In memoriam: Oxford Brookes pays tribute to oldest alumna

Friday, 15 June 2018

Doris Simms

Oxford Brookes has learnt the sad news of the death of the University’s oldest alumna Doris Simms, aged 99.

Doris studied economics and shorthand typing at what was then the Oxford School of Technology, Art and Commerce in 1935 when she was 16 years old.

Doris played an important part in Oxford Brookes’ 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015. She attended a special performance of Educating Oxford, a play telling the story of Oxford Brookes, its origins, the development of the institution and the people who were the driving force behind it.

The performance by Flintlock Theatre was held at the Taylor Institution, where the Oxford School of Art was first based. At the event Doris was also reunited with a fellow alumna, Phyliss Timbs, who passed away earlier this year.

I had the privilege of meeting Doris during our 150th anniversary celebrations and she was a remarkable individual who was intrinsically linked to the rich history of the University.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt, Oxford Brookes University

Speaking at the time, Doris said: “I was a pupil for a year at the college just after I left grammar school and before I got my first job.

“Technology, art and commerce were the three things that were necessary for people who had left school. Not many of us could go to college at that time and I loved it there. I grew up there.”

Doris also spoke about her fond memories of studying at the School in a video, filmed for the 150th anniversary:

Doris’ husband was Jack Simms, also an alumnus of the University. After meeting at a dance at the Oxford Town Hall, they married on Boxing Day 1942. Jack passed away in January 2017 aged 93.  

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, commented: “It was tremendously sad to hear the news that Doris Simms has passed away. I had the privilege of meeting Doris during our 150th anniversary celebrations and she was a remarkable individual who was intrinsically linked to the rich history of the University. Our thoughts are with Doris’ family and friends at this time.”