UCL Campaign


Events across East Asia welcome new alumni and celebrate UCL’s ongoing ties to the global community

28 November 2018

Over 200 students celebrated their graduation from UCL in the annual ceremony held in Beijing, joining over 8,000 alumni in China. Celebrations continued with a string of alumni events across China and Hong Kong.

UCL Graduation Ceremony in Beijing

UCL has celebrated the continued growth of its student and alumni community within China with a glittering graduation ceremony held on November 24 in Beijing. The event welcomed over 600 students, friends and family. 

President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur presided over the ceremony, while Professor Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute, greeted graduates in Chinese. 

Professor Michael Arthur said during his opening remarks: “we cherish our close relationship with China. Every year, UCL welcomes thousands of students from China to study at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. To be able to celebrate some of them and their achievements in their home country is a huge honour."

This year, the delegation was also joined by Vice-Provost (Advancement) Lori Houlihan who led the closing address. 

“We are sad that your day to day relationship with UCL is now at an end, but we are thrilled that you have become part of the worldwide community of UCL alumni,” said Lori. 

Lori continued: “By becoming part of that community, you are joining a prestigious social and professional network that will be an amazing source of support for the rest of your lives. In China alone, we have over 8,000 alumni and that number is set to grow and grow.”

A night at the museum

Following the graduation, over 300 new graduates, existing alumni and students from the new PKU-UCL MBA programme came together for a fun and glamorous evening at the UCL Beijing Club Annual Ball. The night featured plenty of entertainment, prizes and networking opportunities. 

Lori Houlihan spoke at the event, this time providing the opening address. 

“Alumni groups in China are very special. They are some of the most lively and involved groups in our global community. We are really delighted each year to see that UCL alumni have maintained such a strong connection with the university and each other”. 

The event showcased contributions from the Beijing alumni band, with a special guest Professor Michael Arthur taking over the drums for their rendition of ‘We are the Champions’ by Queen. 

In a new development to the annual event, the evening was live streamed across China with 2.4 million people tuning in to watch the proceedings. 

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Alumni events across East Asia

The Beijing graduation and alumni ball round out a series of glittering alumni events in that recognise UCL’s sizable alumni communities in East Asia. 
Hong Kong alumni came together on 19 November for the annual alumni reception. This year’s event focused on human health in an age of super-smart machines. Alumni caught up with:
  • Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President and Provost
  • Dame Professor Hazel Genn, Director of the UCL Centre for Access to Justice
  • Professor Ivan Parkin, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Professor  Becky Francis, Director of the Institute of Education
  • Dr John O’Regan, Vice-Dean (International) of the Institute of Education
  • Professor Duncan Craig, Director of the School of Pharmacy
  • Professor Micheal Munday, Vice-Dean (Education) of the Faculty of Life Sciences 
  • Professor Geraint Rees, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences

Professor Rees led this year’s keynote address which uncovered how artificial intelligence has disrupted the medical industry and how UCL is already using AI technology to improve patient diagnosis and care. 

“UCL is at the forefront of the AI revolution. In partnership with DeepMind, UCL discovered that AI can identify eye disease and recommend treatment with the same accuracy as world-leading eye experts – but can do it in a fraction of the time,” explained Professor Rees. 

“Fundamentally this technology will stop people going blind – it is that important”.  

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UCL Economics and Business graduate and philanthropist, Cathy Lee and her husband Martin Lee also announced a donation of £3 million at the event. The donation will go towards supporting the university’s dementia research. 

Thanking Cathy and Martin Lee, UCL’s President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur said: “Nowhere in the world is better placed than UCL to make significant advances against dementia and philanthropy is the most amazing catalyst for real, sustained progress. This is an incredibly generous and far-sighted investment by Cathy and Martin that will make a tangible contribution to creating a future free from dementia. We’re thrilled that Cathy has kept her connection with UCL strong since graduating and that Martin has also become part of the UCL family.”

Shenzhen Alumni Club’s first alumni meet-up on 13 October was also hugely successful, with 100 alumni attending. The inaugural event gave alumni the chance to catch up on life since graduation and reminisce on their time in London and at UCL. 

The annual alumni ball also took place in Shanghai on 20 November. Special thanks to our wonderful alumni volunteers who assisted in organising these events. 

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Stay up to date with UCL alumni news

Plans are underway for more alumni events in East Asia, including an inaugural networking event in Guangzhou. If you are interested in attending an alumni event in the future, join the Alumni Online Community to stay up to date.