Harris Manchester Newsletter

Trinity Term 2017

Scholars on Steinway!

Myles Hartley

Music is such a large part of HMC’s daily life. It’s rare to walk round college and not hear someone making music—piano playing and singing being our most popular forms. We’re lucky to have a bunch of really talented students, but the force behind it all is undoubtedly our Director of Music and Lay Chaplain, Myles Hartley. Myles is the Clark Kent of Oxford musicians. Mild-mannered and even shy by nature, put him front of a choir or behind a keyboard and he turns into Superman. All music is music—from J. S. Bach to the amplified table: Myles is welcoming, encouraging, and able to play it all! Thursday lunchtime concerts can feature the Cowley Road African Drummers, the University Brass Band, duets from Leonard Bernstein, or a Dvořák Piano Trio.


Along with the Steinway, Dr Cohen’s donation has allowed us to refurbish our two existing Bucksteins—an upright and a smaller grand—which are in the Arlosh Hall and the Charles Wellbeloved Room. We have also gained, via a donation to charity, a very nice Rogers upright for the JCR, which is seeing a lot of use! It’s great to have so much music going on in College.

Charter Dinner 2017

On Wednesday 8th March, the annual Charter Dinner was held in College. It was a wonderful evening, enjoyed by all. Speeches were given by students and staff and the speech given by Dr Isabel Ruiz sums up the evening:

On behalf of the Faculty and Staff, I would like to thank you Walter (Myers) for your wonderful toast to the College. I also wanted to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for this place. In October of this year it will be my sixth year anniversary in College. These past six years have flown by and this is the longest I have been anywhere since I left Colombia to start my academic and professional career. Six years ago, Vicky (Lill) and I were the youngest members of Governing Body and today we both are the oldest of the youngest. We now have new buildings; a beautiful tower; we are the first college in Oxford to have a bike ride from Oxford to Cambridge (with the Vice Chancellor); we have an increasing student body that performs to the highest of standards and we have lots of new and young successful faculty members and, something that makes me proud, we have a great number of young female academics. I consider myself lucky to see how much we have grown and to have been part of it. All that growth, however, would not have been possible without a supporting environment. I always boast to other people that we have the best Principal and wonderful staff; the best of the University. Being away from home, from Colombia, this has been a home to me. Our Principal and our staff take care of students but they also take care of us, the Fellows.

Isabel Ruiz

There is even a joke in my family that I am being spoilt here. The support that I have received has been incredible. But what has really made my time here seem like the blink of an eye is you, the students. You are the ones that keep us going, you are the ones that keep us inspired. Seeing you every term working hard all the way to your finals, seeing you become these confident, caring individuals and excellent professionals is a privilege. It is a privilege that none of us takes for granted. It is you that makes this College a special place. And on that note, I would like to propose a toast to you, the students of Harris Manchester College.

The Bridgepoint Private Equity Stu-dent Challenge is ‘aimed at finding the top leveraged buyout opportunities’. No, I don’t know what it means ei-ther… but I do know that HMC stu-dents made up teams that won first, second and third places in this year’s

Congratulations to Howard Hung, Leevy Mehtajarvi, Renbin Woo, Jan-Philipp Haas, Khi Huin Shek and Kia Kiat Goh for doing us proud.

http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/school/news/bridgepoint-private-equity-student- challenge-


One of our Management Fellows, Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, is a contributor to this year’s World Happiness Report.

Jan Emmanuel de Neve

Jan’s research is on the nature of wellbeing—always an important topic, but one taking on an interesting shape as the nature of the economy changes. As you might expect, those without money worries are happier than those with them— but money alone isn’t the only predictor of happiness. Perhaps surprisingly, manual workers, even in jobs we might think of as satisfying such as farming or forestry—report consistently lower levels of happiness than those in the ‘professions’. But a decent work-life balance is also crucial.



Tim & Rachel

We were so pleased this term to welcome back Rachel Mazyck (now Pfeiffer), with her husband Tim. Many people will remember Rachel as an inspirational Junior Dean, while she was completing her doctorate in education. She’s now working in Washington DC, heading up a non-profit organisation, Collegiate Directions, Inc., which works with students from families who’ve never been to university— helping with applications and then supporting them through their courses. http://collegiatedirections.org/

Aroop Mozumder

HMC’s newest addition to our medical team is Dr Aroop Mozumder. Dr Mozumder, a Research Fellow, is recently retired from the RAF, where, as an Air-Vice Marshall, he was Director General of RAF Medical Services and formerly the Inspector General for Defence Medicine—in effect, providing medical care for all members of the British armed forces.

We are very sorry to report the death of two HMC Alumni, both of whom have died much too young.

Helen Kraus had been battling Parkinsons for some years. She completed her Theolo-gy DPhil, which was published in the Oxford Theological Monographs series, in 2006.

Roger Harvey, who read English, was well-known as JCR President, and latterly a great supporter of the JCR Trust.

Our deepest sympathy goes to their families and friends.

Michaelmas Term 2016

The Million-Pound Bike Ride

6.25am (check the Tower Clock!) of a pale September morning, and a valiant group of HMC cyclists gathers at the start of an epic journey.

Their mission? To ride to Cambridge, finishing up at our sister college, Homerton.

Their goal: to raise £1,000.000 of sponsorship for student bursaries.

Led by (who else?) the Principal, the intrepid band comprised (l-r), the library team of Niall Sheekey and Sue Killoran; Catering Manager Nick Jefferies; the Principal; University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Louise Ricardson (little did she know, when the Principal offered her a bike, that he’d ask her to ride it to Cambridge!); her husband – and HMC medic – Tom Jevon; retired law professor, Paul Davies; Economics tutor, Isabel Ruiz; and newly-minted PPE graduate, Philipp Zelter.

The quiet route to Cambridge is 88 miles. Could they do it….?


Congratulations to third-year Egyptology Student Jordan Miller for winning second prize in the Dalai Lama Essay Prize (http://dlccoxford.org/1680-2/), on the subject of compassion. Jordan will be presented with his prize by the Dalia Lama himself.

We welcomed 114 freshers this year which means we have an unusually large student body this year totalling 227. Amongst our intake was the first cohort of students reading for the part time MSc Taxation, and HMC also welcomed its first undergraduate Engineers. Unusually, we have a rather skewed gender balance with a ratio of one third female to two third males. This wasn’t intentional – just the result of who applied.

Good to see someone has got a map!

Is it the right way up…?

Congratulations to law tutor Kristin Van Zwieten. Zia Anya van Zwieten Desai, was born on 15 April.

Meanwhile…part way there… Niall and the V-C find they’re not so far from home!

Niall is just everywhere at the moment…. He writes:

‘Last February, The Korfballers (myself and two friends from my korfball club) travelled up to BBC studios in Birmingham to audition for Only Connect, self-described as a “quiz show in which connections must be made between apparently unconnected things, where patience and lateral thinking are as vital as knowledge,” and well-known for being the hardest show on British television. Despite some nerves all around, we breezed through, mainly thanks to our annihilation of the dreaded Wall in record time. All of this was very exciting until the realisation that we would now have to go through with it and appear on national television in a primetime evening slot kicked in. Nonetheless, we steadied ourselves and made the even longer trip to Only Connect HQ (an industrial estate on the outskirts of Cardiff) where we recorded our first and potentially only episode. It was a fun and interesting experience; make-up, the green room, sound checks, lights, camera, action, and the lovely Victoria Coren Mitchell. We were victorious, however, setting a respectable score of 25 after storming away from our opponents in the final Missing Vowels round. Tune in to BBC2 at 20:30 on November 14th to see us take on the Shutterbugs in the second heat.’

Meanwhile, the travelling support team were working hard…

And so, at 5.04pm, after 9 hours in the saddle, they rolled into Cambridge… all still present and correct…and looking disgusting energetic and cheerful after 88 miles on the road! After a slap-up meal in Homerton, it was a coach back to Oxford. Here’s the Principal of Homerton with the riders and support gang. What an HMC team!

Niall writes…

“The intrepid cyclists assembled outside the gates of College at a blearingly-eyed early hour of 6:15am and set off on their 88-mile journey to the Other Place. Misfortune abounded for one member of the team as our Assistant Librarian was waylaid not once, but twice, by punctures, but otherwise it was smooth sailing. Fuelled by energy gels, cereal bars, egg mayo sandwiches and an indomitable spirit, and aided by their support team in the camper van and team car, the team steadily wound their way uphill to the half-way and highest point near Woburn, before enjoying a relaxing descent all the way into Cambridge, minus one or two remaining ‘small pull ups’ as our Principal and routemaster euphemistically described the tough hills. All told, they arrived into Homerton to be greeted enthusiastically by its principal, Prof. Geoffrey Ward, and enjoyed the hospitality and welcome of many Homertonians. £1 million was raised in total thanks to the generosity of five friends of HMC. Congratulations and thanks to all who took part. Shall we make this an annual event?”

Rather him than me!!!

The team raised £1m in promised sponsorship over the next five years… but if you’d like to add to that total, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

This term, however, has seen another huge addition to our musical life: the acquisition, through the generosity of Dr David Cohen, of a newly – refurbished 1913 Model B Steinway 6’ 1” grand. This wonderful addition to our musical life was celebrated in a concert on 6th March, where Myles and a variety of students put the instrument through its paces.

Trinity Term 2016

Welcome to the HMC alumni newsletter. We’re outside Trinity term, of course, but we thought we’d wait until we had some Finals and Prelims results to report. And how right we were! It’s been another excellent year for HMC student scholarship. Of our 17 finalists, we had 6 firsts (English [2], Economics

Management, PPE, Human Sciences, Arch. & Anth.), 10 2.1s and only one 2.2. Even better, our firsts in English (Fergus McGhee) and Economics & Management (Zhujie Chen) each won the university Gibbs prize for the best first-class result of their year. Zhujie also scooped the prizes for best overall performance in both Macro- and Microeconomics, and the Lubbock prize for best overall performance in E&M. Seth Kitson, (Law) won the university’s Norton Rose Fullbright prize for his constitutional law paper.
We don’t have the official Norrington Table figures yet, but based on previous years, we should be among the top ten colleges. Given that we are up against colleges which have been established for centuries, and with endowments and establishments massively bigger than our own (not to mention large numbers of scientists, who get a disproportionate number of firsts), that is a brilliant achievement by HMC students.

The first-years didn’t do too badly too, with Distinctions for English (2 — and another Gibbs prize), History and PPE. That bodes well for the future.

Five of our graduates were awarded Distinctions in their Master’s or 2nd BM exams. To top it off, Wei Jian Chan, who got a first in Law last year, was awarded a Distinction in the BCL – a real feather in his cap.

All round, we think, a marvellous set of results.
More success….

We’re not trying to be one of those newsletters that pretends there’s only good news…but at the moment there’s only good news. This time it’s from the HMC Mooting team, who retained their title from last year by winning the Cuppers (Intercollegiate) Mooting competition, beating Merton College in the final held on 18th February.


The team, who won five rounds to get to the final of the competition, consisted of Sean Butler, Julie Chan, Tatiana Kazim, Seth Kitson and Vincent Wong. Sean and Tatiana were the triumphant mooters in the final, which was judged by Lord Hoffmann and two QCs from Maitland Chambers, which sponsored the competition.

HMC mooters had a further successful run in the commercial mooting competition run by 7 Kings Bench Walk this year:


Sean and Tatiana were runners up in the best oralist competition, and Julie Chan and Wei Jian Chan reached the final of the competition (judged by Lord Mance, Mr David Edwards QC, and Ms Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC), although, sadly, they were beaten by two BCL students from St Catherine’s and Magdalen.

HMC student of the future?

Michalina Szkopinska has just come back to work in the Accounts Office, having presented us with Oscar, last July

And yes, we’re softies… Michelle Lai was surprised in the chapel by her boyfriend Michael, who had arranged a group of friends – including her former tutor, John Sloan – to be there when he proposed…

As you might guess, she said yes! Congratulations to the lovely couple! Michael…you’ve raised the bar for all those less brave men out there!


More HMC Families

Sarah Oakley

Farewell to our Housekeeper of the last eleven years, Sarah Oakley, who has retired to look after her increasing family commitments. Sarah’s been in charge of fitting out all our new and refurbished study bedrooms, as well as making our renovated public rooms look so smart. We’re very sorry to see her go.

Our new housekeeper, Sarah Smith, starts work next month, joining another new Sarah (Hodges) in the bursary.

At her leaving party, housekeeper Sarah Oakley told us that she’d first been brought to HMC (Manchester College, as it was then), as a babe-in-arms by her parents. I’m sure peope will remember her father, Bob Eaton, who was chapel organist, and her mother Betty – always to be seen arranging the chapel flowers.

This reminded us of other HMC families –none more so at the moment than the Brown-Knowles family: Pat Brown, her daughter Tina Knowles, and her grandson Daniel Knowles.

Pat was a scout for many years, as many of you will remember, and even after retirement continued to make curtains for college. Tina – who’ll be known to almost everyone reading this – is currently Assistant Housekeeper. And young Daniel is our IT second-in-command, and so is someone everyone wants as a friend.

And of course these three aren’t are only members of the family. We’ve also had Tina’s sisters Fiona and Tracy working for us at various times. Tracy’s daughter Shannon (Daniel’s cousin) is working in housekeeping this summer. And of course (do keep up!), long-time scout Kay Maxwell is related to Tina by marriage, and Kay’s mother, Brenda, worked here for years. We could go on….!

Buildings … and the New Vice-Chancellor

Ground has been broken by the new vice-chancellor, Prof. Louise Richardson, for our final in-college site, next to 30 Holywell. For those of you old enough to remember, this is the legendary “swimming pool site” of old. It’s a tricky narrow shape, but when finished the new building will provide us with a lecture theatre, student rooms, and extra JCR space.

Prof. Richardson, an academic specialist in terrorism, is the first woman vice-chancellor in the University’s history. She’s almost an old friend of college already. Her husband, Tom Jevon, is a medical researcher who has an academic attachment to HMC. She’s already proved herself to be a skilled speaker, with a light touch in humour: here, she said how glad she was to be continuing the tradition of her Irish forebears in coming to England and digging holes!


Hilary Term 2016

Hello & Welcome Back to the HMC alumni newsletter. We had such a good response to the first attempt, that we have been spurred on to produce another! As we said last time, for alumni news, however, this will involve you sending things in to us – so please do: we really do like to hear from you!

Starting with ‘improvements to College’, there’s a lot to report. The principal building work for the last few months has been on what used to be called Hesket House, now Oxley Ching. We’ve put dormer windows into the roof to create new, en suite student rooms (almost all rooms in college are now en suite, in fact), as well as renovating the rooms on the floors below. The dormers are designed to mirror the originals on the second floor of the main building, on the other side of the quad. The work’s nearly finished, and students will definitely be in there next term.
The Fab Four!

No, not the Beatles, but our very own HMC Fab Four!

Last year, for the first time, college took a record number of four Economics and Management students. Brilliantly, all four of them got distinctions in Prelims at the end of the year.

L-R: Shawn Tan, Yi Ming Tan, Khi Huin Shek and Kia Kiat Goh

Life isn’t all academics: they list hobbies which include music, travelling, and going to debates at the Union. Shawn works for Oxford Strategy Group – a student-run consultancy that provides strategic advisory services to both for-profit and non-profit organisations. So far, he has worked with a variety of clients, including a charity and a Southeast Asian mobile application start-up. We’re also very proud of Shek’s exploits in the pool: he’s a Water Polo Blue!
Alumni News…

We were very pleased to hear from former PPE student Julian Bank about the birth of his second son, Mattis Fietje, last November. Mattis joins proud older brother Jesse Finian – here along with Julian and mum Heidi.

STOP PRESS: For this year’s Oxford Artsweeks in May, College is hosting a staff and student show. This will include former students. So if you are an artist in any medium, and you’d like to submit work for inclusion, please contact Sue Killoran or Lesley Smith. We’ll also host a concert that week, so do contact Myles Hartley if you’d like to be involved.

Sue Killoran, our Fellow Librarian writes:

Niall Sheekey is our (relatively) new Assistant Librarian. Niall has been with us just over one year and has settled in very well. Niall (pronounced like the river) is from County Wicklow, Ireland and received his secondary school education in the Irish language, so speaks Irish and English as a native. He studied History and Irish at University College Dublin, and History at the University of Edinburgh. Studying continues as he works towards completing his MA in Library and Information Science, by distance learning, from Aberystwyth University. The observant of you will have noted that he has a foot in all four nations of the British Isles! He knows Oxford well, having previously worked for St Hilda’s College as a library trainee and has had various jobs with the Bodleian Library in Legal Deposit Operations, the Oxford Research Archive, and the Radcliffe Camera and Old Library reading rooms. Niall ‘plays to win’ a variety of sports, mostly korfball in the Oxford City team and, impressively, as a member of Ireland’s national team. He claims to be a retired Irish dancer, but the feet were flying, along with the kilt, at the College Burns’ Night on 25th January, so the skills are definitely not lost. Not only can he dance, he plays the mandolin. If you fancy a long walk in the country, Niall’s your man, and if you like quizzes, you had better be good to be on his team. Niall hopes to appear on the next series of Only Connect with some friends…we’ll let you know when he’s on!

Mo Hall writes: Currently writing a novel, but I’ve been at it about eight years. If it ever gets published I’ll let you know! I am, however, devoid of ambition now, so it might take some time. The writing is an end in itself).

From Barbara White: I am living in Spain these days, and visit Oxford only infrequently, and that only because my son lives nearby. I left last century, 1997. Did Eng Lang and Lit with Gill and Ann. Them was the days.

Jessica Shortall, MBA 2005-6, recently published her first book, Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work (www.workpumprepeat.com). This was followed by her first TEDx talk, ‘The American Case for Paid Maternity Leave’, which has received public words of support from the U.S. Secretary of Labor, among others, and has more than 12,000 views in its first week online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v =SJyE40koQyA&index=1&list=PLsRNoUx8w3rMwPgmKexZdkPVW0BNk733A
We started with building into a roof, so we’ll end with repairs to a floor. The mosaic floor in the entrance lobby has long been slowly suffering degradation; but thanks to an un-earmarked donation last term, we’ve had a little money to sort it out. Here’s the kind of decay the floor had suffered:

and here it is skilfully being made good as new! We’re conscious of the lobby as the first part of College people see, so it’s good to be able both to preserve our wonderful 19th-century heritage and to make a good impression on visitors.

Michaelmas Term 2015

Hello & Welcome to the new HMC alumni newsletter. In a burst of new-academic-year optimism, we have decided to try to produce a brief termly newsletter, which will report on news in college and – we hope – news of alumni, wherever they are. Obviously, this will involve you sending in your news – so please do: the more the merrier!

October 23rd was Wear It Pink day – raising funds for breast cancer research. As you can see, led by the bursarettes, HMC Wore It Pink in a big way!

We raised over £250 with a bake sale and raffle.


The photo also shows how the old, cramped “hatch” has made way for a new spacious bursary window – all designed and installed by David Seeney. We can’t really figure out why we didn’t do it years ago!

Welcome to Engineers….

College is constantly thinking about the range of subjects we take, and the courses we can offer mature students. When we gave an academic home to the new professor of mechanical engineering, Ron Roy, he suggested we start accepting mature engineering students – since the department gets a number of mature applicants every year. We’re now hoping we’ll be able to take around three undergrads every year, for the four-year course, and we’ll be admitting for the first time this December. In addition to Ron, we have a new tutor in engineering, Dr Sina Ober-Blöbaum, who has joined us from Paderborn in Germany. Ron specialises in the the application of physical acoustics principles to problems in biomedical acoustics, industrial ultrasonics, acoustical oceanography, and acousto-optics. He is President – Elect of the Acoustical Society of America and the 2010 recipient of its Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal. Sina works on algorithms that optimise the efficiency of processes. This is applied to a wide range of things – sport, cars, space travel, for instance, and can be complex when there is more than one thing to be optimised (speed and fuel efficiency, for example).

Ron Roy

Sina Ober-Blöbaum

Alumni News….

A fabulous wedding for a wonderful couple was held at HMC on Wedding September 12th 2015.

Tom Pascoe graduated from HMC in 2013 and returned this year to marry his sweetheart Sumi in the College Chapel. A beautiful service was followed by drinks in the Tate Quad and a fantastic and happy wedding breakfast in the Arlosh Hall. Lots of Tom’s friends from HMC enjoyed this special celebration and it provided us with a warm and heartfelt reminder of the special place College has in our students’ hearts long after they move to new climes.
Picture Loan Library

Annette Loutit, a former PPE student, died much too young. But she left a lasting gift in her will: money to buy original prints which could form the basis of a picture loan library for students. Annette wanted students to be able to have an original on their walls, not just a poster.

We managed to buy about twenty pictures with Annette’s original gift, and every term there’s a stampede, as students come to look at the pictures and claim one for their wall. We have tried to buy a whole variety of things, from a still life to a triptych of Chinese actors, to Tracey Emin’s dog.

There are always more students than pictures, so we’d love to accept any further monetary donations, if alumni wished to give… We were also thrilled this year when Ian Finlay, one of our supernumerary fellows, gave us a framed John Piper textile

– a souvenir of the John Piper exhibition that the college hosted for Artweeks this year.

For those of you who haven’t been in Oxford for a while, you may not have seen our newest new building: the Clock Tower, officially known as the Siew Sngiem Tower, alongside the rebuilt Arlosh quad gate. The gate is now formally the Sukum Navapan gate, named after the Navapan family, who have been exceptionally generous donors to college on this and other projects.

    The interior of the building, which provides five student rooms, is exceptionally comfortable – and the rooms provide some of the best views in Oxford.