Spirit of the Hall

Podcast: Spirit of the Hall
Podcast: Spirit of the Hall

Spirit of the Hall: A podcast for Aularians by Aularians

The St Edmund Hall Association is delighted to launch Spirit of the Hall, a podcast series brought to you by the alumni of St Edmund Hall.

Join Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Alumni Association, in conversation with some of the College’s most fascinating alumni, Fellows and staff. Hear how the Hall’s unique spirit has shaped not only their careers in diverse fields of politics, academia, business, entertainment and technology, but also their lives through friendship, family and fun.

Series 1

Spirit of the Hall Podcast with Principal Professor Kathy Willis
Spirit of the Hall Podcast with Principal Professor Kathy Willis

In this episode, Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Alumni Association, talks to the Hall’s first female Principal, Professor Kathy Willis.

Professor Willis is a biologist, specialising in the relationship between long-term ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. She is Professor of Biodiversity at the University’s Department of Zoology and heads the Oxford Long-term Ecology Group. She is also a member of the UK Government’s Natural Capital Committee, advising on the 25 Year Environmental Plan. Prior to her election as Principal of The Hall, she was Director of Science at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Hear Professor Willis talk about her research career, her thoughts on an ecologically-sustainable future for the University, and the unique challenge of steering an Oxford college through a pandemic.

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Congressman Jim Himes
Spirit of the Hall Podcast with Congressman Jim Himes (1999, MPhil Latin American Studies)

In this episode Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Alumni Association, talks to US Congressman Jim Himes.

Born in Lima, Peru, Congressman Himes spent his early childhood in Lima and in Bogota, Colombia. Upon graduating from Harvard, Himes came to Teddy Hall as a Rhodes Scholar, leaving with an MPhil in 1990. After a short career in banking, Himes moved into the non-profit sector. He first took office as Congressman for Connecticut’s 4th District in 2009. He was the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1969.

Hear Congressman Himes talk about the transition from the Trump Presidency to Biden and what it was like to find himself trapped in the Capitol building when it was stormed by Trump supporters. He also describes the stark contrast between Biden’s inauguration on 20th January this year with Obama’s first inauguration 12 years ago.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with General Sir Michael Rose (1960, PPE)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with General Sir Michael Rose (1960, PPE)

In this episode hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with former Adjutant-General of the British Army General Sir Michael Rose.

Sir Michael was born in 1940 in Quetta, former British India. In 1964, having graduated from Teddy Hall with a degree in PPE, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards. He subsequently served with the Special Air Service Regiment in the Middle and Far East. He commanded the Regiment during the Falkland Islands conflict and the 39 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. In the early 90s, Sir Michael was Commander of the UK Field Army, and Inspector General Territorial Army, leading the UN Protection Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In January 1995, he was appointed Adjutant General to the Army Board and he served as 28th Colonel of the Coldstream Guards on his retirement from 1999 – 2009. Since leaving the Army, Sir Michael has written and lectured extensively on peacekeeping and leadership.

In this podcast, you will hear why Sir Michael believes his degree in PPE helped him to make some of the hardest decisions of his career, and how, now in his early eighties, the Hall spirit still plays a big part in his life as he keeps up with his Teddy Hall friends and stays fit by walking miles every day.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with Stuart Ford (1988, Jurisprudence) and Richard Kilgarriff (1988, English)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Stuart Ford (1988, Jurisprudence) and Richard Kilgarriff (1988, English)

This episode features Aularian contemporaries and friends Richard Kilgarriff and Stuart Ford. Richard is a former executive for Time Warner and founder of Bookomi, which brings insights from the world’s most brilliant minds via events, email and audio blog. Stuart is a Los Angeles based film producer and Chairman of AGC Studios, one of Hollywood’s leading independent film and TV production companies. He has worked with directors including Mel Gibson and Tom Ford and acting stars such as Julia Roberts, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Depp and Tom Hardy.

Hear how, upon arriving at the Hall in 1988, Stuart fell in love with the beauty of the place and the eclectic mix of people he met there and how he believes the Spirit of Teddy Hall helped shape the person he is today.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with Amanda Davies (1998, Geography)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Amanda Davies (1998, Geography)

In this episode hear Olly Belcher in conversation with one of CNN’s main sport anchors, Amanda Davies.

Amanda came up to the Hall in 1998 to read Geography. She played tennis for the University and rowed in Teddy Hall’s first boat. Hear how she missed being at the 1999 Champions League finals to watch her beloved team Manchester United in their greatest ever football game to instead represent Teddy Hall in the Summer 8s where they got bumped in the first fifteen seconds! Amanda was always determined to be a sports journalist and took any opportunity to get some work experience throughout her school and university careers. After the Hall, she joined Sky Sports as a runner, then the BBC and then CNN 9 years ago where she has covered, amongst many amazing events, the 2012 London Olympics. Amanda has managed to juggle her busy work schedule with motherhood and has spent the last year appearing on television with home-schooling going on in the background.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with Akaash Maharaj (1990, PPE)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Akaash Maharaj (1990, PPE)

This episode is with Akaash Maharaj who came up to the Hall from Canada in 1990 to read PPE. In his second year, he was elected as JCR President which remains one of the warmest experiences of his life. After Teddy Hall, having NEVER been on a horse before, Akaash decided to get on a saddle and went onto become an Equestrian star representing Canada at the World Championships. Akaash then set up the Mosaaic Institute focusing on Conflict Resolution. He works with diaspora communities and local communities to try and find common ground rather than differences. Akaash has been decorated twice in Canada’s national honours for his work to bring peace in the Middle East.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with Ronny Tong (1972, BCL)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Ronny Tong (1972, BCL)

Ronny Tong came up to the Hall from Hong Kong in 1972 to read Law. His determination to get to Oxford in the first place is inspiring. After Oxford, Ronny set up his own law practice in Hong Kong and later became Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association. Ronny ventured into politics and founded the Civic Party in 2006; he was later appointed to the Executive Council of Hong Kong. Ronny has lived through many of Hong Kong’s crises but describes the recent anti-extradition protests as heart-breaking.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with Bidisha (1999, English)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Bidisha (1999, English)

In this episode hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with Bidisha who started her journalist career at 14. Bidisha came up to the Hall in 1996 to read English Language and Literature and during her first year, she published her first book, Seahorse. Since then she has journeyed through the worlds of journalism, radio, writing and film. Bidisha started filming her Aurora series when the Covid pandemic began and so has had to embrace the world of remote filming over the past year. She has dedicated much of herself to working with London-based asylum seekers and refugees although this too has been affected by the Covid pandemic.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with David Gauke (1990, Jurisprudence)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with David Gauke (1990, Jurisprudence)

In this episode hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with David Gauke who came up to the Hall in 1990 to read Law and graduated into legal practice in 1995 before he became South West Hertfordshire’s Member of Parliament in 2005. Since then David has held many positions in Government including Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Secretary of State for Justice and Various roles at the Treasury. In September 2019, David and 20 other rebel Conservative MPs who opposed a no deal Brexit lost the Conservative Whip and so David had to stand in the December General Election as an independent candidate. Since then, David has gone full circle and returned to the law firm Macfarlanes as Head of Policy.

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Spirit of the Hall podcast with James Howarth (Librarian)
Spirit of the Hall podcast with James Howarth (Librarian)

In the last episode of series one, hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with James Howarth, Teddy Hall’s brilliant librarian. James studied at Oxford himself and joined the Hall in 2018 having been librarian at Lambeth Palace Library, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Taylorian Library and Balliol College. James speaks about the history and traditions behind the Old Library and the importance of our main Library to College members today, especially during the Covid pandemic, when since September 2020, it has been open for 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

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Series 2

Spirit of the Hall podcast with Justin Gosling (Honorary Fellow)

In the first episode of Series Two, hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with Honorary Fellow and quondam Principal Justin Gosling who has touched the hearts and minds of many Aularians over the years.  Justin reflects on his years at Teddy Hall since he joined the College in 1960; he was the Senior Tutor for PPE and became the Principal in 1982. Justin offers incredible insights into life at the Hall over a sixty year period as well as changing attitudes during that time.

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Maggie Carver CBE Podcast
Spirit of the Hall podcast with Maggie Carver CBE (1982, Biochemistry)

In this episode hear Olly Belcher, President of the St Edmund Hall Association, in conversation with Maggie Carver CBE who came up to the Hall in 1982 to read Biochemistry.  Maggie threw herself into everything at Oxford: her subject, sport, music, the Oxford Union and her social life. Since then she has risen to the top of many companies and been a wonderful mentor to many women dealing with life’s juggle.

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