I am often asked to explain the origins of the name "Royal Holloway" when I am interviewing for the MBA International Management programme. It is easy really, first off, Queen Victoria opened the building now known as 'Founders' and Thomas Holloway (pictured above) prompted by his wife Jane decided to endow a ladies college (the second to open in UK). The Holloway's and Victoria have a central and highly imposing marble statue sitting in the centre of the two quads.
Unusually, the best window views in Founders (where I am lucky enough to have my office) are on the inside, because you get to see the bowling green lawns and the stunning towers and ornate chimney sky line. When I've seen inside windows in other buildings, the lower light levels and view of functional building and rather ugly air conditioning units make these aspects rather uninviting. Needless to say, as a relative new comer, I have a fabulous view over the north east corner, mostly trees, the bank and a bit of the car park. This week: the daffodils have finally come out ! (we have had a colder than usual March) and this makes the green, grassy banks glisten with gold.
During the distance learning summer school in late June/early July each year we like to hold a formal dinner in the Picture Gallery, home to a unique and impressive cross-sectional collection of Victorian painting, the result of a rather scatter gun acquisition approach. The collection has significant historic value, as a body of work worthy of an eighteen month tour of leading US universities in recent times. The full time MBA group got wind of this and asked if they might be able to enjoy the venue too, so we instigated an annual alumni luncheon event just before Christmas at the end of term 1, the highly regarded College choir creating an amazing atmosphere. (their album is currently storming the classical music chart)
The new College archivist, Laura MacCulloch, is keen to get students to appreciate the historical art in the Colleges guardianship and is now running regular sessions to share her knowledge more widely, helping to disseminate the long and rich history that underpins Royal Holloway. Laura shared with me this BBC web resource link that allows you to view the College art collection from the convenience of your internet cafe'.