St Mary’s University, Twickenham hosted a Parliamentary Reception at the Houses of Parliament, in conjunction with the Catholic Legislators Network, bringing together supporters from a range of backgrounds including; former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, former Chair of Ofsted Baroness Morgan, Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker, Visiting Professor Baroness Warsi, and Twickenham MP Tania Mathias.
Prior to the Reception St Mary’s University Chair of Governors, Bishop Richard Moth, celebrated a Mass in the Crypt Chapel of the Palace of Westminster. During the evening, which celebrated the achievements of the university, speeches were given by Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s, Francis Campbell; Conor McGinn MP of the Catholic Legislators Network; and Bishop Moth gave the closing remarks.
Conor McGinn MP paid tribute to St Mary’s Vice Chancellor, Francis Campbell, and praised the inclusivity of the University, saying, “When the University installed Cardinal Vincent Nichols as its Chancellor last year, it sent out a powerful symbolic message as to St Mary’s core Catholic ethos and values. Those are not exclusive values and St Mary’s is not an exclusive place. On the contrary, it is inclusive. Most of the people who work and study at St Mary’s are not Catholic. But many are attracted by the values of social justice and fairness that underpin its outlook and activity, and the powerful sense of community that flows from them.”
Vice Chancellor Francis Campbell highlighted the progress that St Mary’s has made since its foundation, saying, “As some of you may know, we began life in 1850 as a Catholic teacher training college. Since then the college has expanded and broadened and in 2014 obtained University status. We now have a community of about 7,000 on a beautiful 50 acre campus by the banks of the Thames at Twickenham in south west London.”
Francis Campbell also paid tribute to the former President of Ireland, Prof McAleese, for her efforts towards bringing peace and reconciliation to Ireland during her Presidency. Closing the speeches, Bishop Richard Moth highlighted how St Mary’s values run through its core including its role as an employer.
St Mary’s was one of the first organisations to pay the Living Wage to its staff and it has a policy not to outsource work – all employees are part of the St Mary’s team. St Mary’s returns to Westminster on 24th February to host Prof McAleese in an address to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain.