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Obituary: Pat Costall

The School of Law's first Academic Support Officer
It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of our former colleague Pat Costall. Pat joined Birkbeck School of Law in 2004 as our first Academic Support Officer. In addition to that role, she coordinated mooting, and support for disabled students. Pat retired from the School in July 2015.

Pat is widely admired by our students and staff for the deep commitment she had to our students’ advancement and success. She would spend many hours with students, especially just before assessment deadlines, helping students to reach their full potential. Pat went above and beyond her duties when it came to supporting students.

Pat had been Lecturer of Approaches to Studying Management with Personal Development Planning, a module in Year 1 of the Foundation Degree in Management from 2001/02 to her retirement in 2015. Her lasting legacy in the Department of Management is in preparing for university many students who have not had the proper preparation for higher education. The patience she exhibited in this role was exemplary. Pat was an effective teacher because she had the qualities to put her students at ease. Not only did the students go on and attain a Foundation Degree in Management, but many of them also proceeded to achieve a BA or a BSc, and this is due not in a small way to Pat, who was there at the beginning of their Birkbeck journey.

Personal memories

The Dean of the School of Law, Professor Stewart Motha: “I recall many occasions when Pat spoke passionately in support of the welfare of students. She was deeply committed to widening participation in university education. I am sure there are many Birkbeck graduates out there who will say they made it through their degrees because of Pat’s dedication and skill.  We mourn her passing”

Some of the words used to describe Pat from the many staff at Birkbeck that worked with her:

Lovely, supportive, positive, worked tirelessly, great imagination, defining the academic support role, enthusiasm, patience and kindness, integral part of the law school, assistance far beyond her remit, caring, warm, selfless, kind, gentle, inspirational woman who will be so much missed.