First, thank you to everyone who lives locally for the tremendous support they give to the university.
I know it isn’t always easy to live cheek by jowl with students, and a very few of them sometimes let us down with their noise and their rubbish, keeping the senior tutor’s office busy.
The few complaints we receive are always acted on, but over nearly 40 years town and gown have rubbed along together pretty well, and each enriches the life of the other.
Perhaps I can say a special thank you to the Friends of the University, people from far and mainly near who are particularly involved in life here.
Sometimes we hear the unjustified comment that the university is only interested in making money out of Buckingham. This is simply not the case.
The university is a charity which doesn’t make profits, and as one of the largest employers in the area, and a population of students and staff who spend their money locally, we are crucial to the town’s economy.
You will have read in the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser that the vice-chancellor, Professor Terence Kealey, retired at the end of the spring term. Professor Kealey has been at the university for 13 years – more than any of his predecessors.
As our chairman of council commented, it is doubtful if the university would still exist were it not for his tireless and dedicated work.
But Buckingham is no ivory tower, and Professor Kealey and his wife have been as much part of Buckingham as they have been of the university. Under Professor Kealey the campus has been transformed.
Within the past three years we have seen the restoration of Prebend House in Hunter Street and the Radcliffe Centre in Church Street, and the purchase of Ford Meadow which will be developed as a sports facility. He has championed our public lectures and is a governor of the Royal Latin School.
Sally Kealey has been a huge contributor to local groups, with particular involvement in The Buckingham Festival of Music and Drama and The Film Place.
Professor Kealey is now starting on an important research project into the economics of science, funded by the Cato Institute.
In September he will be in Washington, talking to the House of Representatives and to the Senate. But for a time at least he and Sally will continue to live locally, and if you see them around I hope you take the chance to thank them for their contribution to the town.