Dragons’ Den’s Sarah Willingham to mark Oxford Brookes’ first Founders’ Day

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Sarah-Willingham

British entrepreneur, Dragon’s Den panellist and Oxford Brookes alumna Sarah Willingham will be the University’s special guest as the institution celebrates its very first Founders’ Day.

Founders’ Day will take place on 24 May 2016 and will officially mark the end of the University’s 150th anniversary celebrations. 

Every year, these celebrations will include a John Henry Brookes lecture on a chosen topic with the first being A conversation with Sarah Willingham: Education for Livelihood. Sarah, who graduated with a degree in European Business in 1996, has recently been listed in the Debretts 500 People of Influence, will be in conversation with Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Business Chris Blackburn.

As our 150th anniversary draws to a close, it seems fitting that our final celebration pays tribute to those who set the foundations and ideas which enabled the School to become the internationally-recognised University it is today.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt said: “Founders’ Day recognises the visionary group of philanthropists who formed the Oxford School of Art, the extraordinary people who founded our like-minded predecessor organisations such as Dorset House, Westminster College and Bletchley Park Training College, and of course our modern founder John Henry Brookes.

“As our 150th anniversary draws to a close, it seems fitting that our final celebration pays tribute to those who set the foundations and ideas which enabled the School to become the internationally-recognised University it is today.

“We have chosen items for a time capsule which celebrate the University in 2016 and which symbolise what life at the University is like for both students and staff. I hope these will provide an interesting and fun insight into the institution today for generations to come.”

Founders’ Day will become an annual event and legacy of the anniversary celebrations, timed to mark the first days of teaching in our predecessor institution, the Oxford School of Art, in 1865. 

Before the lecture kicks off, Tim Stevenson OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire will seal a time capsule containing a selection of items which represent what the University is like in 2016. This will include sporting medals, representations of Brookes’ research, memories of last year’s Brookes People Awards and a student guide to Oxford.

Later, there will be an opportunity to find out more about John Henry Brookes in a display specifically curated by Bryan Brown, Oxford Brookes alumnus, friend of the University and author of John Henry Brookes: The Man Who Inspired a University.