Oundle Lecture Series
The annual Oundle Lectures are given by Old Oundelians who are distinguished in their particular field. Sanderson Fellow Dr M.J. Bessent continues the trend of linking each lecture with an academic department, and also tries to alternate the theme of the lectures between the sciences and the arts. This past year's twelth annual lecture, entitled "Writing from the Heart", was delivered by David Edgar (Ldr 65).
Professor Richard Dawkins (Ldr 59) delivered the first Oundle Lecture in 2002. He chose "Evolution: the New Classics" as his title, including in his text a eulogy of F.W. Sanderson which appeared a week later as a two-page article in The Guardian. He was followed in 2003 by the author, poet and noted poker-player Al Alvarez (C 48), who gave an insight into the challenges faced by a professional writer in his lecture, "My Dreadful Trade". In 2004, Sir Alan Budd (C 55), asked the question in his title "What do Economists know?" The choice of Sir Alan, along with that of Al Alvarez, drew the comment that there could not be many schools who could invite two of the UK’s leading experts on gambling to come back to their old school for such an occasion in successive years.
In 2007 Sir John Lilleyman delivered a moving talk about his career in medicine and in particular about the fight against childhood leukaemia. 2008 saw the return to Oundle of royal biographer (and yet another poker-player) Anthony Holden, whose chosen theme was "Life-writing", or the "Art of Biography". He was followed in 2009 by wildlife photographer Andew Anderson, who showed his marvellous wildlife films in a lecture entitled "Lurking in the Undergrowth". The 2010 lecture was delivered by Anthony d’Offay (Ldr 57), on the theme of the 50 Artist Rooms he presented to the nation. In 2011, Colin Matthews (G 73), Chief Executive Officer of the British Airports Authority spoke about "Aviation in a Low Carbon Environment", while "Reporting From the Frontline" was the theme of journalist David Loyn's (B 71) 2012 lecture.
Each Oundle Lecture, given in the Stahl Theatre, is followed by dinner for a limited number of guests in the Two Acre Club. This is a charity event, intended to raise funds for a good cause chosen by the speaker. The chosen charities supported so far have been the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Roundhouse Trust, the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, victims of the South East Asia Tsunami, Parkinsons UK and The Roddy Scott Foundation, and The Eve Brook Scholarship Fund.