Friday, September 28, 2012

Boat Race Nuisance Convicted (Superseded)

This page is kept open to maintain links. The content has been moved to:
http://ox-cam-nyc.blogspot.com/2012/04/friendly-barbs-at-79th-nyc-boat-race.html

Thursday, September 27, 2012

OXFORD: Benjamin Jowett, Balliol

Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol
(1870-1893),  Vice Chancellor of
(1882-1893).

There was a time when "knowledge" could be encompassed by one person. That idea is associated with Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College, Oxford 1870-1893, who became Vice Chancellor of Oxford 1882-1893.

To him is commonly attributed the quote "I am the Master of this College, What I don't know isn't knowledge." The source is actually a poem signed Henry Charles Beeching but is reported as the work of several mischievous and clever undergraduates at Balliol.
First come I. My name is J–W–TT (Jowett)
There's no knowledge but I know it.
I am the Master of this College,
What I don't know isn't knowledge. 

 - H. C. Beeching, "Masque of B-ll--l". 
Librarything.com has posted a list of what was considered general knowledge in 1793, as compiled by a Harvard College librarian. Although Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations had appeared in 1776, economics was not yet a separate field of study. Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments appears under Ethics below. (Adam Smith is one of the earliest and best-known alumni of Balliol.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

XBOAT RACE: History (Superseded)

(This post has been superseded by a later one that is more up to date and comprehensive, available here.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OXFORD: Alumni Branches' Reunion, 2012

Portrait of President Clinton,
Rhodes House
September, 2012 – The Branch Officers' Lunch and Meeting is again held at Rhodes House, where a hazy portrait of Bill Clinton hangs on the wall of the Milner Room. 

Buffet lunch is served, hosted by Baroness Gillian Shephard, Chair of the Oxford University Society Board.

There are about 30 branch representatives here, out of 200 around the world. Cambridge says it has 400 branches. But the Oxford-Cambridge groups, maybe 10 percent of them, will be double-counted, on both lists.
 The agenda of the meeting on September 14, 2012 includes getting to know Richard Lofthouse, the new Editor of Oxford Today. He joins us at lunch and moves around to meet different people.
Richard Lofthouse (L) discusses his
plans for Oxford Today with alumni
branch officers.

 
Anna Wright of the Cambridge Alumni  Association  and
Christine Fairchild, Director of Alumni Relations, Oxford.
An innovation this year is that the Cambridge alumni association is represented at the Branch Officers meeting. Cambridge staffer Anna Wright warms a bit to the group during the afternoon.






Anna Wright and Sigurdur Skulason
of the Iceland Oxford-Cambridge group.
The Icelandic representative tells me: "Our  Oxford-Cambridge group in Rejkavik used to get support from the banks in Iceland but since 2008 not so much."

After lunch we repair to the Jameson Room and hear from Alumni Networks Assistant Joby Mullens about the excellent alumni network listing prepared by the Office. 


Jacqueline Hruby (left), Alumni
Networks Manager.
He and Jackie Hruby, Alumni Networks Manager, review the alumni survey results:
- Oxford has 204 alumni groups around the world (Cambridge FYI has 400, but there is double-counting because some groups are combined Oxford and Cambridge).
- Of the branches, 55 are in Europe, 43 are in the UK, 41 in North America, 25 in Asia and the remaining 40 are in the Middle East (13), Australasia (11), Africa (10) and Central/South America (6).
- The average number of branch members was 220.
- 17% charge a membership fee, which ranges from about $5 to about $60.
- Of the groups that responded, 77% charge for events and 18% obtained sponsors for events.
- The typical branch committee size is 4-7 people.
- Of the branches, 60% have their own bank account.
- 80% of respondents favored being involved in visits via the Oxford Travel Program.
- 86% favored having a way of greeting students visiting their area.
- Types of events sponsored by branches: drinks receptions, wine tastings, annual boat race dinners or other dinners, speaker events, garden parties, walks, boat cruises, theater and concert outings, freshers' parties (meeting of incoming students), tours, sports events.
- Some branches link up with other alumni associations, especially where memberships are small (the Iceland branch comes to mind) or the topic of the event is of a specialized nature.
- Five UK branches have "bursaries" or small scholarships to support summer vacation projects by students from their area.
- Some branches have information evenings on how to apply to Oxford. The Oxford-Cambridge Society of Malaysia provides mock interviews to coach students on how to deal with interviews in a confident way.
- The Oxford-Cambridge Society of Capetown has an innovative website for alumni.


Dr. Rachel Odams, chair of the
Three Shires branch (Beds.,
Bucks., Northants.).
Rachel Odams discusses the events held by her branch (OUS Three Shires branch). The branch has just organized and gotten off to a fast start:
May - Castle Ashby, lovely gardens
June - Althorp Literary Festival - impressive castle, two interesting speakers - Claire Tomalin (Newnham, Cambridge), who has written a biography of Charles Dickens, and Jeremy Vine, TV commentators who has just written his memoirs.
July 21 - An evening out to see a production of Richard III.
The branch also had an extremely successful schools event, inviting students to investigate the possibility of coming to Oxford.
Two more events are scheduled in this busy first year, as follows:
September 29 - Tour of the Ashmolean led by Nicholas Barber , CBE.
November 15 - First Annual Dinner in Woburn, Beds.

Paris branch officer Daniel Weiss has a followup question or two.
I visited with him a few days later in Paris. We had lunch at the Yushi restaurant in the Trocadero near his office and we promised to stay in touch. He and Frank Hildebrandt of the Berlin branch have organized the European branches with meetings in 2009 and 2011 and Andrew Moore in Madrid is working on a 2013 European meeting.



Branch officers break into groups to share Best Practices in four areas - communications, events, recruiting young alumni and succession planning. 
Notes that follow are based on a summary from the Alumni Office.


Recruiting young alumni
I go to this group chaired by Vicky Lau (Alumni Relations, Events & Communications Manager, University of Oxford China Office).

The key to enlisting young alumni volunteers, it seems, is to give them something specific to do, something they like doing.

Vicki Lau (right) led the group on young alumni. Photo by
JTMarlin.
Technology is forcing change. Social networks require different thinking. Alumni in their 30s are difficult to engage - they are busy, need proactive communication. They like communication via social media (Facebook or LinkedIn). It can also encourage  word of mouth contact among younger committee members. 

Events should include more socializing, alumni drinks.  Certain events for young alumni may have to be subsidized. Having events where Oxford academics talk to alumni is attractive.  Need up-to-date database – branches should get an updated email list from the central office every year. Programming should address interests of young alumni events – e.g., Happy Hour, Freshers, recent graduates.

Nina Kruglikova (right), St. Petersburg branch, gets a nod
from Daniel Weiss, Paris branch and organizer of 2011
 Europe meeting. Photo by JTMarlin.
Engaging events branches big and small

Chaired by Joby Mullens (Alumni Networks Assistant, University of Oxford Alumni Office)

EUROPEAN BRANCHES
Madrid Branch holds a joint Christmas dinner with Cambridge, a lakeside dinner with
Cambridge in June and monthly lunches on the last Friday of each month. The ability to exchange information between the branches is important, and branch secretary Andrew Moore said it would be helpful to have a list of recommended speakers. The group’s boat race lunch is always a great success. Madrid is planning on being the third venue (in 2013)  for an OUS Europe meeting, following 2009 in Berlin, 2011 in Paris.

Portugal Branch has one main formal event a year - a dinner with a guest speaker,  usually attended by about 200 people. They pay travel expenses and accommodation for one night for their speaker but they do not pay a fee. The dinner is held at a hotel in Lisbon and is organized in conjunction with the British History Society in Portugal and the Churchill Society of Portugal. They would like to increase the number of events they have annually.

Croatia Branch. The branch had a formal dinner with the Ambassador which proved successful, with Cantab and LSE alumni included to get sufficient numbers. The Ambassador has proved helpful in finding venues. The group finds black tie events work  better than informal events.

ASIAN AND AUSTRALASIAN BRANCHES
Malaysia, Oxford & Cambridge Society . The branch had their last Annual Boat Race Dinner at the Exchange Club. They may have formal dinners for significant speakers and have also tried dinner parties in members homes with mixed success. A dozen people were prepared to host them this year but no one responded to an invitation. They also held Small Bites, Big Ideas events - 20 minute discussions with a light supper and speaker. The group said that one of the biggest issues is the education system. A dozen years ago the Government tried to encourage raising standards for English language teaching. They have been running an English language program for 800 students a year. This year the branch held its inaugural debating forum with one of the English-language public schools, which broke into 10 groups for mini debates. The branch doesn’t have money for scholarships but offers support in other ways. Last year they celebrated Bonfire night with a branch event.

Wellington Branch . The High Commissioner organized several successful events. Guy Brown (Branch Secretary) said there is a problem in that he lives 80km from Wellington and 90% per cent of members live in Wellington. He is, however, keen to arrange a barbecue at his house for members.

NORTH AMERICAN BRANCHES
San Diego Branch holds various events including wine tastings. They are holding their first Christmas event this year and hope to get 20-40 people together
for drinks. They are not sure how many people will come so they are currently cautious
about booking a venue. The event will involve a museum tour and a bar with nibbles.

New England Oxford and Cambridge Society is interested in knowing if an Oxford author is passing through their area. They would then reach out to invite them to speak. One way the branch attracts younger members is to offer them an opportunity to speak themselves. The branch has an informal pub night which is sponsored by an MIT professor who is an Oxonian. They also hold a boat race, the Charles River Rowing Race, which is open to all ages and proves quite popular.

UK BRANCHES (see also Three Shires report above)
Manchester Branch secretary Rosemary Broadbent said there should be a distinction between large and small alumni groups and those in rural areas compared to those in the larger cities. The branch held a buffet meal recently where people chose where they sat. This proved more popular than a formal dinner where people are sat in the same seat the whole night. Older members prefer a buffet to a dinner. For the buffet, the branch hires a venue and gets a caterer in to provide the food. The group says their best draw is an academic speaker. They gave the example of Professor John Stein, who talked to the branch about neuroscience research, dyslexia and Parkinson’s Disease. Rosemary Broadbent said in attending the Alumni Weekend she can decide which of the speakers might be worth inviting to speak at a branch. They steer away from political topics.

West Kent Branch secretary John Gelling said the speaker is important. The branch held its 3rd event and works around a framework of a chairman and two speakers for each event. The most recent talk topic was “How Going to University Changed My Life”. A previous topic has been: “What Do You Think About the British Constitution that Doesn’t Exist?”The subsequent feedback the branch has received is that guests like the subjects. Mike Nicholson from Undergraduate Admissions was also spoken of highly. John Gelling also said that one of the challenges is to attract to their events young people interested in going to university. He regretted that the branch doesn’t have events such
as gallery visits, as he does not have the time to organize them.

Hampshire Branch - one of the most successful speakers the branch has had was an Oxford undergraduate.

London Branch secretary Cheryl Lisa Hearne said overseas branches are able to get together with other focused groups, which is a bonus.

Succession planning
Chaired by Jackie Hruby (Alumni Networks Manager, University of Oxford Alumni Office)
How do you reduce your exposure without giving up power / influence ? How do you empower committee members? In OUS Hertfordshire the committee is the organizing team, all of whom have the title of “Prime Mover” (each of whom takes responsibility for one event). There is a need for energetic committee members, as well as flexibility. How do we ask people? How do you recruit people on to your committee who will do something? This should be easy in theory but is difficult in practice. Need to attract younger members. Use events to attract people.  It’s good to have a personal approach. Volunteers can be “selected” from regular event attendees. Extend invitation to more Branch Officers to lunch/meeting – say two per branch and the branch leadership can then select future leaders to attend. Offer incentives from Oxford.

Communications
Chaired by Alison Edwards (Head of Alumni Communications, University of Oxford Alumni Office)

Websites & social media: What are the essential pages on a website? Is it better to have a basic website with minimal maintenance and only the essential information (events, who to contact, membership information) or add additional interestpages, which makes the site more difficult to maintain? Should there be a page where people can upload their own data to central website and/or a centrallyprovided system for managing all branch digital activity (email members, invite to events and take bookings, manage memberships, etc)? Should branch websites be accessible to anyone, or be private? Alumni should be able to join more than one branch = any centrallyprovided system would need to allow for multiple memberships Spreading the work between multiple committee members was seen as an effective approach to managing branch online presences. Many branches have started to take an integrated approach to digital, where the majority of communication with members is via email, with a push to the website/Facebook (e.g., email to promote next event, links to Facebook for more info and booking/payment, then gallery for pics afterwards). Website acts as an introduction to the group (reactive?) or should it be proactive in some way? How? Where do social media fit? Could there be a central budget for Facebook advertising, to encourage new members to join branches? Group sites should include links to the central alumni website. LinkedIn group for branches: many branch secretaries present didn’t know about this group. JM/JH to send an invite via LinkedIn all branch secretaries to join this group.

Email: How to centrally manage email lists, allowing for joining more than one branch (multiple memberships) but managing the failed addresses/bounces, keep track of open rates. Give branch members access to this information. Because email is proactive, is it the most effective communications tool? Need for more specific email/regional lists and training for branch officers, such as via videos about peer-to-peer learning. Should this be part of the Oxford Alumni Weekend?


Mary Gardill and Caroline Baxter at the Alumni Reception
with the Vice Chancellor. Photo by JTMarlin.
Alumni Reception 

At the alumni reception, I talk with Mary Gardill of the New England Oxford-Cambridge branch. She was chatting with Caroline Baxter, Deputy Director of Alumni Relations.
Mary Gardill and John Tepper Marlin at the Old Parsonage.
I meet with Mary the next morning to plan for the Boat Race Dinners in April 2013.  She attended the 2012 dinner in New York City. Both the New England and the New York branches have had alumni boat races. 

The list of delegates to the Oxford University Alumni weekend shows nearly 500 alumni registered, not counting their partners or children. St. Anne's College had the highest attendance with 36 alums. Of the 42 colleges and halls represented on the alumni list, the five "women's" colleges (formerly women-only) lead the attendance with an average of 30 alums per college.

Any alum can attend so the "delegate" status really applies only to the relatively small number of branch officers, who met on the first day, Friday, from lunchtime through about 4 pm at Rhodes House.

The three days of alumni meetings are filled with activities in the colleges and at university-wide institutions such as the museums and libraries. The alumni weekend coincides with both college alumni weekends and university-wide open days for prospective students.

The academic specialization of each alum is shown in the delegate listing. Of those attending, Balliol has the highest percentage of alums who read PPE or another subject with Economics included, 55 percent. Half of the small number of Mansfield and Regent's Park alums also read economics. Five other colleges show one-fourth or more of delegates reading economics: Queen's, Merton, Trinity, Oriel and Nuffield.

Here is the composition of the delegates:

College
No.
PPE-Eco
%
Balliol
11
6
55
Brasenose
10
2
20
Christ Church
8
0
0
Corpus Christi
12
0
0
Exeter
13
1
8
Green Templeton
6
0
0
Hertford
13
2
15
Jesus
17
1
6
Keble
19
2
11
Kellogg
8
0
0
LMH
28
0
0
Linacre
3
0
0
Lincoln
10
1
10
Magdalen
7
1
14
Mansfield
4
2
50
Merton
6
2
33
New
14
1
7
Nuffield
4
1
25
Oriel
12
3
25
Pembroke
18
2
11
Regent's Park
2
1
50
Ruskin
1
0
0
Said
3
0
0
Somerville
24
2
8
St. Anne's
36
3
8
St. Antony's
2
0
0
St. Catherine's
17
2
12
St. Cross
7
0
0
St Edmund Hall
14
1
7
St. Hilda's
31
5
16
St. Hugh's
28
2
7
St. John's
18
3
17
St. Peter's
9
1
11
St. Stephen's
1
0
0
Queen's
15
5
33
Trinity
14
4
29
Univ
15
2
13
Wadham
13
1
8
Westminster
1
0
0
Wolfson
2
0
0
Worcester
20
0
0
Wycliffe
1
0
0
Total
497
59
12


Thursday, September 20, 2012

OXFORD IN AMERICA 3: Making Independence Inevitable

Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, Tory Prime Minister
 (1770-1782). "Disastrous." But the Tea Act of 1773  was
a bipartisan mistake. Photo by JTMarlin.
The painting of Frederick North, Earl of Guilford, hangs on the same wall in Trinity College, Oxford as those of the College Founder and Pitt the Elder. But while Pitt is viewed by history as a model executor of foreign policy, Lord North is ranked at the other end of the spectrum.

Pitt captured what became Canada from the French. North lost what became the USA to the colonists.

Sir Arthur Norrington, former President of Trinity and then Oxford's Vice Chancellor, said to me once: "Pity about Lord North. We could have made so much money from America."

The official site of the British Prime Minister’s Office doesn’t mince any words in summarizing North’s 12 years as Prime Minister: 
Best known as the man who lost Britain’s American colonies, Lord North served for a disastrous twelve years as prime minister.  A hard-working and sound administrator, North had served in the governments of Newcastle and Chatham, rising to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
Boreas, god of the north wind.
The clever nickname his colleagues gave Lord North was Βορεας (“Boreas”, the winged Greek god of the north wind, pronounced BORE-ee-ass).

Horace Walpole in his memoirs describes North's appearance and déshabille in gross terms, but then admits to his having significant administrative talents. In a peacetime era he might have been a greater success.

The entry for Lord North in the Dictionary of National Biography is sympathetic. For example: (1) Lord North was a highly competent Chancellor of the Exchequer, (2) He did not want the Prime Minister job, did not use the title and asked his family not to use it, and (3) The need for the infamous tea tax was bequeathed to him by Grafton's administration. 

Taking office at the end of the long period of anti-monarchical Whig dominance going back to Lord Stanhope and Robert Walpole, North led the Tory allies of King George III in the Parliament. George III liked North's middle-of-the road policies and dragooned him into forming a government in 1770 after the Duke of Grafton was blamed for France's annexing Corsica and the Whig era ended. Ironically, Grafton was opposed to all of the five Townshend taxes on the colonies, but was outvoted by his own party on the threepenny-per-pound "peppercorn" tax on tea, because the income was needed to pay British officers in the colonies; so North's Tea Act of 1773 was bipartisan in origin.

The taxation issue was for neither side about the money - it was primarily a test of the power of Parliament and the King. North  overplayed Britain's hand to enforce the tax and led it into the War of Independence, with the backing  of George III. North made errors that led to serious British losses at Saratoga in 1777. Opinion began to turn in 1778 and after Britain's defeat at Yorktown in 1781 North exclaimed "It's all over." George III would not let him resign till the war effectively ended and Parliament voted no confidence in North in 1782.


Whereas Pitt the Elder has many places named after him in the United States, to my knowledge North had none - neither North Carolina nor North Dakota is named after him. However, Guilford County, NC is named after North's father, the 1st Earl of Guilford, who was also a Trinity College, Oxford alumnus. The seat of Guilford County is Greensboro, NC.

The present alumni relations officer at Trinity College, Oxford is related to North - his gggrandmother was North's great-niece.

Lord North's co-conspirator in the runup to the Tea Act was Charles Townsend, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the short Prime Ministership of Lord Chatham. He was educated at the University of Leiden and reportedly at Oxford, although he does not appear in the standard alumni list. According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography:
...[in May 1787] he introduced his measures for dealing with America. The legislative functions of the New York assembly were to be suspended; commissioners of customs were to be established in America to superintend the execution of the laws relating to trade; and a port duty was imposed on glass, red and white lead, painters' colours, paper, and tea. The Americans received the news of these proposals with a burst of fury; anti-importation associations were formed, riots broke out, and the loyalist officials were reduced to impotence. Townshend did not live to see these developments. ... [O]n 4 Sept. he died, at the premature age of forty-two, ‘of a neglected fever.’ Townshend was one of those statesmen whose abilities are the misfortune of the country they serve. He impressed his contemporaries as a man of unrivalled brilliance, yet to obtain a paltry revenue of 40,000 shillings he entered a path which led to the dismemberment of the empire.