The School celebrated the 10th anniversary of its naming with a series of events held on 16 January 2008. These included presentations by Professor Tim Morris, Professor Alan Morrison, Dr Linda Scott and Dr James Taylor on current research highlights and a Gala Dinner.
Wafic Saïd and the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Wafic Saïd, the School’s founding Benefactor, spoke to an audience of top businessmen and women, University faculty, staff, alumni and students. He recalled the “unlikely start” of the School in an old hospital, the Radcliffe Infirmary, and the huge advances that had been made since that time:
“What a difference a decade makes. Today, this School is in the top 20 of the world’s business schools. It has exceeded the hopes and dreams of its supporters. It has overturned the objections of its detractors and repaid the faith of its early pioneers. This is not, of course, because of this building…it is thanks to the quality, dedication and hard work of the students, faculty and staff who have come here. It is thanks to the leadership of Anthony Hopwood and, now, Colin Mayer. It is thanks to the support of the University and to the donors who have founded centres and funded posts. In short, it is thanks to the excellence and commitment of its people.”
Wafic Saïd went on to describe how he sees the agenda for the future of the School and his ambition that the School should become one of the very best business schools in the world:
“We owe to the students, who give up a year of their lives to be here, the certainty that their lives will improve as a result. That means giving them the best faculty and the best careers support. We owe to the faculty, who bet their careers on coming here, the salaries, support and opportunities that make that decision worthwhile. We owe to the staff, often the unsung heroes, the recognition and rewards they deserve. We owe to the business community, which judges and supports us, not only our world class alumni but also guidance on how business can improve its performance. We owe it to society, which has the right to expect great universities to provide thought leadership in all walks of life, to help business find solutions to the many problems society faces. This means making the School a hub that links business with the wealth of learning in this great University on so many of the key issues of the day.”
He also spoke of the example of his father:
“Over 80 years ago, my father started Syria’s first university. The achievements of most of his contemporaries, who played a political role, are now forgotten. But he is still remembered as the man who brought higher education to Syria. I have lived my whole life with his example and have understood from it that every society needs wise and objective scholarship to guide and inform it, and every individual has the right to improve his or her life through access to higher learning. That is why this School is important. Because it can make a difference, not only to the lives of its students, but also to the ability of business to help meet society’s needs and aspirations.”