21st March 2016Alistair Lomax
One of the best days of your life
This is how the new Vice-Chancellor, Sir Anthony Seldon, introduced graduation day to 2,000 guests over the weekend.
He likened the Rite of passage to birth or marriage and invited the graduands to applaud their families and the sacrifice that they had made to show their appreciation for one another; to recognise the care and attention lavished on them by their tutors.
In the second ceremony of the day, the Honorary Graduand was Lloyd Dorfman. He was founder of Travelex which grew from a single kiosk in Holborn to being the dominant handler of foreign exchange in the world. He has already visited the university to share the story with students on the enterprise course, as a visiting speaker last year. The students run their own businesses as part of the course and they flock here from all over the world.
Loyd Dorfman had been asked to offer pearls of wisdom and advice to the graduands, as they spread wings and embark on their next leg of life’s journey.
He quoted Einstein who advised that people should contribute more than they consume during their lifetimes and give something back.
Dorfman has lived by this advice himself. After selling some of his share of Travelex for £1bn, he gave £10m to the National Theatre. He is also Chairman of the Prince’s Trust.
I’ve graduated from three universities and was struggling to remember a word of my ceremonies, but I will never forget the atmosphere and waves of goodwill that will spread from Buckingham this weekend. It’s a great privilege to be working with Sir Anthony, as his Acting Director of Development. Anthony has come back to lead the University that was inspired by his Oxford tutor, Lord Beloff, and established by a group of radicals who included his father, Arthur Seldon the Economist and Dame Barbara Shenfield, his Godmother.
It was timely to honour Lloyd Dorfman this year. The University of Buckingham is celebrating its 40th birthday. So is Travelex itself and the Princes Trust. The new VC, Sir Anthony, a champion of wellbeing and author of ‘Beyond Happiness’ couldn’t resist and led the congregation in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.