Founders Day 2016

Each spring we host Founders Day, an event to celebrate our past, present and future as a University.

The event takes place on the annual presentation of our peppercorn rent to Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The ceremony dates back to the mid-1960s when the then Bath City Council agreed to allow some of its land to be used as a site for the new University campus.

Today the event combines a meeting of the University Court, public lectures and exhibitions and a dinner with guests including local councillors, long-serving staff, current and former Students' Union officers, and members of the Court and Council.

Public programme 2016

This year Founders Day took place on 9 March 2016 with a number of events open to the public to recognise our strong relationship with the city of Bath, and thank those who have contributed to our success.

We welcomed members of the public for the annual Founders Day presentation by the School of Management’s International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM) and the sixth Founders Day Keynote Lecture.

Free public lectures

"Empowering Higher Education for a Sustainable Future"

Speaker: Professor Rajani Naidoo, PhD (Cambridge) MA (London), Director, International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM)

Date and time: 9 March 2016, 2pm

Location: East Building Lecture Theatre 1.1

The School of Management's International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM) presented the key challenges and innovative responses relating to the transformation of higher education in the 21st century through the voices of faculty, alumni and PhD students.

Professor Rajani Naidoo introduced the centre and reflected on the aim of bringing together research and practice to contribute to global wellbeing. She introduced the advanced leadership programme for university managers, the Doctor of Business Administration in Higher Education Management, which has been running since 2002 with 14 cohorts from 19 countries. ICHEM has also launched the Future Leader's Initiative in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa to bring together managers from each of the country’s universities to contribute to the country’s transformation agenda.

Professor Jurgen Enders presented the multi-level research of ICHEM and the development of Praxis Circles which bring together researchers and professionals.

Professor Yiannis Gabriel discussed some of the challenges facing management education, most especially reconciling an ethic of care with a critical pedagogy relevant to the practical concerns of future organisational leaders and followers.

Mukovhe Masuta, a PhD candidate and Chief Executive of an organisation which aims to enhance the success of rural youth in higher education, reflected on how his research will develop insights for government and university policy makers.

DBA Alumnus Professor Nigel Healey, recently appointed as Vice Chancellor of the National University of Fiji, reflected on the importance of global interaction and the impact of ICHEM in equipping leaders with the skills needed to navigate turbulent change in an ethical manner.

2016 Founders Day Lecture: "50/50. Towards a diverse and sustainable future"


  • Dr Peter Bonfield OBE FREng, Chief Executive of BRE
  • Eur Ing Dawn Bonfield, CEng, FIMMM, FICE, FWES, Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering

Date and time: 9 March 2016, 5.30pm

Location: East Building Lecture Theatre 1.1

In the University of Bath's 50th year, two graduates, Dawn and Peter Bonfield, shared their experiences and perspectives on how diversity and sustainability go hand in hand towards a better future.

Dawn and Peter's talk combined how to achieve higher levels of diversity, with the new ways of applying talent and capability required to meet the challenges and opportunities of a more sustainable future. All in an ever and more rapidly changing world.

Dawn is the Chief Executive of the Women's Engineering Society, which for the last 96 years has been promoting and enabling more women to work in engineering careers. Her work at WES builds on her experiences working as a materials engineer in the nuclear, automotive and aerospace industries. Her work at WES is targeted at inspiring a new generation of women to enter the engineering profession and on supporting companies to become more diverse in their people and to individuals to enter and flourish in the engineering sector – one where on average less than 1 in 10 employees is female.

Peter is the Chief Executive of BRE, the Building Research Establishment, which deploys its science and research base to help enable a more sustainable built environment in the UK and internationally. He was also part of the Olympic Delivery Authority where he co-developed and delivered the sustainability strategy for the London 2012 Olympics. He has also been appointed by UK government to Chair 3 Independent Reviews since 2013, on the topics of UK Forestry, the Food and Farming, and currently on UK Housing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. In each case socio, economic and environmental sustainability considerations have been critical to achieving positive impact. In all of this work, achieving positive outcomes has required new levels of innovative, creative, diverse and multidisciplinary thinking that has challenged and taken forward what has been learned from our forebears.

Vice-Chancellor's presentation

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor, gave a Founders Day presentation to the University Court.