our success. 

It was fascinating to visit Berlin last year for the T20 summit and to offer my expert advice on key emerging technologies. I enjoyed helping to shape the future agenda on a global platform, and was humbled to be one of the few UK representatives and the only one from my home country, Chile.” 


Martha Salhotra

Martha Salhotra
Communications and Public Affairs

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