Following a hectic week of receptions across North America last week, we caught up with Director of Fundraising, Marc Hornby, to find out how they all went:
"We had the pleasure of meeting our fantastic alumni across North America recently. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Alec Cameron, the Aston University in Americas' Treasurer, David McCollum, and I, met with almost 100 alumni over the course of the week with events in Toronto, New York, San Diego and San Francisco.
With at least 2,000 Astonians across the U.S. and another 600 in Canada, North America has a large community of alumni who are connecting with the university and each other. We shared stories of campus and reminisced about Lawrence, Stafford and Dalton towers, as well as the Sacks of Potatoes and Gosta Green (others may know as the Pot of Beer!). We met many Aston Stags, Unicorns and Cobras and it was entertaining that we were all able to share a common language for a few hours together.
Starting off in Toronto, we met almost 30 alumni based in the Ontario area and we even had birthday cake for one person in the room, so it was a real celebration. With alumni going back to our first President of the Students' Guild in 1966 right through to recent years, the Vice Chancellor shared developments in Birmingham city as well as plans for campus.
Moving on to New York and here there are over 400 alumni in the tri-state area and the temperature a little warmer than Canada! It was here we met the President of the Aston University in Americas Foundation, Farhan Sharaff, who has been leading the Foundation for the last two years and grown the community and its fundraising over that time. So far we have raised almost $400,000 and this is helping a great number of students with scholarships and bursaries for their studies and work placements. David McCollum also shared many other ways alumni get involved including placements for students, mentoring, guest lectures and student recruitment.
In San Diego, California, we were greeted with sunshine and the event was kindly hosted by Stephen Lord and his wife Michele Tutoli at Michele’s law firm. The group in this area is a newly forming group and with over 50 alumni in Southern California we are already planning the next event in autumn (or should I say fall?!).
Concluding the trip in San Francisco in the Bay area. We have over 150 alumni in this part and several of our alumni here have signed up to be mentors to students back on campus. We met alumni who had moved out to San Francisco 30 years ago as well as 3 months ago and so with a rich and diverse community we shared stories of Aston, but also places to visit, places to eat and generally how different life is living in California.
David McCollum is taking up his role on a full-time basis and so we will have a constant contact moving around North America, meeting alumni, bringing together groups and engaging businesses in Aston University’s programmes and activities back on campus. Don’t forget that we have a Linkedin group that you can join and details of the Americas Foundation can be found here."