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Alumni Magazine Autumn 2013

£3.95/€5 where sold



Inside this issue

Tom White On following his dreams at Sky Sports




Welcome to £20m the team investment

08 Awards night

10 Diabetes research

18 Grammy awards

20 Shaping the future


INSIDE this issue

Public Policy Lecture Series


Tom White on his journey at Sky Sports


University strengthens international links

16 06

Unify New ÂŁ20m Centre opens


in this issue we showcase our Alumni Office and ways you can get involved


with your friends, support future generations of Bedfordshire students

Catch up

with latest Alumni news and events at:

Enhancing the Student Experience Firstly, I’d like to thank the many of you who have been in touch, or attended University events, over this last year – my first as Vice Chancellor.

I was fortunate to have inherited, from my predecessor and good friend Les Ebdon, a University that is both financially stable and that has grown substantially in recent years. But the University now faces different challenges. We have a competitive and marketised higher education environment in England. We also operate in an international context, one which has provided many opportunities for us, but one that requires constant review and relevance of our offer.   Enhancing the student experience is our number one priority. This isn’t limited to the lecture hall or seminar room, but a greater sense of the University experience and nurturing employable, entrepreneurial, global citizens.   In many ways, it also goes beyond today’s students. It starts with fostering aspiration amongst the students of tomorrow, through our work with schools, colleges and communities; but also with yesterday’s students and creating opportunities for you to continue to contribute to the success of our University.

Keep Connected with the latest news at

Our new University strategic plan – available on the website – commits us to new, challenging but achievable targets. Exciting work is already underway on a greater employability offer for students; we recently opened our new, state-of-the-art, Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre; and we open our new campus in Milton Keynes in September 2013, to name only three. I would urge you – as part of our shared University community – to continue to stay in touch, offer ideas and proposals, and to spread the word! I hope to meet many more of you over the next year, both here in the UK and overseas. Yours,

Bill Rammell Vice Chancellor




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Welcome to the 2013 issue of worthy It is with pleasure that I write to you to introduce myself as the new Dean of Development and Alumni Relations here at the University of Bedfordshire. Alumni returning to campus have been impressed by recent changes such as the huge investment in new buildings including the new Campus Centre and Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre which you can read about on page 06. I hope that you will be encouraged to learn about work that is underway to build a new library at Luton and to develop the Bedford campus, featured on pages 07 and 09.

New initiatives to enhance the student experience include a revitalisation of the Students’ Union and representation of students in decision making, together with investment in new academic staff. Some things at the University of Bedfordshire remain unchanged such as our commitment to transformational education for all. In this issue you can read about the impact that bursaries have on students and the stories of alumni whose lives have been radically changed by education. We are delighted when alumni are able to volunteer their time, experience and expert knowledge, as they have done frequently at Open Days and through mentoring and delivering guest lectures. These activities contribute significantly to the success of the University and our students. Thank you.   The Alumni Relations team will be in touch over the coming months with opportunities to come back on to campus and work with current students and your fellow alumni. I know that there will be something to involve and inspire you!

Professor Keith Straughan Dean, Development and Alumni Relations

Your alumni office team Dorota Bogdaniuk (L) and Lucia Limb (R)


Backpack to Briefcase lecture series opportunities Volunteer team members at Bedford campus Open Day


boost new student recruitment Alumni returned to their University departments for Open Days in July 2013 to speak with prospective students and parents about their own experiences of studying at the University of Bedfordshire. Attendees at Open Days really value the chance to speak with a graduate from their chosen course and find it useful in making their final decision about what and where to study. Alumni spoke about the excellent level of teaching support they received and the ‘family’ feel of the University. They provided advice on how to make the most of your time at Bedfordshire and insights into career opportunities, including different career paths taken with the same degree. For alumni it was a great opportunity to catch up with former lecturers and developments on campus. When asked, nearly 70 per cent of attendees added that they consider contact with alumni to be important, or very important, in their decision making. The University is very grateful to all alumni volunteers for their time and keen to do much more for aspiring students in future. If you would like to tell the next generation of students about your career successes at forthcoming Open Days please get in touch with the Alumni Office at

Successes of former students were celebrated last year by high-profile alumni lectures. The alumni ambassadors had offered to pass on the benefits of their life and professional experience to computing, media, applied social studies and public health students. First on stage was Bharti Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe, who delivered a lecture on ‘Being Professional’. Bharti was followed a few weeks later by Greg Beacher, now Vice President at the Bank of New York Mellon. Michael Iskas, Chief Innovation Officer at Carat Global Management spoke in March and, finally, Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health completed the series at the end of April. The lectures were the first in a series continuing in 2013-14. The Alumni Relations team is delighted that there is such a strong desire to support the education of current students and would like to encourage other alumni to come forward to share their own experiences and skills, in autumn / spring lectures. If you have a story to tell, don’t be shy! Staff and students would love to welcome you back on to campus. Please get in touch at

Alumnus Professor Richard Parish on future global health challenges at Luton, April 2013


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Luton is now one of the top five areas in the country in terms of the number of students entering higher education.

Unify £20m centre unites University and business

The University’s £20 million Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre, in Luton, has been praised by the Government for bringing together higher education and business. NEW CENTRE The new centre is one of just ten in the UK which explicitly brings together Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development study in a University setting. The Centre was opened earlier this year by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, who hailed it as “a great opportunity and typical of the flair and flexibility of this University.” Mr Willetts said: “There are very few universities in the country that have the initiative to link up postgraduate study and continuing professional development in this way. It makes a lot of sense.” Praising the University’s “confidence and vision to invest in its postgraduate provision”, he continued: “Postgraduate study is becoming more and more significant. It has become the new frontier in social mobility. “It brings together higher education and local businesses. This strengthens further the strong links that I know the University already has with businesses.” Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell added: “Universities deliver only five per cent of the UK’s CPD provision. We want to change that. This magnificent building, which was built on time and under budget, will be the focus for that.”

He also spoke of the University’s excellent record for widening access; Luton is now one of the top five areas in the country in terms of the number of students entering higher education. The event was attended by students and local businesses including Windows 8 Game Engine developer Rapid 2D and BUGS (Businesses and Universities Games Syndicate) - a consortium set up by businessman John Hare and Professor Carsten Maple, the University’s technology expert and Pro Vice Chancellor, to encourage businesses and education to work closer together.


The proposed new library building at the Luton campus

£46 million investment in the Luton campus gets underway A bold construction programme designed to transform facilities at the University’s Luton campus has begun in earnest this summer, with completion expected in summer 2015.

Information and Innovation-rich environment

The £46m project centres around a new state-of-the-art library and resource centre, where Fairview House is currently located, which will connect to the rest of the Luton campus via a bridge link across St Ann’s Lane to the Business School. The 7,400 square metre, seven storey building will boast state-of-the-art Information Technology and audio-visual equipment, quiet study areas, cafeteria and 30 per cent more study spaces and books. Since 2006, £90m has been invested in facilities and new buildings at the Luton campus including the opening of The Campus Centre in 2010, the 860-room Fitzroy Court student halls of residence in 2011, the opening of Wenlock Court in 2012 and the Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development Centre in 2013. The project team is currently working towards a BRE Environmental Assessment Method rating of ‘excellent’ for the build and are fully committed to designing the most energy-efficient building and services to meet the University’s needs. The new building is part of a larger strategic plan for Luton as the town implements its vision for renewal.


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Celebrating our students and staff

Celebrating the work of students and staff is central to the ethos of the University and the first Vice Chancellor’s Student Experience Awards in June proved to be a wonderful opportunity to recognise some exceptional achievements by students and staff. Awards included Student of the Year, won by Michael Radford who is studying digital photography and video arts, for his outstanding commitment which included striking out to secure high quality internships and work experience. The shortlist for Alumnus of the Year were: Be Fontaine (winner) BA Hons Fashion Design, 2008 Karolina Lebek BA Hons Photography and Video Art, 2012 Abiye Tob Ogu BA Hons Business Studies, Law, 2010 Paul Harrison, student advisor from the Careers and Employability service, won staff member of the year for his work in helping a student team from Bedfordshire Business School win the Sustainable Entrepreneurs award at the Enactus UK Competition for Universities. Other awards on the night included: outstanding role model, Professor Gordon Mellor, Associate Dean of Education, Sport; ASPIRE Ambassador Bethan Michael, Lecturer in Education Studies; and Partner of the Year, St Joseph’s College Malawi - students and staff from Bedford campus visit the school every year to help train teachers there.

Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell told guests, “This University helps transform lives and communities. We do it through inspirational teaching and learning and tonight we celebrate that mission and achievement.” NOMINATIONS Do you know of a graduate, student or staff member that should be honoured for their achievements? Why not nominate them for the 2014 awards which will be held at Putteridge Bury on the evening of 6 June 2014. An invitation only event, the evening will be a tremendous showcase for students, staff and University partners. The Vice Chancellor has been working with the Students’ Union to develop these awards, and looks forward to receiving hundreds of nominations from both students and staff. Contact Alumni Relations at for more information.

“I was really delighted to receive an award like this. I have such positive memories from time at University so to be recognised in this way was truly a great moment for me.” University of Bedfordshire Fashion graduate (2008) and accomplished designer, Be Fontaine


Vice Chancellor’s

Public Policy Lecture Series On taking up his role in September 2012 Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell initiated a bold series of lectures designed to provoke discussion on important public policy issues.

Universities have the capacity to drive forward big ideas and provide access to their formulation and development. The Vice Chancellor’s Public Policy lecture series is providing access to high profile public policy individuals who are also world experts in their field. For Bill, Minister for Higher Education in the previous Government, the series reflects his belief in the transformational potential that universities have in changing not only individual student lives, but in shaping society though the development of tomorrow’s leaders. In 2013 the lectures brought thought leaders into conversation with the University, in a public forum, designed to foster real impact at a local and national level. The series included lectures by the Rt Hon David Blunkett MP on ‘Education for all’ – and Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, on ‘Parliamentary reform: the road to 2015’. Lecture 1 Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, ‘Education for all’ Lecture 2 Rt Hon John Bercow MP, ‘Parliamentary reform: the road to 2015’ Scan with mobile to watch

NEXT LECTURE The next lecture will be in autumn 2013 and the speaker will be confirmed shortly. To express your interest in attending future public policy lectures, please email

£24m redevelopment of Bedford Campus kicks off A £24m investment in redeveloping the Bedford campus has been given the green light as part of the University’s commitment to offer students state-of-the-art facilities. In partnership with Goldington Academy (formerly Goldington Middle School), work is already underway on a national championship-standard, multi-use games area and sports hall refurbishment, due to be completed this autumn. The investment also includes a new three-storey teaching building at the campus on Polhill Avenue offering dance studios, informal learning spaces and a new Student Services Centre, due for completion in December 2014. The new games area will replace the existing grass pitches close to the Liberty Living Halls of Residence. The planned full-size, floodlit all-weather pitch - which will meet hockey league and equivalent standards - will be a significant new facility for the Academy, further enhancing the facilities that the University offers students in its role as a centre of excellence in sports education.


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This is a really exciting and innovative piece of research which the University of Bedfordshire is leading.

Professor Alan Sinclair:

pioneer in improving healthcare for the elderly Recognition for groundbreaking work Professor Alan Sinclair, Dean of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School and a Director of the University’s Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), has been recognised with an international award for his work to improve the healthcare of older people suffering from diabetes. He was awarded the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Presidential Medal for services to diabetes at the Association’s congress in Seoul, Korea. Alan, who is an internationally-recognised expert in old age medicine and a World Health Organisation expert in diabetes, said: “I am pleased to have this recognition from the IAGG after more than two decades work in the area of gerontology and diabetes. This will encourage me to further develop the Institute so that we continue to make important contributions in the field.” The Institute is a non-profit making research group based at the University of Bedfordshire which is dedicated to enhancing the health

and well-being of all older people with diabetes and related metabolic illness. The idea for the Institute was a natural consequence of Alan’s pioneering work in diabetes and his commitment to enhancing the quality of diabetes care for all older people, especially those who are frail. The Institute has recently undertaken a major new £200,000 study, funded by the Research for Patient Benefit Programme at the NHS National Institute for Health Research, looking into the successful management of medicines between the NHS and nursing homes. Alan continued: “This is a really exciting and innovative piece of research for the University of Bedfordshire to be leading on. From this study improvements can be made to medicines management systems that will help to keep nursing home residents safer in the future and lead to significant cost savings for the NHS.” Nursing homes across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire will be involved and the University is also working in conjunction with Luton and Dunstable Hospital on the study.

Professor Alan Sinclair with colleagues in the gardens of Putteridge Bury

Steel Charitable Trust bursary former students reunite to share success stories Many undergraduates face financial challenges. In fact, learning how to plan with - and survive on - a tight budget is arguably one of the many important life lessons university offers. However, for some students each year, their money worries are so severe that they threaten the students’ ability to continue with their education. The Steel Charitable Trust was established by the late Robert and Marjorie Steel who were lifelong Luton residents. The Trust provides bursaries to University of Bedfordshire students who find themselves in financial hardship and since 2006 has provided the single largest tranche of funding to the University’s scholarships and bursaries fundraising, helping 150 students to graduate who might otherwise have been unable to continue with their studies. At a special dinner in April 2013 at the University’s Putteridge Bury campus, fellow alumni, Trustees of the charity and academics heard from former students about the difference the Trust’s grant had made to them. The dinner marked five years since the bursary was first awarded and reunited recipients of the Steel Charitable Trust’s bursary – which gives £1,000 awards to 25 third-year students each year, who have academic potential but face financial challenges. A camera, a sewing machine, books and childcare were among the purchases recipients said they had made with the money donated by the Trust which helped them to stay the course and complete their degree.


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The Trust’s Chairman Nicholas Wright told guests that the Trustees had been encouraged by the results – 82% of those undergraduates who were recipients of the bursary going on to achieve a First or Upper Second Class degree. Be Fontaine was one of the students who spoke about what the grant meant to her. The fine arts graduate, Alumnus of the Year and mother of four said: “I used the money to buy a sewing machine, books, fabrics and other things I needed for my course. I’m still using them today and they are a reminder of the help I received.” Since completing her course Be has opened her own boutique in Luton. Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell told guests: “The bursary has been invaluable for some of our students who struggled to afford the travel to lectures and pay for books and equipment needed to complete their course. “But what is fantastic and truly inspiring is that almost all of them have gone on to do really well since. We are very proud of their achievements and this reunion is a chance for us – the University of Bedfordshire and the Steel Charitable Trust – to celebrate their success and say well done.” The Trust also provides a £12,000 annual bursary to one PhD student at the University and supports the Powdrill Chair in English Language Acquisition at the University through Endowment funding.

Partners: Steel Charitable Trust graduates with staff and charity Trustees at Putteridge Bury reunion dinner April 2013


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“I love my job and without my time at Beds it would have been almost impossible to make it to where I am now” Tom White

Sky Sports’

Tom White

on dreams and hard work You may have seen Tom White radiating confidence on Sky Sports News; keeping viewers up-to-date with everything from football transfers to the Tour de France.

T liveom we n a pron air t esen as in 2 011ter

Read more about Tom White’s story at


t would be easy to assume that reaching the position of presenter on one of the biggest news channels in the world may have been easy. Tom will tell you differently, and his is a story that will inspire any graduate to hold a dream and then follow it. On graduating from Bedfordshire in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in Media Performance, Tom knew what he wanted to achieve and set about working for it. In fact, before he left the University he had already been taking full advantage of the opportunities student life afforded to gain the experience he needed. He explained: “Alongside my degree which gave me a thorough grounding in the theory of media performance I was able to present my own show on Luton FM, the


University’s own radio station. This was brilliant because I learnt the practical side of things; how to handle pressure doing live broadcasts and how to use my voice; it really was instrumental in helping me get to where I am now.” From Luton FM to Sky Sports as a runner, Tom then spent seven years working solidly to achieve his ambition. He explained: “I started as a runner at Sky Sports basically doing anything I was asked from making tea to photocopying. I started this job whilst still at University and then worked my way up. A lot of people burn out when they are at the early stages of this career because the hours are crazy, the work can be very dull and it’s badly paid but there is no substitute for hard work; it does pay dividends in the end.” Moving up the ranks with time spent as an editorial assistant, sub-editor and radio presenter, Tom went live on air as a presenter in 2011. He said: “I can honestly say it was the best moment of my career to have finally made it to the position I had dreamt of for so long. I did not tell anyone other than my close family. When I got home to hundreds of Facebook messages congratulating me I was overwhelmed. Many of the people who contacted me were from my University days who remembered me and that was particularly lovely; to have the support of my fellow former students.” Tom has since been part of the 2012 London Olympics presenting team for Sky Sports and also gets to be part of the football transfer deadline day team which he says is a real buzz. Tom said: “I love my job and without my time at Beds it would have been almost impossible to make it to where I am now. However, it is not just my career it has shaped, I lived with six people and still see them regularly and have the best memories from my time spent making friends and competing in sports teams. University is where I learnt that working as part of a team is vital and this is still something I do every day. My advice to anyone at University is work hard, go the extra mile always and take your chances when you get them because hard work always creates chances.”


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Legacy Half a century of inspiration The career of Professor Margaret Whitehead - who recently received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Bedfordshire in physical education has spanned 50 years. Her achievements have helped to shape the lives of countless girls and women.


n 1958, when Margaret started studying for her teacher’s certificate at the Bedford College of Physical Education, it may have been hard for her to imagine the extraordinary legacy that she would create during her career. Now an active grandmother of four, Margaret has built her career on the belief that physical activity should be for all and that teaching physical education comes with a responsibility to inspire both boys and girls to be active throughout their lives. Her greatest legacy is in the concept of ‘Physical Literacy’. On receiving the Audrey Bambra Legacy Award in March 2013 from The International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women, for outstanding contributions to physical education, it was said of Margaret that ‘her life’s work continues to influence the lives of girls and women in physical education and sport at local, national and international level.’

“PE teachers have a unique role in introducing young people to physical activity which, when taught well, can inspire participation for a whole lifetime” Margaret Whitehead

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Margaret, who also holds a PhD from London University, explained: “Physical Literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits throughout life. “PE teachers have a unique role in introducing young people to physical activity which, when taught well, can inspire participation for a whole lifetime and make a significant difference to an individual’s health and quality of life. It is my personal belief that there is still too much emphasis placed on ‘talent’; which of course is to be nurtured, however the majority of young people who do not have exceptional ability are not well served by this focus. We need to look more broadly at physical activity as a vehicle to achieve holistic health and realign our teaching to inspire all children to want to be active, judging their progress against realistic personal targets rather than elite standards.” Margaret has spent many years training teachers of physical education, including at the University of Bedfordshire where she is still a Visiting Professor and PE consultant. She said: “I have spent many years at the University and seen substantial changes. We are one of the oldest and most respected institutions to study physical education teaching. With Professor David Kirk now at Bedford, we are also leading the way in research, placing Bedfordshire firmly on the map as a centre of excellence.” Margaret’s lifelong interests in philosophy, human movement and holistic health have permeated her work and have resulted in an increasing global interest in her thoughtprovoking writing on physical literacy. On receiving her award she said: “To be recognised for a lifetime of teaching, lecturing and research is very much appreciated and inspires me to carry on following my passion, to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to realise that physical activity can be a positive and rewarding experience.”

Physical Literacy: Margaret at Bedford campus - on the map as a centre of excellence


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University strengthens international links with graduation celebrations

Developing global citizens for the 21st Century global village

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Business graduates from Oman and Vietnam were given a warm Bedfordshire welcome for their recent graduation ceremony. The group from Majan University College in Muscat, Oman, were each awarded the Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA). Some 38 graduating Business Studies students from the Foreign Trade University (FTU) in Hanoi, Vietnam, also attended. The event highlighted the impact of Bedfordshire’s partnership programme with these two leading international colleges, emphasising the University’s long-term commitment to offering outstanding business qualifications for tomorrow’s leaders. FTU has been a partner college of the University of Bedfordshire since 2006, enabling students to undertake the first three years of study at their home university with an option to undertake their final year studies at Bedfordshire.

Sporting stars, actors and business leaders share in graduation honours London 2012 long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford, 1994 Olympic Silver medallist Kriss Akabusi and former England cricket star Darren Gough were amongst a host of distinguished names presented with honorary degrees this summer, in recognition of outstanding achievements in their respective fields. Also recognised were legal expert Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, local businessman Jim O’Connor and TV detective series ‘Morse’ star, Kevin Whately, a long-standing local resident who professed to being ‘chuffed to bits’ with the honour.

Leading FTU’s academic delegation, Dr Ho Ngoc Thuy, Dean of Faculty of International Education, said: “We were delighted to accept the University’s invitation to attend graduation and share the FTU’s students’ success here in Luton. It has been a wonderful experience and a really exciting day for everyone. “FTU and Bedfordshire teach an affiliated Bachelor of Business course and it’s going very well. The FTU students are gaining valuable study experiences at Bedfordshire where the facilities and teaching staff are first-rate.” There are now more than 4,750 international students studying at Bedfordshire, attracted by the University’s combination of strong subject knowledge, teaching and focus on developing essential business skills.

Fundraising: BA (Hons) Events Management Students in their final year of BA (Hons) Events, Travel and Tourism Management have been awarded certificates for their hard work in raising £3,023 for The Registrar’s Fund for Student Hardship. The fund provides emergency support for University of Bedfordshire students facing temporary financial difficulties through no fault of their own. Dr Nazia Ali, Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Events Management and Course Leader for BA (Hons) Events Management, said: “The Registrar’s Fund for Student Hardship was chosen for the students’ efforts because I wanted fundraising to be “in-house” whereby University of Bedfordshire students can help other University students, and also raise awareness of this fund of last resort. “The students have performed excellently, as true events management professionals.  There have been 10 events in total ranging from a wedding exhibition in a local hotel, to game tournaments, football matches, talent shows, an open mic night, a film night and a zumba class.  “I am very grateful for the support given by Greg White and Paula Page in the Development Office.”


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Grammy Award-winning

ALUMNUS HONOURED From University of Bedfordshirepredecessor Luton Technical College, to five-time Grammy Award-winning music engineer, Richard Dodd has worked hard to achieve an outstanding reputation in the music business across more than 40 years. Based in the USA, Richard has worked with the likes of George Harrison, Clannad, Roy Orbison, Green Day, Steve Earle, Robert Plant, the Travelling Wilburys, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Freddie Mercury, Placido Domingo and the Dixie Chicks. He was recently awarded an honorary degree by the University for his outstanding services to the music industry. Poignantly he received the award at St Mary’s church in Luton where his own parents were married. Richard did not fit the typical mould when he started out. However, he was inspired by his instructor to learn from his mistakes, worked hard and even managed to overcome the challenge of making his English accent understood in America to succeed in the notoriously tough music industry. Richard explained: “I have been very fortunate. I have a wonderful wife,

three beautiful children and a home in Nashville. I also still have family links in Luton where it all started and to receive an honorary award from the University was a truly amazing feeling; so much so I thought it was a joke at first and I had to get my wife to convince me it was real. “To be honoured with an award that recognises a lifetime of work - and from a place you have roots - is really special, particularly as I had no idea at all it was coming.” Richard has witnessed the changes in technology from graduating in 1969 to today’s download culture. He believes changes in the industry have been radical and not always for the better. “Before digital storage, when an artist recorded, mistakes became part of the process and often led to interesting and creative ways of doing things; it was far more organic. Now, of course, everything can be made perfect at the press of a button and I think this has taken some of the spontaneity out of music recording” Richard continued. “However, in many ways music is returning to its roots because the money is now in live performance and that is where artists can freely express themselves and the organic process is alive.” For Richard his legacy is about passing on knowledge and new ways of doing things. He added: “People believe it is all about the equipment these days but it is about the mindset of how to use the technology and different methods. I really hope that I can continue to contribute to the industry with a new invention and that my work will continue to inspire.”

Talent and technology: Richard at work at his studio in Nashville, Tennessee, USA Photo by / Courtesy of Dan Rudin


100th birthday and Honorary degree for University lecturer

It was a double celebration for the muchloved former Head of Geology from the Luton Technical College, Dr Albert Ludford, who celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year and also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University, for his outstanding contribution to the teaching of Geology. Albert’s award was collected on his behalf by fellow former colleague, David Cooper. Pre-eminent in his field, Albert joined Luton Technical College as a lecturer in Geography and Geology in 1955. At first, much of his teaching was in both subjects but gradually he was able to specialise and continue his academic work on carboniferous fossils. Geology teaching was embedded into the London (External) BSc which the college taught both part- and full-time and met the needs of local industry and research centres. The 1950s was a period of great development in the science department of Luton Technical College with degree work and professional qualifications becoming very important. In early 1960 Albert was joined by Norman D’Cruz as Mineralogist/Petrologist forming a double-act, which was characteristic of Luton’s Geology Department, until they both retired. Many of Albert’s students achieved great success in their own careers, both in the commercial field and in academia, and all

Centenarian Dr Albert Ludford, middle row centre, with Luton Technical College colleagues, summer 1976

benefited from the opportunity that “Luton Tech” provided in giving young people access to higher education, who perhaps would not have been able to access a university education otherwise; a tradition continued at Park Square to this day. Albert grew up in the Black Country and then read Geology at the University of Birmingham before training as a teacher and taking up a teaching appointment at Wolverhampton Grammar School. During the Second World War, he served firstly in the Royal Artillery in West Africa and then transferred to the Intelligence Corps, to work on mapping in preparation for the Normandy Landing and Flanders campaigns of 1944, before moving his attention to Southeast Asia for the campaigns against the Japanese in Burma and Malaya. He was demobbed from the Army in 1946 with the rank of Captain returning to Wolverhampton to his teaching post. Throughout his time at Luton, Albert was not just a geologist, he was also a counsellor and, above all, a friend to his students, and made a great contribution to the life of Luton Technical College and its successors, which is why the award was made in his centenary year. Albert now lives in Malvern, Worcestershire. He largely looks after himself but has a carer who calls most days. Still active, he went to the Dordogne with his nephew and wife to select wines for his 100th birthday party and to teach them the art of buying wine in France.


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Alumni spotlight


Nehmaan Ahmed


Network Management (2012) graduate Nehmaan Ahmed celebrated international success recently when he won a Medallion of Excellence at the 42nd WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig, Germany, achieving the highest point score by a UK competitor in the IT section. WorldSkills International provides a unique means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy. The competition has come to symbolise the pinnacle of excellence in vocational training. Together with fellow members of Team UK, Nehmaan put in a world-class performance showcasing skills firstdeveloped during his time at the University of Bedfordshire’s partner, Barnfield College. The team was praised for its achievement by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, who said: “British ambition and ingenuity has once again taken on and beaten the best in the world and I extend my congratulations to Team UK.” 

Paula Keech


Paula Keech attended the University as a mature student in 2005, studying an access course in Web Technologies to boost her fashion business. The course made a huge difference to her career. Paula’s first book - The Freelance Fashion Designer’s Handbook – has just been published. “I am still benefitting. It has been the difference to making a good living running my small business. It prepared me for the digital age. “My time at University gave me the confidence to manage my own firm and write my book. I have included everything to help other freelancers avoid the pitfalls I spotted.” Paula’s book is described as a “… clear and comprehensive guide to working as a freelance designer...a warts and all essential guide.” See Freelance-Fashion-DesignersHandbook-Paula/dp/1444335065

Judit Jakab


2007 PR & Psychology Graduate Judit Jakab still has very warm memories of her studies at the University of Bedfordshire and has even been able to turn her enthusiasm for University life into something of a profession! “After graduation, I worked in the UK for PR agencies in London, before moving on to other cities such as Oxford, Cardiff and Plymouth where I did all sorts of jobs” said Judit. “Two years ago I moved back to Budapest and started working for the Central European University where I am responsible for Alumni Campaigns & Networks! I have Alumni clubs all over the world and I am working with 21 student volunteers on campus who support my projects. “I love my job and have very fond memories from good old Luton! I have been following the progress of my old University with great interest.”

Jawad Amin

04 Mark

“Unforgettable, remarkable, amazing, marvellous, astounding, wonderful and great. These words are not enough to express my gratitude to my University in which I studied my MSc in Human Resources Management.” So said Jawad Amin of his time at the University of Bedfordshire, which he credits with giving him the resources and support to succeed in his profession. Jawad, who graduated in 2004, explained: “My life at the University was full of exhilaration. I experienced a multicultural environment with faculty staff who were both learned and cultured. I would love to give thanks to Dr Frank Carr, Ms Andrea Burbage and Ms Catherine Wendeler in particular, all of whom made a real difference to my academic and professional life.” Jawad is currently working in Islamabad, Pakistan, as Head of Human Resources in the Pak-China Investment Company Ltd. He has also worked as Head of HR in one of the American funded projects working in the city. He continued: “The quality of my academic background has set me apart from other candidates. My mentors at the University of Bedfordshire are the ones to thank. I hope that if I ever continue with my studies that I may come back to Bedfordshire again.”


05 Alun

“My University of Bedfordshire experience was challenging but highly rewarding”, said graduate Mark Liddle. The part time Postgraduate Management Diploma he started in 1995 enabled him to find work-life balance. Mark explained: “When I decided to study, I was a middle manager in the NHS, I was a face amongst many.” Mark saw that experience alone would not help him stand out, so he began studying in 1995, juggling a long commute to London with raising a family and home renovations. “I am not sure where I got the energy from, but I managed! “My Master’s degree helped me emigrate to New Zealand. With my NHS experience I joined the New Zealand health system as a project manager in the sunny Bay of Plenty. “After a year I joined a group of General Practitioners as business manager of a new health centre which went on to be the model of primary care in New Zealand.” Mark has now moved to South Island where he is Chief Operating Officer of Pegasus Health, in Canterbury. He finished: “Since graduating in 2000 my life has changed dramatically. I only got here thanks to my qualifications.”




From a disappointing set of A Level results to the driving seat of a new £472m bypass project in Scotland, Alun Williams credits his time at the University with setting him up for a diverse and successful career. Alun graduated in 1995 with a BA (Hons) in Public Policy and Management and embarked upon a varied public sector career including development work in some of Glasgow’s most deprived neighbourhoods, managing a £3M EU funding portfolio and now a senior management position building a new 46km £472m bypass circumventing the City of Aberdeen. Alun also holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Aberdeen Business School, but it is his undergraduate years which he holds closest to his heart. Alun said: “I feel that my first University degree really laid the foundations of my career, covering as it did local government finance, public sector management, economics, EU studies etc. In fact the skills, knowledge and experience I gained at Luton - which gave me a second chance after I blew my A Levels aged 18 - gave me a head start in my career.”


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The Gift of Education Leaving a gift in your Will makes a lasting difference to future generations of students. It is one way in which you can help ensure that Bedfordshire’s mission to deliver transformational education for all is able to continue in the future. The University is very grateful for the legacies it receives, especially since we appreciate that the decision to include a bequest is often given after considerable thought. Generous gifts bequeathed have included one from Beatrice Hedges, a retired lecturer in Art whose bequest still provides vital support to students training to be teachers, the profession she valued so highly during her lifetime. Leaving a legacy is easy to do, it costs you nothing during your lifetime and allows you to pass on the gift of education to others. If you are interested in finding out more about how you could support tomorrow’s students by pledging a gift in your Will, including the simple steps required, please e-mail the University’s Development Office for advice at

“I love my job and without my time at Beds it would have been almost impossible to make it to where I am now.� Tom White, see page 12

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Noteworthy autumn 2013  
Noteworthy autumn 2013  

The University of Bedfordshire magazine for Alumni. Autumn 2013 issue.