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New state-of-the-art lecture theatre opens

Published: 28 February 2020

Patrick Vallance_opening_crop

This week saw the opening of a brand-new state-of-the-art lecture theatre at St George’s, University of London.

St George’s alumnus and Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance officially opened the lecture theatre on Wednesday evening as part of an event celebrating the University.

Seating over 200 people, the lecture theatre is the first stage of a long-term plan to refresh and renew the University, so that it remains an institution at the forefront of science, healthcare and education.

Professor Jenny Higham, Principal, opened the event sharing some of St George’s history, demonstrating items from the University’s archives. These included post-mortem records from over 150 years ago and one of the first anaesthetic kits used in medicine.

Deputy Principal Professor Deborah Bowman then took to the stage, highlighting the people, places and spaces that make up the St George’s community. Stressing that everyone at the University has a role to play, Professor Bowman emphasized the students and staff that have all made a difference to life at St George’s.

Speaking on the new lecture theatre, she said: 

“Spaces matter because they’re where people, connections and ideas will flourish. St George’s brings together communities across research, learning, public engagement and more. The work begins in SW17, but has impact around the world.”

As well as celebrating the new space, the event also took time to recognise the achievement of introducing the UK’s first undergraduate clinical pharmacology degree to the University’s education portfolio this academic year.

Having worked at St George’s for a combined total of more than 50 years, Professors Emma Baker and Iain Greenwood, co-directors of the course, explained the development of the degree and what it means to them.

“We believe in what St George’s stands for,” said Professor Baker.

“As the only UK university dedicated to medicine, healthcare and science, we were delighted to set up a course that will give students a unique skillset, preparing them for work in drug development, research and beyond.”

Following their talk, the lecture theatre was officially opened by the guest of honour Sir Patrick Vallance, himself an expert in clinical pharmacology, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

Reflecting on his own time at St George’s, Sir Patrick explained how he fell in love with science in rooms like this one.

“Lecture theatres were the place I was inspired, where I understood things for the first time, where I was confused, and where I saw demonstrations which brought to life something I was trying to understand,” he said.

“Lectures are live events and remain an important part of how you learn and how you engage. Very often it’s not just what you learn from the person at the front, but the things you learn from each other.”

Speaking at the event, Professor Jenny Higham said: “This new space will be transformational for teaching, public engagement and as a new hub of university life.

“This lecture theatre represents the University’s ambitions to redefine St George’s as a forward-looking university with a clear vision to improve health through education and research.”

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