Attenboroughs deliver outstanding addresses to nearly 500 alumni at the 2017 Black Tie Dinner

Posted by tac22 at Mar 22, 2017 11:55 AM |
Hosted by the President and Vice-Chancellor, the annual University of Leicester Alumni Association's Black Tie Dinner is a formal dinner offering alumni the opportunity to come together and reconnect in luxurious surroundings.

You can view all event photos on our Facebook page!

The University of Leicester’s Alumni Association Black Tie Dinner 2017, held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden, was a truly memorable evening for all who attended.

Nearly 500 alumni, benefactors, friends, and distinguished guests came together for an evening of celebration, reminiscence, fine cuisine, music, and dancing. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the night were the two outstanding addresses from Sir David Attenborough and Michael Attenborough CBE.

Guests at BTD David Attenborough Speech

Guests began the evening with a champagne drinks reception where they were able to mingle with friends, old and new, and where they were also able to view an exhibition about the history of the University. The showcase included a digital version of the University’s Golden Book, a handwritten list of donors who helped found the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College.

Sir David Attenborough and his nephew, Michael Attenborough CBE, were guests of honour at this year’s dinner, and delivered speeches that were moving reminders of their connection with the University. Sir David Attenborough reminisced about his time growing up on the campus at the University of Leicester:  "I had an absolutely fabulous time growing up in College House. My father was so proud of this institution and was grateful to the citizens of Leicester for helping this university become a university’’. Following his 20 minute speech, Sir David was greeted with a heartfelt standing ovation and the acknowledgement by everyone there, that at the age of 90, he is a truly remarkable gentleman.

Watch Sir David Attenborough's address in the below video:

Michael Attenborough CBE spoke about his passion for the Arts, and its enduring role in contemporary society. He also reflected on the University’s very own Attenborough Arts Centre, and in particular, what it meant to his late father, Lord Richard Attenborough CBE, its founder. ‘‘The Attenborough Arts Centre has been an extraordinary success story and a great testament to my father. When young people come to university, they're at a key moment in their lives where they have freedom and opportunity. University can be life changing.’’

Watch Michael Attenborough's address in video below:

To great acclaim, the announcement that Sir David and Michael will be patrons of the University’s upcoming centenary celebrations, was made by President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle CBE. The University will commemorate its centenary from 2018 to 2021, celebrating a landmark 100 years in which it has made world-changing discoveries, including the invention of DNA fingerprinting, and the discovery of King Richard III. Sir David Attenborough said: “It is wonderful to see how the University College of my father’s time has grown into one of the most distinguished of the UK’s universities. I am proud to be a patron of this new stage in its development” Read the full press release here.

Another highlight of the evening was the Outstanding Alumni Achievement award for 2017 made to Sheila B. Keetharuth, in recognition of her human rights work in East Africa and her determination to provide a voice to the powerless.

Sheila B.Keetharuth OAAA Sheila with VC and Luke Trotman BTD

Watch video of Sheila accepting her award below:

Once the formal proceedings were over,  guests were able to let their hair down and dance the night with every musical taste catered for from the past five or six decades.

Alumna and regular attendee of the annual alumni dinner, Caroline Wessel, spoke to us about her evening. ‘‘What a splendid 2017 Alumni Dinner. It was such a spectacular venue and the event was organised to perfection, down to every last detail.  It is tremendous news that the Attenborough’s are going to be Patrons of the Centenary Celebrations and they both spoke wonderfully at the dinner.’’

Michael Attenborough Speech BTD Guests at BTD 2

The evening also gave guests the opportunity to make philanthropic gifts in support of The Student Opportunities Fund. The Fund offers vital support to students in a variety of ways including alumni research scholarships, hardship awards and music scholarships, helping to promote a culture of excellence; raising ambitions and academic standards.

A total of £8,187 was raised on the evening which will support some of the most talented and deserving students, enabling them to continue their education at Leicester to the highest level.

You can view all event photos on our Facebook page!

This event was sponsored by:

Morningside Pharmaceuticals


Janine Edwards Wealth Management

School of Business


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