‘A Very Ripon Christmas’ helps alumni reconnect and celebrate campus history
Published: 07 December 2023
York St John University’s Alumni and Fundraising Office have welcomed dozens of former students for a special Christmas event exclusively for Ripon alumni.
A former teacher training college, York St John’s Ripon campus closed 20 years ago but not before thousands of successful students graduated from there over its 123 years of service.
‘A Very Ripon Christmas’ was the first event held by the University in Ripon this decade. It was also the first event, since our Ripon Wing celebration in 2018, exclusively held for alumni who studied in Ripon.
Attendees included alumni who completed their studies in 1964, when Ripon College was an independent institution, and long before the creation of the College of Ripon and York St John in the 1980s.
The event at Ripon City Golf Club had reconnection at its heart. Alumni had the chance to catch up with friends over festive food, connect with their fellow alumni and shared their stories with staff.
Former students also heard about the work of the Alumni and Fundraising Office and their ongoing projects to bring alumni together and continue their special connection to the University. This work includes an all-years summer reunion this year, a celebration of achievement for our Class of 2023 London campus graduates and the upcoming launch of two alumni networks in 2024. Attendees also heard about the positive impact that alumni-funded scholarships are having on current students.
Many alumni have fond memories of the Ripon Hornblower tradition. The watch has been set every night in Ripon since 886, and recently received national attention at the World Travel Market in London at the start of November. Allison Clark, who graduated from our Ripon campus in 1984, is Ripon’s first female Hornblower and gave a short talk and took questions about this ancient tradition.
As part of the event, alumni also enjoyed a mini exhibit curated by the Alumni Office. The exhibit gave event attendees a brief overview of life at Ripon College a century ago and included student photos from the early 1920s. Also on show were items from the alumni archive, including previous alumni magazines from Ripon College, college shields and trophies.
Louise Gash, Fundraising and Alumni Relationships Manager led the event and said she was delighted to welcome so many former students: “York St John’s Alumni and Fundraising Office is for all of our alumni, no matter where they studied or when they graduated. Holding an event in Ripon, for our Ripon alumni, has been on our agenda since we began reconnecting with our alumni post-pandemic.
“During A Very Ripon Christmas, it was fantastic to learn more about what made studying in Ripon so special and meet some of our alumni community in person for the first time.”
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