UCL Campaign


North American alumni reunite at local events

18 March 2020

UCL has concluded a four-city tour of North America, with alumni gathering at receptions in Toronto, New York City, Boston and Washington D.C. between 1-11 March.

A Q&A panel at the New York alumni and friends reception

The four East Coast events marked an annual opportunity for UCL graduates in Canada and the United States to renew friendships, build professional networks and meet with University staff and senior leaders.

Guests – ranging from recent graduates through to a 98 year-old alumnus (UCL English Language and Literature 1950) who joined us in New York – participated in Q&As and short talks around UCL’s ground-breaking research, including artificial intelligence (AI).

“UCL has been an early pioneer of AI, with one of the largest and longest running education programmes in the world,” UCL’s first Pro-Vice-Provost for AI, Professor Geraint Rees, told attendees. “The key purpose […] is to benefit people and societies around the world and make a positive impact on the planet.”

“It could be one of the most beneficial technologies humankind has ever developed,” he added.

Professor Rees (also Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences) was joined on the tour by academic colleagues including Professor Sasha Roseneil (Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences) and Professor Christoph Lindner (Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment), who met with counterparts at Yale, NYU and the University of Chicago.

Their visits helped to consolidate UCL’s strong transatlantic links, and reaffirmed the University’s commitment to academic-led collaborations with some of North America’s most prestigious institutions.

The impact of these relationships is underpinned by the support and generosity of UCL’s 23,500-strong alumni community in North America and, in what was his final visit as UCL Provost & President, Professor Michael Arthur spoke of his immense gratitude:

“UCL’s international alumni communities are your greatest friends, allies and partners,” he told attendees in New York. “In a globally connected world, in which the great needs and challenges are universally experienced, the international cooperation and collaboration that we represent is more important than ever.”

President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, with UCLFAA members and alumni

That spirit is embodied by the UCL Friends & Alumni Association (UCLFAA), a North American non-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness and support for research, education and innovation at UCL. Its president, Mark Cleary, pledged $20,000 to the Professor Michael Arthur Scholarship Fund on behalf of the Association.

The Fund provides fully funded postgraduate scholarships for students from under-represented groups, and the gift will ensure that future students have the ability and freedom to think differently about racialised inequalities and hierarchies at UCL’s Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism & Racialisation, further advancing UCL’s founding values of equality and diversity.

The donation is just the latest contribution by our North American networks to UCL’s It’s All Academic Campaign, launched in 2016. To date, the university’s largest philanthropy and engagement initiative has reached 220,000 volunteering hours, with over 43,000 donations – including from over 9,000 alumni.

“We are incredibly lucky to have people of such calibre as leading members of our community,” said Professor Arthur of the UCLFAA and all those who support UCL’s mission. “We couldn’t have done it without you and we really are very grateful.”

Upcoming UCL events are currently suspended in line with UK government guidance around the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, UCL offers a huge range of useful services and benefits to its global alumni community of over 300,000 former students.

As London’s global university, UCL is focused on global citizenships and building productive international partnerships. Read how PhD students Daniyal Jafree and Patrizia Duda benefitted from recent opportunities with the University of Toronto and Yale University. For the latest news about UCL’s international activity, partnerships and opportunities, subscribe to UCL’s bimonthly Global Update newsletter.

The UCL Alumni Online Community provides an exclusive networking area where you can search the directory for potential mentors from our pool of experienced alumni, search for jobs from your alumni community and build your personal network. Log on here.

For more information, visit the UCL Alumni website or contact alumni@ucl.ac.uk. To find out about UCL’s philanthropy and engagement Campaign, visit the It’s All Academic Campaign website.