VC Reflections on Success

Loughborough University Chancellor Lord Sebastian Coe with Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Allison.

As the University approaches the end of the academic year, we also mark the end of a successful chapter and begin preparing for the next, with a new strategy and leadership to take us forwards.

The University’s current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert Allison, retires from his role at the end of July, leaving behind a legacy of growth and progression as well as one of bringing people together.

Here Professor Robert Allison shares some of his highlights with you, our alumni.

You can also read more via our VOLUME article online.

As my time as the Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University draws to a close I want to thank you for your support as alumni of this University. We have made significant progress. Our Building Excellence strategy has provided the framework to support decision making. Our many individual achievements add up to considerable success. It has been a privilege to be part of the journey, which for me is peppered with many defining moments and happy memories.

I am immensely proud to have played my part in everything that has been achieved by the University over the last nine years.

My personal highlight has been the time that I have been able to spend with members of the Loughborough University community: my colleagues, our students, alumni, supporters and other members of the wider Loughborough family. I shall deeply miss so many things about Loughborough but most of all it will be the people that I have worked with and had the privilege to meet.

Only last week at graduation I met parents that I last saw at a University Open Day. Years later they were back with us to celebrate their son’s graduation. You could not have met a happier, more grateful Mum and Dad. Although I would rather that the last 18 months had seen all our students on campus enjoying the usual vibrant atmosphere, it was a privilege to be able to support them, be it delivering meals on campus or cycling around Loughborough and knocking on doors to check on their well-being. I spent a very different but equally enjoyable Christmas Day on campus, serving lunch and hosting VC Bob’s Christmas Bingo with students that were unable to travel home.

You may be aware that my connection to the University dates back to the 1950s. My father was a student at the then Loughborough College. He studied Handicraft, the early years of what is now Design. In his final year, Gordon Allison was President of the Student Representative Council, now Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU). The Students’ Union is a central part of the student experience at Loughborough and during my time at the University, I have done my best to keep a strong relationship between LSU and the University.

Meeting with alumni, supporters and friends of the University has always been one of the most enjoyable part of my role.

I love hearing from alumni about their time at Loughborough and what they have done since graduation. What is most striking is the sense of pride that comes from continuing involvement in the University. Whether graduation was three or thirty years ago, everyone is proud to be associated with Loughborough.

I have numerous memories from meeting with members of the extended Loughborough family. We have enjoyed each other’s company at some incredible venues, including the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the National Portrait Gallery. One the other hand, nothing beats sitting on the terrace at the Athletics Pavilion, on a gloriously sunny day, watching the Loughborough International Athletics surrounded by University friends.

The Loughborough community is dispersed across 169 countries. We have over 192,000 individual alumni that act as our year-round ambassadors, talking fondly of their time at Loughborough when they meet people. This is an incredibly powerful source of support and recognition that should never be underestimated.

Alas, all good things come to an end. Loughborough is a very special place and I shall always be grateful for the opportunity Council gave me to lead such an outstanding institution. I am hugely proud of the University and all it has achieved.

My successor, Professor Nick Jennings, will join the University in the autumn. I am delighted that Professor Jennings will be succeeding me. When I met with Nick, he shared with me his motivation for joining us. He really does get Loughborough, recognises our achievements and is determined to work with others to propel the University to further success. Nick is an outstanding academic and is a personable individual. I know he is the right person to lead Loughborough.

I shall always look with great pride at what we have achieved together. A short film that can be found here tells our story over the last nine years.

Thank you for your support, everything that you have contributed to this great University and your kindness to me personally. I shall always be grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Robert Allison

Vice-Chancellor and President 2012 – 2021