“I made lifelong friends at Bristol and for that I am forever grateful” – Alumni profile of William Lewis


William Lewis (BSc 1990, Hon LLD 2010) is the CEO of Dow Jones & Company and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Prior to this William served as the Chief Creative Officer for News Corps, the parent company of Dow Jones and Editor-in-Chief of the Telegraph Media Group.

Why did you choose to study Politics and Economics at Bristol?
I’d been interested in politics from my early teens – I remember watching election nights in 1983 and 1987 avidly. I also did pretty well in Economics at A-level, largely thanks to a superb teacher called Horace (later Emma) Wills. So the two subjects together were a natural fit. But I suspect the fact my older brother Simon had studied PPE at Oxford ten years earlier was also an influencing factor.


Telephone Campaigns at Bristol: connecting students and alumni

From 17 February to 29 March, Bristol’s team of 65 student callers will be contacting alumni as part of our Spring Telephone Campaign. We hope you’ll enjoy speaking with them if they get in touch!

The University has run telephone campaigns since 1994, providing a flexible and enjoyable part-time job for students that connects them with alumni and helps to build valuable communication skills.

The students hope to tell you about University news, what it’s like to study at Bristol today, and ways you can get involved – whether that’s making a donation or taking up one of the many alumni volunteering opportunities. Our callers range from first year undergraduates to PhD students, and between them they’re studying more than 30 different courses and have a diverse range of experiences that we hope you’ll be interested in hearing about.

Back in autumn 2019, the team spoke to over 3,000 alumni by telephone who generously gave more than £40,000 to life-changing causes at the University – from supporting refugee and asylum-seeking students with Sanctuary Scholarships, to improving mental health and well-being through our innovative Healthy Minds programme. Many thanks to everyone who made a gift or took the time to talk to one of our callers.

Picking up the phone to alumni is equally beneficial to the calling team – your insight and advice leaves them with inspiration about everything from careers to travel, to the city of Bristol itself. Many of our callers are in their final year of study and find these conversations hugely helpful and encouraging as they prepare for graduation and the world of work.

Three of our previous student callers – who all spent more than two years on the team – were eager to share their experiences:

“I have loved being a part of the telephone fundraising team during my time at Bristol! It is so inspiring to hear about the exciting careers our alumni have had since graduating from Bristol and heart-warming to know that they are as passionate about the wonderful causes we raise money for as we are. Being part of the team has been a fantastic experience and I feel that it has helped me grow in confidence.”

“My favourite thing about being on Bristol’s telephone fundraising team is the sense of team spirit and the positive atmosphere of each shift. We all feel that the areas we fundraise for are really important, and as a result everyone conveys their passion in their calls, which leads to more donations! The whole team are so friendly and each shift is  both rewarding and fun.”

“I loved having a job which allowed me to speak to people from all walks of life but who shared one really transformative experience. Exchanging stories with alumni and hearing about people’s career journeys was a really humbling experience and one I’ll always be grateful for. Something I was constantly told by alumni was to not worry too much about the future – to try different things and know that I have my whole adult life to figure out what it is I want to do. It made me feel so much less anxious about the graduate world!”

Find out more

For more information about telephone fundraising at Bristol and the areas supported by gifts from alumni, please visit our main website.

Th Spring Telephone Campaign will be taking place from 17 February to 29 March, on Mondays to Thursdays and weekends. Calls will come from a Bristol 0117 number, from callers who can prove that they are current students, and you will never be contacted earlier than 11 am or later than 9 pm. Information on how we use your data can be found in our privacy policy. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Development and Alumni Relations Office at campaign-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk or +44(0) 117 394 1302.

University of Bristol Alumni in Queen’s New Year’s honours 2020

Following the announcement of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, we’re delighted to congratulate Bristol alumni, staff and friends who have been recognised for their outstanding achievements and service.


  • Sir Peter Kenneth Estlin (BSc 1982) Lately Lord Mayor of London. For services to International Business, Inclusion and Skills.


  • Dame Gillian Guy (LLB 1976, Hon LLD 2019) Chief Executive, Citizens’ Advice. For services to the Public and Voluntary Sectors.
  • Professor Dame Lynn Faith Gladden CBE FRS FREng (BSc 1982, Hon DSc 2013) Executive Chair, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. For services to Academic and Industrial Research in Chemical Engineering.
  • Professor Dame Sarah Jane Whatmore (DSc 2000) Professor of Environment and Public Policy, University of Oxford. For services to the Study of Environmental Policy.
  • Dame Julia Unwin CBE (Hon LLD 2017) For services to Civil Society.


  • Mary Jane Fiona (Polly) Neate (BA 1988) Chief Executive, Shelter. For services to Homelessness.
  • Professor Gillian Margaret Hague ( Cert Soc.Sc. 1984, PhD 2000)  Activist, Consultant and Researcher. For services to the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children, and in support of Survivors of Abuse.
  • Professor Peter David John (PhD 2000) Vice Chancellor, University of West London. For services to Higher Education.


  • John Clive Cecil May DL (BA 1985) For services to Young People.
  • Geoffrey Michael Boyd Pick (BA 1977) Director, London Metropolitan Archives. For services to the Management of Records and Archives in London.
  • Professor Timothy Rutland Walsh (PhD 1995) For services to Microbiology and International Development.
  • Paul Ramsbottom (friend of the University of Bristol) Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation and Wolfson Family Charitable Trust.


  • Professor Kalwant Bhopal (PhD 1996) Race Equality Champion. For services to Equality in Education.
  • Caroline Gillian Mawhood (BSc 1975) Non-Executive Director, Debt Management Office. For services to the Economy.
  • Kenneth Walter Stradling (Hon MA 1998) For services to the Arts in Bristol.
  • Jane Marian Goldingham (BA 1978) Lately Head of Operational Development, and Principal Social Worker, East Sussex County Council. For services to the Social Work Profession.
  • Dominic James Boddington (CertEd 1976) Founder, Respect4us and lately Vice Principal, Open Academy. For services to Alternative Education in Norfolk.
  • Cassandra Stravrou (LLB 2005) Chief Executive Officer, Propercorn. For services to the Food Industry and Exports.
  • Dr Jason Weng Leong Wong (Dip 2011) General Dental Practitioner, The Maltings Dental Practice, Grantham, Lincolnshire. For services to Dentistry and Oral Health (Leicestershire).
  • Dr Adeela Ahmed Shafi (BSc 1994, MEd 2013, PhD 2018) Reader of Education, University of Gloucestershire. For services to Social Justice in Bristol.


  • Geoffrey William Wickham (BSc 1957, CertEd 1969) For services to Music in Bristol.
  • Helen Countess of Rosslyn (BA 1981) Trustee and Chair of Management Committee, Rosslyn Chapel Trust. For services to Charity.


If you’re a Bristol graduate and we haven’t listed you here, it may be that we don’t have your details. We’d love to hear from you, so please do get in touch with us at alumni@bristol.ac.uk to share your achievements.

Meet our #TeamUoB London Marathon Runners

Five Bristol alumni, staff and students are going the extra mile and running the 2020 London Marathon in support of Healthy Minds, a physical activity programme at the University which utilises the benefits of exercise to support students affected by mental ill health .

Congratulations and thank you to our 2020 London Marathon team! We wish them the very best of luck with their training and look forward to cheering them along on the 26 April.

See how #TeamUoB are getting on with their fundraising here

Meet the team

Dr Bex Lyons, Staff
‘I’m Bex,  a Teaching Associate in English and Personal Development in the Department of English , where I was named a Best of Bristol Lecturer 2019.
I completed my PhD at Bristol in 2017, which investigated women readers of Arthurian literature in fifteenth – and sixteenth – century England. In 2015 I ran the York Marathon, and I am so excited to be taking on my next marathon in my hometown – the London Marathon route goes through the neighbourhood that I grew up in! This challenge is also particularly meaningful for me because my role at the University. It is deeply involved with student development, and I am enthusiastic to support Healthy Minds and their important work at Bristol.



Robert Reay-Jones, Alumni

‘I’m Rob, I’m 39 and I work as a translator. After growing up in southwest France, where I became a keen middle-distance runner among the vineyards of Bordeaux, I returned to the UK after around 15 years ago for work and studies before completing an MA in Translation at Bristol in 2013. I’m now married with three children and live in Wiltshire. I recently set myself a challenge of training seriously again with a view to beating my teenage PBs over the shorter distances and one day completing the Marathon du Médoc (to celebrate or drown my sorrows!) Along the way, the (wonderful and totally unexpected) opportunity to run the London Marathon for such a great cause was too great to miss. Having had personal experience of the impact of mental illness, I cannot wait to run in support of Healthy Minds and in memory of my father, who was my hero.’



Lucy Delamere, Student
‘I am a final year Law Student at  Bristol, and a student Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health in which I get involved in promoting B:Active programmes and encourage participants to use physical exercise for all the physical and particularly mental health benefits that exercise brings! Being a final year student with graduation so imminent, I turn to exercise and in particular running for those times in which there is immense pressure, as physical activity has been proven to boost the mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. I am excited to be taking my love for exercise to the next level by running the London Marathon for Healthy Minds. I look forward to the challenge of training for such an event, and also raising awareness and money for Healthy Minds’ incredible work in using exercise to improve well-being and particularity mental health.’


Ken Khaw, Alumni

‘I’m Ken, based in Singapore and a husband to a wonderful wife and a father of three young girls. I graduated from the University of Bristol with a LLB (Hons) in 1992 and am a career banker by profession. I was never very active in sports, but have tried to be since entering my 40s. I have done three half marathons in Singapore, however my running has been inconsistent.  By chance I came across the Bristol alumni email to run for Healthy Minds at the London Marathon. I strongly believe in the empowerment of education. By teaching students about how building exercise into their daily routine can grow their confidence, identity and community, it encourages them to make a positive, long-lasting lifestyle.
I am honoured to have been chosen to run for this worthy cause and by the Grace of God I trust I will complete this challenge to support Healthy Minds.’

Bethany Marris, Student

‘I’m Bethany, a final year history student originally from East Yorkshire. Alongside being an avid runner, I fill my free time with listening to, reading about and reviewing music! My motivation to run the marathon for Healthy Minds came from the way in which I’ve seen first-hand the monumental impact that sport and exercise can have on your mental health. Moreover, as a student, It’s easy to solely concentrate on uni, therefore having a challenge like running the London Marathon is an amazing opportunity towards a non-academic, physical challenge.’

Message from the US Foundation Chair: engagement drives philanthropy

Lesley Silvester, Chair of the US-based University of Bristol Foundation, reflects on the importance of  the US Foundation giving in making Bristol great. 

To quote our Vice Chancellor and President Hugh Brady, ‘Philanthropy will increasingly be a critical determinant of Bristol’s success’, asserting that it is a key component in supporting students, recruiting world-class staff and funding research. The Board of the US Foundation understands that such giving can make the difference between a good university and a great one. To that end we are playing an increasingly significant role through our focus on several specific philanthropic goals.

A primary objective has been and continues to be to increase both the amount of support and the number of alumni donors within the US based alumni community. A second goal – complementing the first – is the development of an increasingly strong and vibrant alumni community. Happily, though not surprisingly, the more we reach out and expand our alumni network in the States, the more it becomes apparent that we have a wide and accomplished group with whom to engage. At best count, which we believe in all probability is understated, we have over 5,500 alumni residing here. And we’d like to connect with every one of you.

Key to us achieving our goals is the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO) strategy of significantly growing engagement and volunteering partnerships not only in the UK but internationally. The relationship between DARO and the US Foundation has been considerably strengthened over the past few years, as we have aligned around shared goals, communications and events. We can clearly see the powerful mutual benefits to both Bristol and its alumni by building community across all University stakeholders.

At our September Foundation board meeting, Jim Rucker – who has served as a Foundation Director for ten years and has contributed to many of our efforts – retired, and two new directors were elected and welcomed to the group. They are Tim Richie (BA 1978) who resides in Massachusetts and California and Tim Parton (BSc 1986) who lives in the New York area.

During the week of 11 November alumni events were held across the US, in New York, San Francisco and Boston in connection with the Vice Chancellor’s visit. We were delighted that many of you joined us, and hope that you are enjoying being part of the University’s burgeoning community, and are as excited as I am about the University’s vision for its future.

On behalf of the entire Foundation Board we wish you a very happy holiday season and look forward to further engagement in 2020.



Celebrate 10 years of student achievement with the Bristol PLUS Awards

The Bristol PLUS Awards lunched in 2009 to reward students for developing skills through extracurricular activity and articulate their value to employers.  Although these original principles are unchanged, activity and engagement has evolved, with just 165 completers in the first year, to over 1000 more recently. 

2019-20 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Bristol PLUS and Outstanding Awards and we are inviting all past award alumni to celebrate with us! Each cohort of our Award alumni are part of this growing success, as we evaluate student feedback to make continuous improvements to the credibility and value of the Awards. We are proud of the inclusive and accessible nature of the Awards and the variety of projects students get recognition for – from volunteering at Oxfam to completing an internship at a city firm, leading a sports club or learning a language.

While employability has been at the heart of the Awards, the personal benefits are vast. Students report improved confidence, feeling empowered to make decisions about their future and realising their potential.

The Bristol PLUS Award has become an effective way to build up confidence. It encouraged me to enrich my life experiences while at university. It is not only about improving employability, but also about truly maximising wellbeing. – 2nd year Mechanical Engineering (PhD)

Students completing this fully extracurricular Award now make up around 4% of the university population, but we have ambitions to reach more. If you completed the Award in the past 10 years we would love to hear about what you are doing now. Wherever you are in the world, your story could inspire the next generation. Or perhaps you work in a business that could benefit from engaging with the University and like-minded proactive students like you once were. To find out more, please email career-plusaward@bristol.ac.uk for more info, or read this recent blog.

US Foundation: a message from the Chair

Lesley Silvester, University of Bristol Foundation Chair based in the US, highlights the significant role the US Alumni play in funding key initiatives and programmes including the Sanctuary Scholarships.  

Each month we see more concrete examples of initiatives and programmes that realise the ambitious strategies committed to within the last five years. The alumni in the US are playing an increasingly significant role in the philanthropic funding of such initiatives channelled through the US Foundation.

For example, at our Foundation meeting in March, it was reported that the US is contributing one-third of the total philanthropic giving towards the Sanctuary Scholarships. These are scholarships provided to refugee and asylum-seeking students in the UK. Another example is the $75,000 we have contributed to the Bristol Futures Scholarships. You may recall the moving video that was recently distributed featuring a student who is a very grateful recipient of such a scholarship and which has given her the means to fully participate in all the University has to offer. These scholarships, as you know, are a key component in facilitating wider participation in the University.

Further, there is evidence that US alumni have a greater propensity to give than those in the UK – perhaps this comes from exposure to the culture in the US of supporting one’s alma mater, perhaps it is a matter of greater valuing at a distance what Bristol provided? We hope it is evidence of the US alumni community continuing to gather strength.

For those of you that have contributed, the US Foundation Board thanks you! For those alumni still considering such gifts, we hope you will be motivated by the inspiring developments afoot at Bristol.

Made in Bristol – Dr. Una Ryan ‘Bristol set me on a path for a lifelong career’

As part of the ‘Made in Bristol’ interview series, alumna and  U.S. Foundation Director Dr. Una Ryan reflects on her Bristol experience

Why did you choose Bristol?
At Bristol, I studied for a BSc in Zoology, with Chemistry and Microbiology as subsidiary subjects. I chose Bristol because it offered me an Open Exhibition based on merit, not need (in fact I was means-tested out of the financial benefits, so my gratitude to Bristol is not based on funding). I very much enjoyed my scholarship interview, I couldn’t answer any of the questions and was therefore asked to extemporize on how I would approach the problems presented. This became the basis for one of the interviewers later recommending me for a fellowship at Cambridge for my PhD.

How did the University experience influence you?

Bristol set me on a path for my life-long career. I now live in San Francisco and have spent a rewarding life in academia, the biotech industry, investing and as an artist. Always science was the muse, I have made discoveries, made medicines, made money and made art…. all based on the science I began at Bristol and developed further at Cambridge. So from saving many lives to decorating a few walls, Bristol was with me.

As a Foundation Director, you’ve chosen to stay closely connected to the University. Why?
I have remained in touch with Bristol out of gratitude and a wish to see others get the same start. My grandson will be a fresher this September

and I will be able to go back and visit him.

Any best memories?

I am not telling about my best memories!

Fair enough. And the future? For Bristol, that is.

I am delighted with the emphasis that Bristol has placed on being a civic university. I think the Temple Meads campus is thrilling and a wonderful meld of the future bond between academia and industry as well as a clear appreciation of Bristol’s roots.


Dr. Una Ryan’s biography describes her as an executive, entrepreneur, board director, investor and artist. Yet somehow that doesn’t do her justice. The honors, for example. Since Una graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Science degree, she went on to Cambridge for her Ph.D. and has been cited for her research by the Howard Hughes organization, the American Heart Association and the United States National Institutes of Health. Over the past 12 years she received the Albert Einstein Award, the Cartier Award and the Economic Forum Tech Pioneer award, all for her work in biotechnology. They were preceded by her receiving the Order of the British Empire in 2002 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; Bristol caught up in 2009 with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Ryan — who resides in San Francisco, the only U.S. Foundation Director now based on America’s West Coast — has led a variety of public, private and non-profit companies. She’s currently on the boards of Cortexyme, RenovoRx and Elemental Machines, and a partner or director in the investment firms Breakout Ventures, Golden Seeds and Astia Angel. Somehow, she has also found the time to create art from her work in bioscience; you can find it online at www.uluxart.com.


Alumni recognition finds the spotlight

Ely J Kahn reports on how the University of Bristol is connecting with alumni communities outside of the UK

University of Bristol Alumni Awards 2019

For the past several years, the University of Bristol has placed increased emphasis on its alumni communities outside the United Kingdom. The United States, where the University’s American Foundation holds sway, has received — along with the alumni communities in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore — increased attention over recent years. This mirrors a heightened overarching recognition by the University on the importance of alumni and their support, both financial and, if you will, emotional.

It was the latter that was most striking this Spring, when Bristolions young and old gathered on March 12 at City of London Lord Mayor Peter Estlin’s (a 1982 graduate who studied economics and accounting at the University) magnificent Mansion House for a first-ever Alumni Awards Night, honoring 10 eminent alumni from finance, sport, science, politics, literature and a variety of other fields, including naturalist/author/broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. Sir David, recipient of a lifetime achievement award, credited the University for being both a fount of zoological expertise and a talent pipeline for the BBC’s Natural History Unit, where his authoritative documentaries are produced.

“Young people are much more aware of how important the natural world is than they were 60 years ago when I began my career,” Sir David told the sold-out gathering, which included a table hosted by American Foundation Chair Lesley Silvester. “The natural world is under greater pressure than it has ever been, not just in my lifetime but since humans existed…The history of humanity is a disaster – of arguing, of quarrelling, of wars. That’s got to come to an end. My message to young people is ‘get engaged, come together and do something about it’.”

The inaugural Alumni Awards Night, reported the University’s website, led Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady to say, “All the pioneers, innovators and leaders we’ve celebrated through these awards are inspiring role models for our students and we’re thrilled to honour them.”

The heightened outreach effort was mirrored by activities on both coasts of the US, with visits to San Francisco, New York and Boston by Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady and Pro-Vice Chancellor Global Engagement Dr. Erik Lithander. Equally significant was the University’s participation in a joint delegation led by the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and the Mayor of the West of England Tim Bowles, as well as delegates from the wider City Council, Department of International Trade, Business West, and local leading companies. The delegation held meetings in both Boston and Chicago, with alumni joining receptions at the Consulate Generals’ residences in historic Beacon Hill and in a high-rise above Lake Michigan.

Across all the delegations at events and in person we’ve met with over 100 Bristol alumni in the USA,” reflected Andrew Monk, the University’s Deputy Director of Development and Alumni Relations, looking back at the year. “We’ve made some incredibly exciting and strong connections to further Bristol’s collaborations across strategic partners.”

Setting the stage, at the same time, for future success, recognition…even awards.