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Sykes Heads Out

Jun 27 2008 22:43
The Dark Knight
Imperial's outgoing Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, left the College after a small leaving party on Upper Dalby Court yesterday.
Sir Richard Sykes toasts Imperial College ... but they couldn't find a drink for his hand
RCS Motor Club prepare to take Sir Richard Sykes away from campus

On Thursday night Sir Richard Sykes departed the College for the final time as Rector, to applause from assembled colleagues. Upper Dalby Court was closed during the afternoon as a small party took place with a band on the outdoor stage in front of Bessemer, concluding a series of dinners and other events to mark his departure. Following the band's final song, he was escorted to the front of Tanaka where he was taken away by Jezebel, the Royal College of Science Mascot, for a short sightseeing tour.

Sir Richard has had a controversial career with Imperial, making many changes immediately after his arrival, including abolishing the former constituent colleges to form faculties, proposing a merger with UCL, commissioning the new Faculty Building and rebranding. Such an aggressive start provoked uproar amongst students and academics, with many of those around at the time still not forgiving him for the manner in which changes were conducted, or the apparent lack of concern for the College's history.

Following the fast start the range of changes slowed, with a focus on longer-term improvements such as the campus renewal and building an investment portfolio to generate external income. Changes in those areas came thick and fast however, with the Blue Cube being joined by the new Tanaka building and a raft of refurbishments. Imperial climbed league tables around the world, but still never matched its second place in the UK tables which it achieved under Lord Oxburgh.

If you missed it last year, Sir Richard gave an interview to stoic tv, which covered a number of his controversies and lessons learned.

Sir Roy Anderson will now take up his place as the 14th Rector of Imperial College. Like former Rector Lord Oxburgh, Anderson is a former chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence.

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Discussion about “Sykes Heads Out”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jun 28 2008 00:38

I think it's obvious in order to challenge the MITs and CALTECHs of the world we needed a corporate figure in-charge and "damn" has he changed things around here.

Jun 28 2008 11:17

Is that Matthew Taylor in a DIRTY tunic?!!!

Jun 28 2008 18:15

Although I think a lot of us love to hate Sir Richard -- and yes, he has made some (sometimes monumental) screw-ups in his time -- on the whole he has somehow managed to bring Imperial kicking and screaming into the 21st century; something I think Imperial actually needed.

Jun 29 2008 02:12

"bring [enter any institution set up in 20th Century] kicking and screaming into the 21st century"

Most overused expression of the 21st Century so far.

How did the fact that the year 2000 happen suddenly alter culture? It is one of those bloody pop vox notions that only seems to describe superficial change, i.e. getting a nice website with ajax enabled. Turns out not much has changed in the zeitgeist in this century from the last, it just turns out the fundamental problems of the world have either changed or just shifted geographically.

The one quirk of time really is that change can be measured, but such change is independent of your method of measurement.

5. Dan   
Jun 29 2008 23:05

The one memory that will stick with me will be being astounded on my first day of College; sitting in the Great Hall, Sir Richard walking onto stage, expecting perfect RP and out comes this alarmingly strong Yorkshire accent!

Bloooooooooooody 'eck! .....didn't ACTUALLY say that or anything.....

Jul 02 2008 14:06

Ah shame. Nobody invited me to the party.

Jul 02 2008 14:35

Is that a creaking coffin I hear in the distance...

9. Danny   
Jul 21 2008 15:09

Looks like Dickie has found himself a new project!,,2291962,00.html

10. nice 1   
Jul 21 2008 15:48

That is certainly setting a cat amongst the pidgeons.

I look forward to hearing his conclusions on how effective the school system is on preparing the youth of today to embark on non degrees, or as Dickie likes to refer to them "bloody silly courses".

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