The University of Southampton

Huge success for ECS alumni reception

Published: 21 May 2012

Last week's ECS alumni reception in London was a huge success, with over 60 years of University and ECS history represented.

Around 250 ECS graduates attended the event, held at the IET, London. As the first ECS alumni reception since 2007, it was intended to provide a new focus for alumni activity in ECS, as well as offering the opportunity for former students of Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and IT, to reconnect with each other, to celebrate ECS and its achievements, and to find out more about recent developments.

“The event exceeded all our expectations”, said Professor Neil White, Head of ECS. “There was an outstandingly positive atmosphere in the room and it was really great to see so many old and new connections being made.”

With an excellent showing of graduates from almost every year of the University's 50 year history, the earliest graduates in attendance were Alan Conway and Frederick Wise, who both graduated in 1953 from the Electronics Postgraduate Diploma course, and were taught by Professor Eric Zepler, who founded the UK’s first Electronics Department at Southampton in 1947.

In a short speech paying tribute to the spirit of ECS and its generations of students, Dame Wendy Hall, Dean of the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, and former Head of ECS, said: “Throughout its history ECS has fostered a drive to discover new technologies, to explore their capabilities, and to put them to use for the benefit of industry and society.”

Among recent developments in ECS, Dame Wendy described the new £120M Mountbatten Building, with its suites of cleanrooms and research facilities for nanotechnology and photonics, the new Open Data Institute, led by Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, which will shortly open at London’s ‘Tech City’ in Shoreditch, and the scale of the research and education activity in ECS, which currently numbers over 270 PhD students and 400 MSc students.

Affirming the central place of education in ECS activities, Dame Wendy paid tribute to Senior Tutor, Eric Cooke, for his support of generations of students, and outlined the ECS careers and employability initiatives which have led to the continuing and increasing success of the annual Careers Fair and the range of activities which support students as they enter their careers.

“This is one aspect of ECS life where we can really benefit from your help and support”, Dame Wendy told alumni. “We want to use your experience and expertise to help our students better understand the world of work and the choices open to them, to help them prepare for their careers, and to raise their knowledge and aspirations.

“We want to draw on your knowledge and enthusiasm to mentor our students, to advise on our activities like DevECS, a student-run enterprise which is undertaking development work for local companies, to support our outreach work like Student Robotics, or to support our students undertaking charitable or personal development projects outside their studies. In particular, we are keen to hear from you if you would like to employ ECS students as interns or graduates.”

Alumni were also able to hear from Adam Malpass, UK Electronics Skills Foundation Scholar of the Year 2011, who has won many awards throughout his years at ECS and will join Dialog Semiconductors when he graduates this summer. In considering what he had gained from ECS, Adam said that “the quality of the people and the opportunities created at ECS,” were what had made the experience unique for him.

Finally, before the networking began again, 1983 Electronics graduate Max Toti talked about the work that he has been involved with in the University in recent years, supporting entrepreneurial activities, and using his experience to mentor a group of ECS final-year students over recent months. He urged fellow alumni to get involved in supporting activities in ECS. Blogging about the event afterwards, Max writes: “Let’s aim to make the ECS Alumni community one of the best in the world for a technical faculty . . . Can it be achieved? Of course! But only with the support and engagement of the Alumni!”

For further information about this event, or to find out more about the ECS Careers and Employability initiative and ways of being involved, contact Joyce Lewis; tel. +44(0)23 8059 5453.

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