You are here:

Updated: May 2020

Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Thomson CBE recently recorded a personal video message to the UoL alumni community. In conversation with Bill Abraham, Director of Development, the Vice-Chancellor reflects on leadership, her first year in post and shares her vision for the University’s future, focussing on the increased importance of distance and flexible learning in providing access to education. Watch the video on our website.

Professor Wendy Thomson CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, has a message for all our alumni.

As the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to be felt extensively in many areas around the world, the importance of community cannot be over-emphasised. I wanted to reach out during these unprecedented times and provide you, as a valued member of the University of London alumni community, with an update on the University’s response to this rapidly evolving situation.

We know that some of our alumni have been affected by COVID-19 since the beginning of the year, and more are being impacted, either directly or indirectly, each day. Our thoughts are especially with all those who are unwell, or who have lost loved ones.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to the large number of alumni around the world who do so much to contribute to society, especially during difficult times. Some of you will be involved with the pandemic more directly, as healthcare professionals, researchers, scientists and policymakers, or in other key roles. We are incredibly grateful for the vastly important work that you are doing. We also applaud the work of the University’s member institutions whose academics and researchers are playing key roles in supporting the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The University’s response to COVID-19

Here at the University's London HQ, the health and wellbeing of our students and colleagues is of paramount importance. In line with the latest WHO recommendations and UK government guidance, the University has taken the decision to close all central London administrative buildings, including Senate House and Senate House Library, as well as the University of London Institute in Paris. The closure will be in place until further notice and will be subject to ongoing review.

Our academics and colleagues continue to support our global community of students by working and delivering instruction remotely. As a pioneer in flexible learning for more than 160 years, we are fortunate that the University already has robust systems in place to enable online and distance study. It is what makes the University of London unique. We are therefore also able to provide advice and support to some of the University’s member institutions, who are moving their programmes to online teaching and learning during the pandemic. At times like these, the positive and collaborative nature of the University of London Federation has never been more important.

We have set up a dedicated webpage to reflect the University of London’s position on COVID-19 and to provide guidance to our community, including information for students and their families. Here, you will also find links to resources related to the pandemic, which may be of interest, such as a free, online course offered by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSH&TM). LSH&TM have been on the forefront of helping to combat the disease, using their predictive modelling and other research skills. The School is offering this course, designed for those without a medical background, as an opportunity to learn more about COVID-19, and how we respond to it going forward. You are welcome to share this with colleagues, friends and family; the course is open to all those with an interest in learning more about COVID-19.


Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Thomson CBE
Professor Wendy Thomson CBE

Our commitment to the University’s alumni and friends

Although the University’s administrative buildings remain closed for the time being, we remain fully committed to supporting our global community of alumni and friends. Colleagues in the Development Office are working remotely and can help answer any alumni-related questions that you might have. They can be contacted via email at or by phone on +44 (0)20 7862 8013 or +44 (0)20 7862 8012.   

In order to protect the health and wellbeing of our alumni and colleagues, we have postponed all University events taking place on campus and around the world. We are looking into the possibility of hosting some future events virtually, and we will keep you informed of plans as they progress.

In the meantime, the Development Office looks forward to continuing to communicate with you, especially in the coming months, to provide updates and information that may be helpful, and offering opportunities for you to engage digitally with the University. One example is Senate House Library’s latest exhibition Childhood in Dickensian London, which is now available to explore online. 

Please do keep in touch and let the team know how you are doing. I also encourage you to stay connected with the University’s online community through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thank you

These are challenging times, which have required an enormous amount of rapid decision making, planning, and understanding from all. I am sincerely grateful to the entire University of London community: students, staff, alumni, donors, friends and partners – for the part they are playing in the University’s response.

Thank you for being such an integral part of the University of London community. We look forward to seeing you at future alumni events at a point when it is safe to do so. Until then, please stay safe and look out for each other.