By now, many of you may have read my ‘official’ ‘potted history’, so I thought this time I would write a little more about why my heart is in Bradford.
I chose Bradford University because it had the biggest number of Football League clubs within 25 miles! My subject choices for UCCA were Law/Accountancy combined, or Business Studies.
I was never interviewed, but offered CCC as the entry requirement to the Business School; they readily accepted my B (Economics); C (Maths); and D (Geography) – how times change!
My subject choice; Bradford Business School; and coming to Yorkshire; were some of the best decisions of my life. My degree gave me partial exemption from Chartered Accountancy exams, but Strategic Planning had come into vogue; I was taught by some of the leaders in Business education and strategic business management. It was a phenomenal time to be at the Management Centre.
I had been to Malham and the Yorkshire Dales as part of Geography A Level but I explored Yorkshire most weekends and pretty soon fell in love with ‘God’s own county’.
It was also an extraordinary time to arrive in Bradford. I remember thinking “this could be a working model for any cosmopolitan City in Europe.’ And so it has become. Yes, Bradford still has its challenges, but no University has more students and graduates from its locale than this one. It is easy to get around and easy to get out of by road or rail to explore beautiful countryside.
So my heart is in Bradford and I have been incredibly fortunate to have pursued a highly successful career where the vast majority was spent in and round West Yorkshire.
Quite unexpectedly in 1987 I was appointed the first Chair of Bradford Breakthrough. This was one of the first and best City regeneration initiatives in the UK. I stepped down in 1991 but it is still leading change and development in Bradford to this day.
Sadly I was also at the Bradford City fire disaster, which ripped the heart out of the City and its people, just as things were getting very much better. I shall never forget it.
But my career progressed around and beyond this, largely in Financial Services (with Halifax, Bradford & Bingley and National & Provincial Building Societies; developing from Management Accountant, through Treasurer, to Finance Director and Chief Executive).
I have lived in Bradford Met for half my life and am now happily retired with my life partner in Ilkley, where I golf, watch Ilkley Rugby Club and am Chair of Ilkley Probus. I also volunteer for the Princes Trust, both as a speaker and Mentor. I have a season ticket at Manchester United.
Being elected Chair of Bradford University Alumni Association brings my life full circle in so many ways.
I still remember arriving in Bradford on a motorcycle; and the first walk up Richmond Road for Freshers week. While I was educated at Emm Lane, I spent the largest proportion of my time at the University on the central campus, including serving on the Students’ Union Executive Committee as ‘Secretary for External Affairs’, also attending National Conference when Jack Straw was President.
While various reasons have brought me back to campus during the last 50 years (including auditing the University in the 1970s), I now have the very real pleasure of attending for a variety of engagements that bring me to the heart of the University and its exciting future. Indeed I still have to pinch myself that all this is actually happening.
I am very excited for the future of the Alumni Association also. There has never been a more challenging nor enthralling time to hold this key appointment.
As I have warned the Committee; I only know one way to work and that is to seek to be the best. At a time when it appears that many Universities are treating their AAs like cash machines, I believe we have a much broader and more important role to play.
We have been paid the compliment of being consulted and involved by the Vice Chancellor and several other key officers who are keen that graduates have a very important role to play and are a vast resource to tap into, in pursuing the University’s exciting and challenging strategy.
So if you or anyone you know is not already engaged, or even registered, please come inside and play your part. Having passed through these portals, the voice of every one of you is valued. You can contact me directly or through the Alumni Office at any time, on anything.
Terry Carroll, BSc Business Studies 1970