Peter Westley’s career has been spent in the service of colleges of the University of London. After qualifying as an accountant in 1982 he joined University College London before spending 16 years at the Institute of Education, where he was Deputy Finance Secretary.
He joined Birkbeck as Finance Secretary in June 1994, and retired as Director of Finance early in 2014, having steered the college’s finances prudently through turbulent but well-ending times, including the 2012 funding changes and the collapse of the college’s then investment banker, Baring’s, in 1995.
He said: "During my 20 years at Birkbeck, the college faced several major financial challenges, notably the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s decision to no longer fund students holding equivalent or lower qualifications (ELQ), and the adverse impact on part-time undergraduate recruitment resulting from the tripling of student fees.
‘However, all of these challenges were successfully overcome through innovative curriculum changes involving the dedicated hard work of all academic, administrative and support staff.’
While working for Birkbeck in the late 1990s Peter Westley decided to update his technical knowledge and skills by studying for a BA in Accounting and Management at the College, graduating with a First in 2000.
He added: ‘I wanted to refresh my knowledge and I am particularly pleased that I was able to do this at Birkbeck. The family connection continues – I suggested Birkbeck to my nephew, who starts a degree in Psychology at the college in October.
‘I am now enjoying my retirement, and in particular the arrival of a grandson in August. I am immensely proud to have been offered a Fellowship and look forward to continue being involved with Birkbeck in the future.’