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University of Nottingham Alumni in North America » Alumni News & Links

Alumni News & Links

Alumni Event: New York November 3rd 2016 Time: 6.30pm -9.00pm

At The Churchill Tavern, 45 East 28th Street, NYC 10016 (between Madison and Park Avenue).

Join the University of Nottingham Alumni Team again this November as they host an exclusive alumni reception at the city’s finest British tavern, The Churchill, and welcome guest speaker Dave Hancock (MSc Sports Medicine, 1999).

Performance Director for the Washington Nationals, Dave’s inspirational career in sports performance management has led him to work with some of the top sporting teams in the world, including Manchester United and Chelsea Football Clubs, the British Olympic swimming team, the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Knicks. Hear Dave speak about his amazing and varied career – and find out what it’s like to work with the world’s top athletes and sporting personalities! 

Guests will also enjoy drinks and some quintessentially British canapes including classic fish and chips and sausage rolls. This is a great opportunity to connect with fellow alumni in the region, expand your networks and make new acquaintances.

Event details
Date: Thursday 3 November 2016
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: The Churchill Tavern, 45 East 28th Street, NYC 10016 (between Madison and Park Avenue).

The University’s last event in New York sold out so book today to avoid disappointment. Tickets are free, but are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.  Contact the University at the following url.


Not in New York?

If you’re not in the Big Apple this November, we can confirm that we’ll be hosting a west coast event in March 2017 at the Dolby Studios in San Francisco. Watch this space for more information coming soon! 

Many Thanks to our Retiring Board Members:

August 2016: After many years of extraordinary contributions to the FUNAmerica Board, Pauline Hallam-Mason and Martin Wybourne are stepping down from the Board this month. They leave the organisation after one of its most successful years in our 25 year history. Pauline served as Secretary for ten years having joined the Board in 2005. Martin joined the Board in 2013 and most recently, they helped FUNAmerica  and legacy donor develop and launch a new permanent financial aid endowment at the University of Nottingham. The endowment provides financial support for local students around Nottingham to attend the university.

We truly appreciate their enthusiasm, insights and wise counsel, as well as, their many other contributions to FUNAmerica and the University’s alumni outreach efforts  over the years. Thank you.

Adrian Dawes, President.


July, 2016: Award of Gillian Milne Memorial Prize for Chemistry

The Friends of the University of Nottingham: America Inc., (FUNAmerica)  is pleased to announce that the 2016 award of the Gillian Milne Memorial Prize for Chemistry has been presented to Mr. Samuel Gilson who gained the year’s highest marks on the Chemistry MSci Course in 2016.

The prize giving ceremony took place at the Annual Chemistry Prize giving in July, 2016 at the Chemistry Department on the Nottingham campus.

The Gillian Milne Memorial Prize was established by Gordon Milne, an alumnus of the University of Nottingham in honour of his wife. The Annual Prize is managed by FUNAmerica and awarded by the Chemistry Department.

Gillian Milne Prize Winner 2016 Samuel Gilson

Samuel Gilson being awarded the Gillian Milne Memorial Prize by Dr Elena Besley of the Chemistry Department.

[Photo:Courtesy of the University of Nottingham © ]






New Years Honours List  2016.

MRI Leads the Way
Professor Peter Morris, Professor of Physics and Head of Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham, for services to Science and Medicine was awarded a Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Sir Peter Mansfield NRI Centre Opened 1991

The Magnetic Resonance Centre was established at The University of Nottingham in 1991 to house the University’s expanding Magnetic Resonance Group. Part of the School of Physics and Astronomy, the centre has been conducting research into Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) since Sir Peter Mansfield’s pioneering work in the early 1970s. Sir Peter is still an Emeritus Professor at the University today.


We’re 7th in the UK for research power

THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM  is ranked 7th for research impact in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), which assesses the quality and volume of research at 154 UK universities.

More than 97% of our research is recognised internationally with wide-ranging impacts on society, the economy, health and welfare, culture, public policy and the environment. The amount of Nottingham research regarded as world-leading has almost doubled since the last review in 2008 – increasing from 18% to 31%. Pharmacy had more than 50% of its research classified as world-leading with five other clinical and medical units having more than a third of their research achieve this top categorisation.

In 16 subject areas, the University featured in the UK top ten by research power with education, law, classics, nursing, architecture and the built environment and physics all ranking highly.

A good REF score is important not only in recognising the strength and breadth of our research but also in influencing the allocation of research funding. This strong result confirms Nottingham’s place in the top tier of the UK’s elite higher education institutions with only Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and the London universities ranking higher.


January 6, 2016

The Board of the Friends of the University of Nottingham:America, Inc. (FUNAmerica) is pleased to announce that alumna Christina Thomas  former CEO of BAFTA has joined the Board of Directors.

Adrian Dawes, President of FUNAmerica, said: “We are very pleased that Christina Thomas has joined the Board. We look forward to her contributions  as we work together with the University of Nottingham’s  Campaign and Alumni Relations team to develop the Nottingham Alumni network in North America. Her successes and expertise in growing BAFTA in the US will help the expansion of FUNAmerica’s alumni initiatives and hosted events, as well as our fundraising efforts to support our mission of helping the wider University of Nottingham community – its students and global research.”

For More Information about FUNAmerica please contact:  Adrian Dawes President: email: alumni@funamerica.org

The Friends of the University of Nottingham: America Inc., is a registered 501(c)3 organization in the USA. Gifts made to the Foundation are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes for the maximum amount permitted by law (FUN America’s Tax ID Number: 13-3619622)


Christina Thomas received her BA in Sociology from the University of Nottingham. She was a founding member of the New York chapter of BAFTA – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was appointed the organization’s first Chairman in 1996 and remained in that position until 2006. In 2007 she was appointed as the first Chief Executive. Under her leadership membership grew to nearly 800 members with over 70 film screenings a year and an additional 20 events of an educational and fulfillment nature. During her tenure she established, along with the support of the Board and various committee chairs, several programming strands and initiatives such ‘Brits Who Cracked America’; ‘The BAFTA New York Media Studies Scholarship Program’. The BAFTA New York Film Awards party; The BAFTA Situation Comedy screenings and many others. She signed up several leading companies as Sponsors and ensured that the organisation ran on a secure financial basis. She stepped down as Chief Executive in 2015. She is also a member of New York Women in Film and Television.

Prior to her involvement with BAFTA New York, Ms. Thomas was President of the US subsidiary of Primetime Entertainment, Inc. a leading UK independent program packaging and distribution company representing over 150 independent producers and 8,000 hours of programming. Ms Thomas has been involved in the development, co-production and sales of television programming worldwide for most of her career. She founded Jigsaw Communications, a global finance and independent film distribution consulting agency, and continues to work with documentary film makers to develop and market their films.



A big thank you… Simon Handelsman Retiring Board Member of FUNAmerica

December 2015

After ten years as a Board Member of FUNAmerica, Vancouver-based alumnus Simon Handelsman has stepped down from the Board in December. The Board wishes to thank Simon for his enthusiasm, insight and wise counsel and for the many other contributions to the organization  helping FUNAmerica provide financial aid and advice on alumni matters to the University of Nottingham.  Dr.  Handelsman is an international minerals development engineer & advisor with open pit and underground mining experience and he is also an adjunct professor in the mining department at UBC.

Thank you…..Simon

Turner Prize win for Nottingham architecture tutor

10 Dec 2015

 Assemble Turner Prize 445 x 124

An architecture tutor from The University of Nottingham is part of the design collective, Assemble, which has just won the Turner Prize 2015, Britain’s top contemporary art award.

Joseph Halligan, a part-time undergraduate studio tutor in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, is also a member of the London-based art and architecture group, Assemble.

Assemble are the first non-artists to scoop the £25,000 prize for their renovation of derelict houses that were due for demolition in Liverpool.

The 18-strong collective, many of whom studied architecture at university, have developed imaginative designs for the interiors of 10 run-down terraced houses on Cairns Road, Toxteth.

The winning project aimed to support local residents in their work to rebuild their neighbourhood with a grassroots approach and a social conscience, using art to engage residents in ways to improve homes and lives.

They have created mantelpieces using rubble from the streets; ceramic door handles fired in barbeques fuelled by old sawdust; hand-decorated tiles and terracotta lamps.

For the Turner Prize exhibition show, Assemble created a pop-up showroom and shop at the Tramway arts venue in Glasgow, selling such handmade products from demolition waste.

These artisan wares are made by local residents, trained and employed by Assemble in a social enterprise, which aims rebuild one of Liverpool’s most neglected neighbourhoods. Their handmade products for the hom now sell online too.

Halligan, who has worked at the University for more than a year, is part of a large body of part-time staff in the Department, bringing with them a broad range of architectural and design approaches and backgrounds.

Teaching architecture, says Halligan, is a wonderful way of exploring ideas.

“The students at Nottingham are intelligent and the dialogues we have are stimulating and that is the reason I teach here.”

Commenting on the Turner Prize win, Halligan added: “It’s been fantastic for the project we are working on in Liverpool 8 with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust.  The nomination alone has allowed us to start something, Granby Workshop, which would never have been possible previously.  The fact we’ve won is just brilliant.”

Dr Robin Wilson, Head of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “We are delighted with Assemble’s Turner Prize success and very happy for Joe. Their approach underlines the diverse contribution architecture has to play in shaping culture and society.

“We are very lucky to have Joe amongst our talented team of designers, supporting and inspiring the next generation of architects.”

Assemble were announced winners of the 31st Turner Prize, from a shortlist of four, at a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4, in Glasgow, Scotland.

They were presented with their coveted accolade by Sonic Youth co-founder and artist, Kim Gordon.

The Turner Prize, set up in 1984, is presented annually to a British Artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentations of their work in the previous 12 months.

Previous winners include Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Antony Gormley


Captain America!

Chris Wyles - USA rugby. University of Nottingham Alumni

Chris Wyles – USA rugby. University of Nottingham Alumni

It’s said to be the fastest growing sport in the USA and one Nottingham alumnus is paving the way.

The 2015 Rugby Union World Cup takes place in the UK over the next few weeks and Chris Wyles (Politics 2006) is set to captain the USA as they take on Samoa in their opening fixture on Sunday.

Although the 15-man code has traditionally struggled to make any headway in the US there are signs that its popularity is on the rise, especially amongst universities, and sports commentators at this world cup are hailing the Eagles as the game’s “sleeping giants”.

Wyles has played rugby union for club and country at the highest level for more than eight years. His English club side Saracens won the Aviva Premiership league title this year and the American back is relishing the challenge of leading his countrymen after recently winning his 50th USA cap.

Born in Connecticut, the young Wyles moved back to the UK with his English parents, aged 12 and developed his rugby skills at Haileybury College in Hertford.

While at university in Nottingham, he also played for Championship side Nottingham RFC before a brief spell with Northampton Saints.

He returned to the US and was about to pack up playing rugby for good but while at the 2007 world Cup in France, his performances impressed the then Saracens Head Coach Eddie Jones and he joined the club on secondment from USA Rugby.

Since then he has made 177 appearances for Saracens and is one of their most consistent performers.

On the international scene, Wyles made his debut for the US Eagles against England Saxons in the 2007 Churchill Cup and has been a regular in the side ever since, helping his country reach the 2011 World Cup, He was also a member of the victorious USA Eagles side that beat Russia at Allianz Park in November 2013.

The tournament could represent Wyles’ last World Cup and being staged in the UK means his family will able to come and watch.

In pool B of the world cup, the Eagles play Samoa on Sunday 20th September, Scotland on Sunday 27th, South Africa on Wednesday 7th October and Japan on Sunday 11th October. Only then will we know if the sleeping giants have awakened.


Welcome Victoria – the 250,000th Nottingham graduate!



Summer graduation is always a special moment in the University calendar. This year, extra celebrations are in order as we reach a landmark milestone and welcome the 250,000th graduate into our alumni community.

Graduating with a first class degree in LLB Hons Law, Victoria Rowley makes University history as the 250,000th person to receive a Nottingham degree. She was awarded a Distinction in American law in recognition of her performance whilst studying at the University of Connecticut and also participated in a Summer School at The University of Nottingham’s campus in Malaysia.

Victoria spoke about her time at Nottingham and what is next for her.

What is your University highlight? 

“The real highlight for me was studying abroad in America in my third year. I learnt so much about the American legal system, history and culture. It was also a great chance to meet new people and be independent travelling around the country. I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity if I hadn’t come to Nottingham.”

How would you sum up your four years here in three words? 

“I’d have to say – unique, enriching and exciting. University life has just been incredible – I don’t think I could have had better experiences anywhere else. I’m leaving a more confident and well-rounded person on all fronts – academically, personally and culturally. I’ll never forget Nottingham – I’ll always look back and feel proud of my time here.”

How do you feel to be our 250,000th graduate? 

I am really honoured to be the 250,000th graduate of The University of Nottingham. It’s great to be part of this amazing community of Nottingham alumni all around the world. I’m so proud to be representing the University that has given me so much and helped set me on the path of an exciting new career.

What’s next for you? 

In August, I’m going to start the Legal Practice Course to begin training as a solicitor and then from February 2016, I’ll be starting a trainee position at Freshfields International Law Firm in London. I can’t wait to get started!

You received a scholarship while at Nottingham – what difference did it make? 

I received the JC Smith scholarship during my four years at Nottingham. It’s a scholarship for law students that is renewed annually depending on performance, so you have to keep working hard to get it!

It’s been invaluable – it really helped with the costs of studying a challenging course like law. I used some of the funds to travel to career events in London and during my year abroad, it helped fund flights, travel and insurance. It made a huge difference to me personally and I plan to support scholarships for others in the future.

Your Nottingham alumni community 

Victoria joins our prestigious and impressive alumni community – a community that includes graduates from Alaska to Zimbabwe, with ages from 19 to those in their nineties. We have teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, nurses and everything in between – even a sheriff, rancher and comic book writer!

We recently redeveloped the University’s alumni website to better showcase what being part of our alumni community means. From networking opportunities and events to on-going career support and volunteering, there’s lots of ways to get involved. Please take a look today.

If you’d like to support a scholarship for a student like Victoria, please visit our website.

Posted on Thursday 23rd July 2015

Courtesy of the University of Nottingham

July, 2015: Award of Inaugural Gillian Milne Memorial Prize for Chemistry

The Friends of the University of Nottingham: America Inc., (FUNAmerica)  is pleased to announce that the inaugural award of the Gillian Milne Memorial Prize for Chemistry has been presented to Ms. Alice Henley who gained the year’s highest marks on the Chemistry MSci Course in 2015.

The prize giving ceremony took place at the Annual Chemistry Prize giving on 8th July, 2015 at the Chemistry Department on the Nottingham campus.

The Gillian Milne Memorial Prize was established by Gordon Milne, an alumnus of the University of Nottingham in honour of his wife. The Annual Prize is managed by FUNAmerica and awarded by the Chemistry Department.

Alice Henley- Gillian Milne Memorial Prize Recipient July 2015 small

 Head of School, Professor Jonathan Hirst (left) with Professor of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, Neil Thomas (right) presenting the prize to Alice.

[Photo:Courtesy of the University of Nottingham © ]






June, 2015: Derek Chapman, President of the FUN America Inc. for 15 years – steps down – remaining on the Board.

The Board of FUNAmerica Inc. wishes to thank Derek for his wise counsel and long years of service as President of this organization. Since joining the board in 1996 as Appeals Chair, Derek has successfully guided the organization as President for the past 15 years. Derek was unanimously re-elected to the Board at the recent AGM held in June.

Adrian Dawes, (Industrial Economics 1985) was elected as Derek’s successor. Adrian joined the Board three years ago and has spent his professional career in finance and marketing in the US, Canada and UK since graduating from the University in 1985.



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Alumni Exchange: magazine for alumni is the publication for graduates, former students, staff, former staff and friends of the University.  The magazine contains news about the University, its plans and developments, plus news about alumni and updates on the alumni programme of events. http://www.alumni.nottingham.ac.uk/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=359


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