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Birkbeck celebrates Foundation Day

Social mobility takes centre stage during guest address delivered at annual celebration of the College's founding.

Birkbeck’s friends and supporters came together to discuss the fundamental importance of social mobility for employers, education and society as a whole at the College’s annual Foundation Day Dinner.

The event, hosted last night by Professor David Latchman CBE, the Master of Birkbeck, and Chairman of Governors Sir Harvey McGrath, is celebrated as close as possible to 2nd December each year, the date of the College’s foundation in 1823. Hosted at Birkbeck’s Malet St Campus, the event is an opportunity to update guests on the College’s activities and to strengthen its networks for future support.

Professor Latchman said: “Foundation Day Dinner is an important moment for members of the Birkbeck community to come together to remember the spirit in which the College was founded and to affirm our continuing commitment to George Birkbeck’s original mission. Social mobility has long been key to that founding vision and we will continue to explore these issues fully to ensure our students and society benefit.” 

Guest speaker for 2017 was Nik Miller who is a partner at the fundraising consultancy More Partnership and chief executive of the Bridge Group, a policy group that researches and promotes social mobility.

In a well-received address, he told guests: “Our universities cannot contribute meaningfully to social mobility unless the commitment to widen access is matched with a corresponding effort to ensure that students from different backgrounds can benefit equally from the experience.”

Mr Miller, who was last year appointed to investigate socio-economic diversity in the Civil Service, went on: “It is remarkable that Birkbeck has remained steadfastly true to its founding mission.

“If the College can have a transformative effect on the lives of its students, but also craft a strong narrative about purpose and service, and drive systemic change, then, who am I to judge, but I sense that the Founders of this great place would be sincerely proud. Now you can't say that about many universities.” 

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