Garth Pollard was appointed an independent Governor of Birkbeck in 2001 and has served as Deputy Chair of Governors since 2008. He is the Chair of the College’s Audit Committee and an ex-officio member of the Nominations and Remunerations Committees. He retires from the post in September 2012.
A partner at Clifford Chance for 26 years, Garth Pollard was Executive Partner and Chief Operating Officer for 10 years before his retirement in 2001. His particular legal expertise is in financial, taxation and human resource matters. He has held many committee positions; serving on a prison monitoring board, as Chair of a Housing Association and of an independent school, St Christopher’s, in Letchworth. He has recently joined the Council of Aldeburgh Music, enabling him to enhance his lifelong love of music.
‘I have very much enjoyed my time with the College, doing whatever Birkbeck has asked me to do!’ he says. ‘I learned a great deal during my 11 years on various committees, but I particularly enjoyed becoming involved in the work that goes on in the School of Science, as I have no science background at all.
‘For me, one of the things that makes Birkbeck remarkable, besides its academic distinction, is the relationship I’ve seen between the staff and students. It seems very different to when I was 18 and at university, or indeed even to the way my children related to their university tutors. At Birkbeck the relationship is much more interactive. You see an amazing mix of people of all ages and backgrounds, who have come together because they want to learn and to expand their horizons – often overcoming real difficulties to achieve this. It makes Birkbeck’s graduation ceremonies truly celebratory occasions.
‘Members of my family have completed an MA and a doctorate at Birkbeck, so I know that from the student perspective the experiences have been truly positive also. Birkbeck is a special place, and I’m very happy to be continuing my relationship with the College as a Fellow. I particularly look forward to the Birkbeck Association coming to fruition.’