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Alumni celebrating 50 years

The 2023 reunion of the Dunelm Society took place at the House of Lords on November 16 and was a glittering celebration of all things Durham.

Above image - Celebrating 50 years, from the front, anti-clockwise; Tim Duffy, Christine Loys, Jim Clark, Liz Clark, Richard Hey, Dorothy Duffy, David Unwin, Elspeth Garmen, Chris Higgins, Leslie Ferrar. 

This prestigious annual event in London attracted 120 guests, including members of our alumni and supporter community based in and around the London area, University colleagues and even our victorious University Challenge team. There were also representatives from all 17 of our Colleges. The black-tie reunion occasion features a keynote speaker and speeches, alongside a dinner.

Keynote speech

Our Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Karen O’Brien provided the keynote address, centred around what makes Durham really special. Referencing the foundation of the University in 1832 and Bishop Van Mildert's role in establishing Durham as a seat of learning, Professor O'Brien explored how quickly the world was changing then, and has continued to change since. The link, however, remains between the original stated purpose in our University charter ‘for the advancement of learning’ and our recently refreshed University strategy, where this phrase is still very much at the heart.

From one to fifty years

Professor O’Brien’s speech was particularly relevant as there was a group of alumni attending that were celebrating 50 years since meeting in their first year at Durham, and there was also the recently graduated victorious University Challenge team. The common thread between the two groups is their passion for all things Durham.   


Our host for the evening was alumnus Viscount Colville (History, St Chad’s College, 1981). Our thanks go to organisers alumnus Graham Barker (Law, Van Mildert College, 1980) and alumna Sandra Jones (English Literature, Trevelyan College, 1980).

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