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Talk at Graduate Institute Geneva

On the initiative of SFOU, Professor Morsing was delivering the Geneva Dialogue lecture this year and they had a fantastic discussion with the audience at the Graduate Institute and online.

on 09.04.2024 in Geneva

Lord Patten of Barnes announces his retirement as Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Christopher Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, has announced that he will retire as Chancellor of the University of Oxford at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. He has been Chancellor since March 2003.

Lord Patten said: ‘This year, I will have my 80th birthday in May. I hope that there will be many more birthdays to come. But I am unlikely to have another 21 years in the job as Chancellor of the University.

‘I think it is in my own interest and that of the University for me to step down at the end of this academic year, giving the University the opportunity to plan a sensible succession which matches the demands of the 2020s. I say this with a heavy heart, trusting that I will still be able to work for Oxford University (which I love) from time to time.

‘The University of Oxford has been a hugely important part of my life. I think it is true to say that Oxford as a whole made me, not just because of the three happy years I spent there as a student, but because of what Oxford has continued to mean to me over the years right up to the present day.’

Professor Irene Tracey, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: ‘Over the past 21 years, Lord Patten has been an extraordinarily active and committed Chancellor, engaging in as many as 60 international events per year on the University’s behalf, tirelessly championing Oxford at home and abroad. While his incomparable dedication will be sorely missed by the University, it is entirely understandable that he should want to take a step back at this time, as he approaches his 80th birthday.

‘I am personally grateful for his wise and steadfast support to me as I navigated the transition to becoming VC.

‘On behalf of thousands of alumni, students and staff and the many people whose lives have been changed by the University’s work, I thank Chris, and also his wife Lavender, for their service and wish them well in a richly deserved retirement.’

The University expects to be able to share further information about the next steps soon, as well as to provide opportunities for comments and questions.

About the role of Chancellor

The Chancellor is the titular head of the University and presides over several key ceremonies. The Chancellor chairs the Committee to Elect the Vice-Chancellor. In addition to these formal duties, the Chancellor undertakes advocacy, advisory and fundraising work, acting as an ambassador for the University at a range of national and international events.

The election of the Chancellor

The process and timetable for the election of the Chancellor by members of the University’s Convocation will be announced in due course.

Save the date

SFOU dinner with John Bowers KC
Principal, Brasenose College, Oxford
Zurich, 12th September 2023

To:       Members and Friends of SFOU,

John Bowers KC, distinguished jurist and principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, will be coming to Switzerland at the end of the summer and he has agreed to speak at a private dinner for SFOU members in Zurich, on the evening of Tuesday, 12th September 2023 at 19:00, at the Baur au Lac Club and will talk on the subject of “Free Speech on Campus”.

Please note the date in your diary and hopefully you can join us. An official invitation will follow.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful summer season.

Howard Rosen, President

Reading with Prof Henrike Laehnemann

Reading from the book “Unerhörte Frauen” at the Jesuitenbibliothek in Zurich
Zurich, 22nd August 2023, 19:00

About the event:

About Henrike Lähnemann:
http://Henrike Lähnemann | Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (

About the ranking of the book:

Professor Irene Tracey nominated as next Oxford Vice-Chancellor

The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes, who chaired the Nominating Committee, said: ‘Irene Tracey was born in Oxford and educated at a local comprehensive and Oxford University, for which she has now been proposed as the next Vice-Chancellor. It is an extraordinary story of personal achievement, social mobility and academic excellence. I doubt whether anyone knows more about the University and all its aspects than today’s Warden of Merton. She also, as an internationally recognised scientist, has considerable experience at home and abroad. I am sure she will build successfully on the outstanding achievements of Louise Richardson and lead Oxford in coping with the big challenges which lie ahead.’

Read the full article here.

SFOU congratulates Professor Dame Sarah Springman on her appointment as St Hilda’s new Principal, former Rector of ETH Zurich.


‘What the college stands for is very important to me. Excellence and equality have been significant driving motivations throughout my career.’

Professor Dame Sarah Springman was awarded a DBE for services to engineering and services to international sports administration in the 2022 New Year Honours. Exactly a month later she formally took up her post as the new Principal of St Hilda’s.


Swiss Friends of Oxford celebrates four years of success

Swiss Friends of Oxford (SFOU) has successfully completed its fourth full year of operation.
During 2021 SFOU has reached some significant milestones. It has already facilitated over
CHF 4,500,000 in donations to Oxford University, its colleges and departments and
distributed over CHF 5,000 in scholarship funds to Swiss-based students applying to Oxford.
SFOU has grown its membership to 64 and has expanded its board by appointing Maria
Mavridoglou and Anne Kriken Mann.

President of the Association Howard Rosen said: ‘It’s an important part of our mission that
50% of our membership fees are allocated to support Swiss-based students studying at
Oxford. Switzerland is one of the philanthropic centres of the world and has detailed rules on
the establishment and purposes of tax-exempt organisations. As such, SFOU permits Oxford
University alumni and others based in Switzerland to make gifts and leave legacies in a tax
efficient way as charitable donations to Oxford.’

Board member Guy Spier noted: ‘We now have a platform from which to give back to
Oxford University, which has made such a difference to all our lives. As we look to the
future, there will be many more opportunities to increase awareness of Oxford and help the
next generation experience the same opportunities that we enjoyed.’

‘The most satisfying part of being a member of SFOU,’ said board member John Rolley, ’is
the support we can give directly to students. Working with Oxford we have already identified
students who are candidates for financial support, and the numbers we award scholarships to
will only grow as we spread the word.’

A spokesperson from Oxford University, said: ‘SFOU is a wonderful model for other nonprofits, started by alumni with the objective of giving back to their university.
Colleagues across the University and colleges were impressed when they started the association and are even more impressed that it has become a success, in spite of the pandemic. We are enormously grateful to the membership of SFOU for all their hard work and dedication.’

To find out more about the Swiss Friends of Oxford University, please visit the SFOU
website: or e-mail:

A message from the Vice Chancellor

Professor Louise Richardson CREDIT: John Cairns
18 November 2021  

As I am sure you may know, it is 6th week here at Oxford and we have broken the back of Michaelmas Term and can now start contemplating the Christmas break.

This has been an extraordinary time and I would like to thank each and every one of you for all you have done to support our University and for your continued active participation in the alumni community – it means a great deal to all of us after the prolonged disruption of the pandemic.

I also wanted to let you know that it is being announced today that I have been appointed the 13th President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. I will take up my post on 1 January 2023 at the conclusion of my seven year term here at Oxford at the end of December 2022. As many of you know, the Carnegie Corporation is a Foundation dedicated to promoting education, strengthening democracy and advancing international peace.

The process of choosing my successor is already well-advanced. A committee charged with nominating the next Vice-Chancellor, led by the Chancellor, began work in July this year. It is expected to submit a name to the University’s Congregation for approval in summer 2022.

My years at Oxford have been the highlight of my career and I have treasured my opportunities to engage with this remarkable alumni community. But it is too early for perorations. I fully intend to dedicate the next year to working as hard as ever, together with you, to advance the mission of this great university. At Carnegie I will be leading a Foundation dedicated to my twin passions of education and peace, but Oxford will never be far from my thoughts.

With warm wishes,   Professor Louise Richardson Vice-Chancellor

SFOU hosted an evening with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, FREng FRS

On 17th March 2021 SFOU hosted a fascinating (virtual) evening with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, FREng FRS, Principal of Jesus College, and Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, and Chairman of the Open Data Institute. Sir Nigel spoke brilliantly on “The Digital Ape: Being Human in the Age of AI”. A lively Q&A and discussion followed. Hopefully we can welcome Sir Nigel to Switzerland in person in the near future.