Greenwich Portraits: celebrating outstanding alumni & students

Equality campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence and “father of fibre optics” Sir Charles Kao are just two University of Greenwich alumni to have changed our world. A new exhibition shows why they are #ProudtobeGreenwich.

Greenwich Portraits is a collection of photographs by award-winning Diane Patrice which tell a remarkable story of the university and its significance beyond Greenwich.

Father of fibre optics Sir Charles Kao, athlete Ann Brightwell, equality campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence and grime music artist Jme have all pushed boundaries.

Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor of the university says:

“Their talent and tenacity has changed the world in arenas as diverse as digital communication, sporting achievement, criminal justice and musical taste.

“The alumni featured in this exhibition come from many walks of life and disciplines: all are successful and inspirational. They have agreed to share their stories so that current students can understand how to achieve their dreams, strive for excellence and keep going in the face of whatever challenges they may confront.”

The Vice-Chancellor says the group represents the wider alumni community: “There are thousands of people making a contribution in society today, shaping our businesses, developing new technology, teaching our children and caring for our sick, because they studied at Greenwich.

“The people included in this project represent us all and illustrate why I am exceptionally proud of this extraordinary University of Greenwich community.”

“The people included in this project represent us all and illustrate why I am exceptionally proud of this extraordinary University of Greenwich community.”

Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor

Sarah Cretch, Head of Alumni & Development says, “The project has been an incredible coming together of graduates old and new.

“We’ve seen 27 outstanding people, from business figures such as Wilson Leech, a CEO for financial services giant Northern Trust, to politicians like Royal Borough of Greenwich leader Denise Hyland, coming on campus to be part of Greenwich Portraits. They are proud to be Greenwich graduates and role models to the next generation.”

All of the photographs were taken on the Greenwich Campus, showcasing the beauty of the World Heritage Site location alongside the cutting-edge facilities of the new Stockwell Street building.

Photographer Diane Patrice says: “Meeting so many completely different and inspirational people, and photographing them in such a fantastic location, has been a privilege.”

Greenwich Portraits is open to the public in the foyer of the Stockwell Street building.

The new crop of graduates

Featured in Greenwich Portraits are some of the freshest young faces, who have managed to build success while still studying.

These include Mete Coban whose achievements include being the London Borough of Hackney’s youngest ever councillor, the founder and CEO of charity MyLifeMySay, a scout for Southampton FC – and he’s still only 23.

Other young achievers include Hannah Woolcott, Student Union Volunteering Officer and RAG President. Hannah, a talented fundraiser, established the university’s CoppaFeel! Society, part of the national charity which raises awareness about breast cancer in young people.

“The best thing about the University of Greenwich is the relationship with lecturers and the support they give. It was 100% important to my development. I didn’t just get an education, I found clarity of purpose.”

Mete Coban

“The University of Greenwich has been the best time of my life. It helped me develop my ideas, challenge my views and find a passion for the third sector and charity work.”

Hannah Woolcott

Full circle: alumni giving their expertise to the university today

Philanthropic activity is a common theme amongst these alumni, from mentoring young people to founding and running charities. Many have chosen to plough their skills and expertise back into the university, their alma mater, as a way to extend the opportunities they had to others.

Stephen Howlett, Chief Executive of housing association Peabody, is chair of the Board – known as the Court – of the University of Greenwich and presides over its graduation ceremonies as Pro Chancellor. He says he is particularly proud to be the first alumnus to assume chairmanship of the Court.

“I am passionate about education, continuing the university’s focus on academic excellence and further securing its place as one of London’s leading universities.”

Stephen Howlett