THANKS in part to its new dynamic Vice-Chancellor Prof Michael Thorne, the University of East London (UEL) decided to set up a new programme of international alumni relations and launched it at UEL's inaugural alumni dinner in Kuala Lumpur recently.
The dinner, hosted by UEL, was well attended by almost 400 guests, including Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim and heads of local institutions.
In his address, Prof Thorne paid tribute to the alumni and said that their achievements were a source of pride for the university and an inspiration to current students.
“The university has won national and international prizes in architecture, engineering, industrial design, psychology, textiles and fashion design including the Young Female Engineer of the Year and the Young Architect of the Year awards,” he said.
“UEL's tradition of excellence in teaching and learning will continue especially in the fields of Architecture (UEL is ranked among the top five in the UK), English and Psychology,” he added.
Prof Thorne said that UEL is currently ranked as one of the top 10 modern UK universities for research and enjoys the same standing as Oxford in Art and Design.
“We are currently on a joint research programme with a leading UK charity researching the potential for multi-media to enhance the lives of those with learning disabilities,” he said, adding that it was also developing new building materials from recycled waste.
Prof Thorne outlined the university's strategy for the future which includes expansion plans for its award-winning Docklands campus. The campus is earmarked to provide facilities for the public to share including a state-of-the-art learning and resource centre.
Thorne later announced the setting up of a new website for its international alumni.
“Apart from providing news about the latest developments and events at UEL, the website will have dedicated pages for your region and a “trace a class-mate” facility, thus enabling you to get updates from your fellow alumni,” he said.
At a separate function, Hon was conferred an honorary doctorate of education by UEL for his contributions in developing education standards among the rural population and the poor. The deputy minister received the award from Prof Thorne at a special ceremony held at Seremban.
Hon, who is also Seremban MP and Negri Sembilan MCA liaison committee chairman, was made a Negri Sembilan state executive councillor in 1986 and became the Deputy Education Minister in 1999. He also initiated a fund to help the needy in his constituency in 1997.