Giving thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches I hope you will have a relaxing holiday weekend, complete with food, family, friends, and – not least of all – thanks. As President of the UCL Friends and Alumni Association in the US, I wanted to write to share why I am still thankful for UCL.

Mark_Howard_lowresWhen I arrived at UCL in 1983 for the third year of my Economics degree, it was my first taste of life abroad and of such a dynamic, diverse city. I had the ‘aha!’ moment, where I suddenly realised just how much I didn’t know. Beyond my academic achievement, UCL changed the direction of my life and helped shape much more than just my career. Since becoming more involved with our alumni here in the US, I have found that, like me, many of you still feel the profound impact that your time at UCL has had on your life.

I am privileged to have a front-row seat to the world-changing work of UCL’s academics, staff and students. This is why I choose to give to UCL and encourage you as alumni to give your time or a gift, particularly as we approach Giving Tuesday.

In the past year alone, UCL has:

  • Developed an AI system that can recommend the correct referral decision for more than 50 eye diseases as accurately as experts
  • Found that using MRI at the start of the prostate cancer diagnosis process can reduce the number of men undergoing biopsy by 28%
  • Progressed plans to invest over £500m in a groundbreaking new campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The new space will break down traditional disciplinary barriers and bring to life the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
  •  Jumped up the Times Higher Education’s rankings of the world’s top 20 ‘super elite’ universities – rising two places to 14th position.

As alumni, we are all connected to UCL’s great minds and their achievements globally. This success in research and teaching is made possible with philanthropic support, and this support allows UCL to take the bold risks that may result in long-term benefits for both people and planet.

Support from alumni and donors for the UCL campaign, It’s All Academic, has raised £480 million of a £600 million target since its launch in 2016. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’d like to encourage you to take a moment to think about the impact that UCL has had on the world and the impact that it has had on you, personally. Please join me in making a donation in support of the current campaign.

Let’s give another generation the opportunity to feel that ‘aha!’ moment, and remind UCL friends in London that the US alumni community is as strong and supportive as ever.


Thank you,
Mark Howard

PS: We have fantastic alumni volunteers across the country running so many activities and opportunities that bring UCL alumni together. Please contact UCL to find out more about how you can get involved.