UCL Campaign


Stateside Connections: how Mark Howard has redefined the UCLFAA

23 October 2019

Mark Howard is stepping down after four years in charge of the UCL Friends & Alumni Association Inc. (UCLFAA) in U.S. He has transformed how this vital organisation helps fund strategic projects at UCL as part of the It’s All Academic philanthropic campaign.

UCLFAA banner design

UCL was built on a bedrock of ambition, togetherness and bravery. This is reflected in our diverse alumni network, spread across the world. Dedicated alumni volunteers give up their time and resources to put back into the UCL family – directly benefiting the next generation of disruptive thinkers. 

One of UCL’s most committed alumni volunteers is Mark Howard (Social Studies, 1983), Senior Multi-Asset Specialist at BNP Paribas in New York.

Mark is one of UCL’s most committed and active alumni volunteers. For the last four years, he’s been the President of the UCL Friends and Alumni Association Inc. (UCLFAA) and is now stepping down as President and will remain a board member. 

The UCLFAA is fundamental to the university’s fundraising and engagement activities. It is a non-profit organisation, based in New York City and independently-run by alumni volunteers. The organisation is dedicated to raising awareness and support for research, education and innovation at UCL and provides funding for vital scholarships in global health, crime science, public policy and other disciplines for deserving U.S. students. 

UCLFAA President Mark Howard with Treasurer Mark Cleary
Mark’s achievements at the helm are many and varied, including reworking the internal structure of the organisation. He says: “I’m most proud of the smaller achievements such as dedicating a number of scholarships to deserving students, but we’ve also overhauled the financial controls, revamped the investment program, and internal governance structure.” While these are not particularly glamorous things, they are crucial to instil confidence in the UCLFAA with past and future supporters.” 

A burgeoning alumni engagement programme is another part of Mark’s vision. By partnering with regional alumni clubs, Mark aims to create a ‘hub’ for alumni activity and bring graduates closer to UCL and each other. These engagement opportunities are working to elevate the work of UCLFAA in the eyes of U.S. alumni. “UCL has supported and encouraged us to take our initiatives around mentoring and hosting events. Through our board, we also have different relationships and networks that reach outside the circle of alumni into our professional networks and that allows us to reach even further.”

Mark believes that the positive feedback loop that comes as a result of rolling up your sleeves is why every UCL alumnus in the U.S. should engage with the UCLFAA. He says: “Those who volunteer for UCL in the Americas may be able to ‘move the needle’ more than with domestic colleges and universities. This means that you more clearly see the tangible impacts of your efforts.” 

And, on a personal level, he enjoys keeping connected to the UK. “I've found that staying involved with UCL keeps me closer to the heartbeat of London. I have incredibly fond memories of the time I spent in London and by volunteering with UCL, I feel a tangible sense of connectivity that I would not otherwise enjoy.”

A new president for the UCLFAA is due to be elected shortly and Mark is confident the organisation will continue to thrive. He says: “I hope that our U.S. alumni will increasingly see the UCLFAA as an organisation worthy of their support and time. We’ve set up a terrific next generation of leaders to turn our shared vision into a reality. They come from diverse backgrounds, bring a lot of energy and will have the resources from a stronger FAA to do new and exciting things going forward.”

Find out more about how you can get involved with the UCLFAA or support its mission at uclfaa.org.

Pictured above, from left to right: UCLFAA Treasurer Mark Cleary with President Mark Howard.