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A message from Vice-Chancellor and Warden, Professor Karen O'Brien

Professor Karen O'BrienDate: May 2022


At six months into this remarkable journey, I wanted to share my thoughts and respond to some of the questions facing both our university and higher education in general.

To do this, I am delighted that a highly respected member of our global alumni and supporter community, Lord Kim Darroch, was able to join me recently, both to renew his connection with Hatfield College and discuss some of the pertinent issues of the day with me in a recorded fireside chat interview.

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The last six months has seen our university spring back to life. During the video, I outline my initial impressions of a university that is truly special; in its sense of place, its sense of community and in the opportunities that it offers to students that equip them with invaluable life skills for their life after university.

We talk about the role our university plays as an engine of social change, as an instrument of democracy, and the role that we have as a global university to support other communities facing challenging times. 

We were also delighted to welcome three wonderful members of our alumni community who kindly asked some key questions that I know are reflected by many of you. In particular these focused around our stance on caring for our environment, our approach to new ways of delivering education, and finally we discussed the invaluable support that our alumni and supporters can offer to students and new graduates. 

I hope you find the video informative and enjoyable and that it resonates for you. I look forward to exploring and discussing these, and other pressing and important topics, with you over the coming months and years to come. 

With best wishes as always from Durham. 

Professor Karen O’Brien 
VC & Warden, Durham University