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Anniversary Gala Dinner

Anniversary Gala Dinner for Alumni and Invited Guests

Friday 18 May 2012

The School celebrated its 40 year history this month by hosting a Gala Dinner and Conference, reuniting alumni, past and current staff.

Jane Hopkinson

Professor Jane Hopkinson, SONMS Professor of Nursing

From four members of staff and just 10 students in the first cohort of the course back in 1972, the School has grown to over 150 members of staff, with more than 1,700 current students in 2012. The anniversary celebrations gave us the chance to reflect on the development of nursing and midwifery education within the School over the past four decades, but also to look forward and consider the contribution we have yet to make.

First Cohort

Several members of the School's very first cohort celebrated with us

The celebrations began with a Gala Dinner on Friday 18th May, which took place in the University’s Glamorgan Building in Cardiff’s Civic Centre. The Gala Dinner provided an ideal opportunity for alumni of the School to reunite and reminisce about their student days. Several of the ten original students that made up the first cohort joined us for the event, including Melrose East, currently a Practice Facilitator within the School. Guests also included three former Deans of the School - Professors Christine Chapman, Ann Tucker, and Bryn Davis, as well as VIP guests including Professor Jean White, the Chief Nursing Officer.

The evening began with a wine reception, accompanied by a harpist from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Alumni and guests were then invited to sit for a three course meal, hosted by Professor Sheila Hunt. Between courses guests were treated to speeches from Professor Hunt, Professor Chapman, and Dr Rosemary Kennedy, Chair of Velindre NHS Trust.

Christine Chapman speaking

Christine Chapman was a guest speaker at the Gala Dinner

Professor Chapman provided a warm and humorous account of her early days as the first Director of the new Department of Advanced Nursing Studies, reducing guests to tears of laughter as she recounted a particular incident when, as the only female academic present at a dinner, she left several old-school male colleagues rather discomfited by refusing to leave when the brandies were served.  

Rosemary Kennedy Speaking

Rosemary Kennedy, Chair of Velindre NHS Trust

Rosemary Kennedy gave an edifying speech as the final speaker of the night, narrating her experience when she first came into post as Chief Nursing Officer in 1999 of the prejudice that still existed against nursing as an academic subject. Dr Kennedy stressed her personal belief that the Welsh Assembly Government decision to make nursing an all-graduate entry profession was the right one.