On the 18th of June, Ms Shahnaz Batmanghelidj (PPE, 1975) and Mrs Nancy Brown (PPE, 1980) were honoured at a ceremony at Harris Manchester College with a Distinguished Friends of Oxford Award.
The award was initiated in 1997 to provide the University with a means of formally recognising individuals who have acted as exceptional volunteers for the benefit of the wider collegiate University. The first awards were presented in 1998.
Ms Shahnaz Batmanghelidj
Shahnaz Batmanghelidj has been on the Board of Directors of the University’s primary charity in the USA, Americans for Oxford, Inc. (AFO), since February 2005. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer who fully embraces her responsibilities as a member of AFO while seeking to be of assistance to the wider collegiate University.
Shahnaz brings a deep devotion to Oxford and a strong background in finance and administration to the Board’s deliberations, providing invaluable guidance as it fulfils its fiduciary responsibilities. Additionally, she has identified and recruited seven new members to the Board, including its current Chairman.
In 2005, Shahnaz suggested the idea of planning a reunion in Oxford for alumni who matriculated in 1975. Shahnaz spearheaded this effort spending a great deal of time and energy to form a committee of thirty-seven fellow alumni that organized a weekend program in Oxford with events including a degree ceremony, talks by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, tours of the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum, and a reunion ball. This hugely successful event would prove to be the catalyst for the initiation of Alumni Weekends in Oxford.
In subsequent years she has helped with organizing and hosting many events in New York for Oxford. She enthusiastically promotes these dinners amongst her fellow alumni, helping to ensure a high level of attendance for each of these events.
Mrs Nancy Brown
Nancy (right) has served on the Organising Committee of OUS Houston for over 20 years, working alongside Mrs Terry Wukowski (left) (Pembroke, 1982), and during that time the group has organised a wide range of events for alumni in the local area including speaker events, drinks receptions, boat race and cultural events.
She has ensured that the group attracts members of all ages, including alumni with young families, and are now in the process of establishing a younger alumni network. She served as co-Chair of the OUS Houston for 15 years and currently serves as the group’s Historian.
Nancy maintained all communications with OUS Houston members, organized events, conducted Executive Committee meetings, organized mail outs, created invitations, wrote emails, kept all organizational records and wrote welcome letters to all newcomers. As a Board member, Nancy continues to organize events. Nancy has attended the Alumni Weekend in Oxford every year for ten years.
Over the years, Terry and Nancy have worked tirelessly to support the University, taking flights totalling 150,000 miles, making a 4,000-mile road trip to New York, and carving out time for the European Alumni Weekends. Terry’s dedicated service led her to be profiled in the Trinity, 2014 edition of Oxford Today. Terry also sat for three years on the organising Committee for the Annual Oxford Distinguished Fulbright Lecture series hosted by Pembroke College, a series which has since 2011 brought a number of outstanding American speakers to Oxford to honour the name of Senator T. William Fulbright.
Nancy and Terry have worked together all these years with the single purpose of strengthening the bonds between local Oxford alumni and the University through communications and events. They achieve their purpose by strengthening the bonds of friendship and connection among the members.