Innovation, achievement and the University’s unique campus atmosphere were all on show in a busy week celebrating Brunel’s 50th anniversary year.
Business leaders and successful alumni were invited to share in Brunel’s brilliant history before the week culminated in a huge staff garden party commemorating the University’s Royal Charter, awarded on 9 June 1966.
More than 300 guests from industry attended the Brunel Means Business dinner at London’s opulent Institution of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place. The event, held to celebrate the university’s many successful ties with the business community in the past five decades, included a keynote speech by former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who had earlier in the day shocked political commentators by choosing not to run for Tory leadership.
Mr Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and recently promoted to the role of foreign secretary, told the audience that Brunel’s achievements had enabled London to become the home of innovation, adding: “There’s a fantastic sense of bubbling invention here at Brunel.”
Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London, told attendees that only through continued close cooperation with business could Brunel make the most of the opportunities coming its way.
"The university has established a reputation for the quality and quantity of its engagement with business and I am confident that our founders would be greatly impressed with everything we've achieved," she said. “There are new challenges ahead and only through our enterprise, relevance and collaborative endeavour can we truly embrace our future."
Enterprise was the watchword for Brunel’s Alumni Weekend on 2 July, attended by staff, students and some of the brightest minds who have gone on to great things since graduating.
The bustling Kingston Lane campus attracted more than 1,000 well-wishers, who attended a special alumni dinner, comedy night featuring the talents of TV regular and alumna Jo Brand or took part in a range of events and activities, from drinks receptions to a roller disco; and from a creative writing workshop to a screening of Stanley Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange, famously filmed at the university’s Lecture Centre.
Hot on the heels of the EU referendum, a panel of Brunel experts discussed the ‘leave’ result and what it might mean for Britain, followed by questions from the alumni audience.
The weekend was completed with a sports day full of 7-a-side football, wheelchair basketball and rugby union matches – giving alumni, staff and students the chance to take part, followed by a closing concert from alumni band The Blimey O’Rileys.
The lawns behind the lecture centre became the focus of the week’s final celebratory event, as more than 1,000 staff attended a garden party to thank them for their contribution to Brunel’s 50 years of achievement.
Marking the day in 1966 when Brunel was awarded its university status, staff were invited to eat, drink and play garden games, while swing and jazz bands played.
Prof Buckingham told the audience that Brunel’s success had come from keeping its original, pioneering mission at heart, while embracing changes to the Higher Education sector with aplomb.
“We wouldn’t be what we are if we hadn’t always had the most fantastic staff who make this university an amazing place, so I want to say a big thank you to all of you,” she concluded.
To find out more about the university’s past 50 years and to see the events it still has planned to celebrate its anniversary year, visit www.brunel.ac.uk/fifty.