More than 200 alumni and guests joined President Alice Gast and senior College leaders for an annual celebration with a spectacular view over London.
For the first time, the College and Business School came together to jointly host the celebration. Guests gathered at the Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden at the top of the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ building on Fenchurch Street.
Welcoming alumni to the event, Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of the Business School, attributed much of the School’s success to its unique positioning, based within the heart of Imperial College London. He said the School’s strength lay in its collaboration across the College, referring to a meeting that same morning to discuss bringing experts in finance and climate change together to tackle global problems.
Professor Veloso has spent the past year travelling around the world to host alumni gatherings and share the Business School's ten-year strategy, and had just returned from events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. He described the sense of community he had experienced, and how he had been welcomed, not just by Business School alumni, but by the wider alumni community as well.
President Alice Gast welcomed guests to the spectacular venue, emphasising the importance of alumni to the College and sharing recent College news as a welcome antidote in "turbulent times":
“It’s wonderful to have such a vibrant alumni community. You get a lot out of being connected with the College, but you also get a lot out of being connected with each other. It’s so important to come together at times like these, when there is so much uncertainty in the world. We need to be connected with one another now, more than ever.
"Imperial College London is thriving despite these uncertainties. Instead of waking up every day and tuning into all the bad news, we can all turn to the Imperial headlines. It’s energising to hear about the great discoveries, the great things our students are doing and the great innovations happening.”
President Gast summarised a year of achievements, breakthroughs and collaboration across the College, from the recent launch of J-IDEA, a new rapid-response research centre to predict and prevent global health crises, to the first cohort from the Dyson School of Design Engineering who had graduated in the Royal Albert Hall the previous week.
She spoke about Imperial's work throughout the solar system and introduced guests to Professor Michele Dougherty, Head of the Department of Physics. Professor Dougherty is the principal investigator for the magnetometer for the JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission, due to launch in 2022.
President Gast also spoke about Imperial’s position as the UK’s most international university, mentioning a recent collaboration to establish data clusters with with France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Germany’s Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
Leading an alumni network
Michael Barker (MBA 2002) is on the committee of Imperial’s Healthcare Professional Interest Network for alumni. A long-term volunteer for the College, Michael joined the Business School’s Alumni Advisory Board before launching the Business School healthcare network with fellow alumnus Ian Manovel (MSc Health Management 2004). Eight years on and Michael is a driving force behind the new healthcare network, open to all Imperial alumni.
“Healthcare is a people business – it’s about touch, care and listening. We want to find out how tech is influencing the industry, how it’s helping and where it might be hindering progress. We like to set a controversial topic for discussion and bring in really interesting speakers to debate each side of the argument.”
The next panel discussion, ‘Is AI the end of healthcare?’ takes place on Thursday 28 November. Book tickets for this event.
Transforming patient care
NHS GP, Dr Gabrielle Macaulay (MBBS 2012), is on the cusp of launching Dr Gabi Clinic, a private GP service which will balance traditional and lifestyle medicines to provide a holistic service. She wants to build relationships with her patients, taking the time to understand them and presenting them with options. Her treatment plans will include elements such as nutrition or yoga.
“GPs started out this way, but now it’s more about the speed of access to healthcare. There isn’t the continuity of care. Chronic diseases are increasing, and our lifestyles are one of the key reasons for that. I want to treat mind, body and spirit.”
Gabi was enjoying the opportunity to catch up with former classmate, Dr Kelvin Yan, who is currently developing an app.
Naiomi Tamakloe and Nausheen Qureshi (both Biochemistry 2004) were also reunited at the event, meeting up for the first time in several years.
Naiomi is now a science teacher at a secondary school in South London, a career path she attributes to Imperial. During her degree, Naiomi was part of the Aim Higher scheme, designed to encourage school students to take science subjects and then to apply to Imperial. It was this programme that sparked her passion for helping younger people. “I really enjoyed my undergraduate degree at Imperial. It was tough but very rewarding. I knew research wasn’t for me and I wanted to become a teacher”.
Nausheen is a skincare biochemist who has developed beauty products in the UK and internationally.
“Not everyone in the skincare industry has qualifications. I think having one gives you credibility. People are developing technology for the next smartphone and a cure for cancer. Why not skincare? The technology behind it is changing”
In her speech to alumni and guests, Professor Alice Gast spoke about the microbiome. This struck a chord with Nausheen. “The skin has its own microbiome and we have to look after it. We’ve made so many discoveries in just the last two years alone.”
A full gallery of photos can be found on the Imperial alumni Facebook page.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
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