Distinguished Friends of Oxford
The Distinguished Friend of Oxford (DFO) Award was initiated in 1997 to provide the University with a means of formally recognising individuals who have acted as exceptional volunteers for the benefit of the wider collegiate University. The first awards were presented in 1998.
The Award recognises those who have given of their time, contacts and influence in support of an initiative beyond that which can be recognised through traditional channels. Their impact will have been profound and the results would have been impossible to achieve using current available resources. Separate from any financial contributions, their legacy will have had a lasting impact on the collegiate University and they will be perceived as role models to other volunteer contributors.
Recipients of the 2019 Awards were honoured at Meeting Minds in Oxford by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Louise Richardson.
Richard Cockram (Brasenose, 1962)
Richard Cockram read Mathematics at Brasenose in 1962. He has been a generous supporter of the Brasenose Annual Fund since 2007 enabling the College to support areas of greatest need by providing support for students throughout their academic life. In addition, he has maintained his ties with his department, enthusiastically supporting Mathematics over the years. As Secretary of Oxford University Society Cornwall, he is an outstanding example of how an alumnus can make a difference to local alumni and potential students while supporting University strategic priorities.
Mr Cockram has developed a very strong and positive interest in Exeter College because of its historic connections to the south west. He has been instrumental in encouraging members of OUS Cornwall to support Exeter’s access and outreach programme, specifically the element that focuses on Cornwall. He has facilitated a regular and varied alumni group events programme which in turn provides donations and funding for local Cornish students to register for the Summer Residential programme.
In 2018, 20 students attended, and the generosity of the Cornwall group provided much-needed travel expenses. Mr Cockram’s passion, leadership and indefatigability are tremendous assets to the University as he strives to bring the Oxford experience to more young people from his region. He presented to his fellow alumni group leaders at the Alumni Volunteer Forum in 2018, encouraging alumni groups to get involved with supporting the University’s outreach programmes. Mr Cockram personifies the notion of collegiate collaboration, raising aspirations while providing a mechanism for connecting local alumni with University priorities and each other.
Oliver Franklin, OBE (Balliol, 1967)
Oliver Franklin has worked as a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer on behalf of the University and Balliol College for three decades. He founded the Oxford Society of Philadelphia in 1987 and served as its President – and as President of the now combined Oxford & Cambridge Society of Philadelphia – until 2017. Mr Franklin played an essential role in ensuring the smooth merger of the Oxford and Cambridge Societies. He has been instrumental in the success of this newly-formed joint alumni group, and has remained active since stepping down as President. Under his leadership, the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Philadelphia has held a highly-successful annual dinner since 1998. The Society hosts smaller events throughout the year to promote fellowship among the residents of the Delaware Valley who have studied at Oxford or Cambridge.
Mr Franklin has served as Philadelphia’s Honorary Consul of the United Kingdom since 1998. In this role, he represents British diplomatic, commercial and cultural interest in the region. He was awarded an OBE in 2008. Following a successful career in finance, he currently serves as a consultant for a number of private equity and venture capital firms.
In addition to his activities in Philadelphia, he frequently travels to New York for University events and to confer with North American office staff members; he also provides generous advice and counsel regarding the forging of links to British businesses, governmental, and cultural representatives in the Northeastern USA. Mr Franklin and his wife, Patricia, have opened their home to generations of graduating Balliol students traveling with a Coolidge, now Westerman, ‘Pathfinder’ award. More recently, he has served as a founding board member for ‘Balliol Knowledge’, a new alumni initiative that brings together Balliol alumni and others from around the world, for collaboration and innovation.
Joe Horn-Phathanothai, MBE (Trinity, 1993)
As a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge, a regular traveller between Bangkok, Beijing and Europe, and a business leader with an unfaltering dedication to volunteerism, Joe Horn-Phathanothai knows a thing or two about balance.
Mr Horn-Phathanothai is the Founder and CEO of Strategy613, which provides advisory services to international companies entering China and Thailand. He shares his insights with Oxford, regularly advising the University on its outreach to China, arranging meetings with prospective donors and partner organisations, and warmly hosting Oxford visitors at his Beijing home.
Mr Horn-Phathanothai has also helped the University to further its engagement with Thailand. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the Oxford Thai Foundation, a Bangkok-based group established in 2015 to raise funds in support of promising Thai students at Oxford. As the Director and Secretary General of the Foundation, he was instrumental in the Oxford Thai Foundation’s £181,000 donation towards the Oxford – Oxford Thai Foundation Graduate Scholarship in 2017. The scholarship will support five students from Thailand to pursue graduate studies at Oxford from 2018/19 to 2022/23, with one full scholarship available each year. Additionally, the Foundation provides support directly to Oxford students from Thailand with strong financial need.
Mr Horn-Phathanothai also actively raises awareness towards Oxford in Thailand, particularly in the public policy sphere, through events hosted by the Oxford Thai Foundation. As a long-serving President of the Cambridge Club of Bangkok, he organised alumni events that welcomed Oxonians.
Mr Horn-Phathanothai was awarded an MBE in 2018, in recognition of his services to charity, to educational development and to UK relations with China and Thailand.
Jackyung Moon Lambert (St Hugh’s, 1976)
Jacky Lambert has been a highly valued member of the St Hugh’s community, serving on the College's 125th Anniversary Development Board since 2007. As Chairperson of the Development Board, she was also a crucial advocate for St Hugh's during a major capital campaign, successfully steering the College to attain £22 million for the China Centre Building. With her support and guidance the College was able to make introductions with key supporters in Hong Kong, leading to major gifts to support this important project that indeed benefits the wider University by bringing together relevant academics and students under one remarkable roof.
Mrs Lambert’s guidance and the support she leveraged through engaging donors has had a significant impact in a variety of academic areas. Her support of Career Development Fellowships was particularly invaluable and her facilitation, including securing £135,000 from a non-alumna, directly resulted in Career Development Fellowships in both Philosophy and Psychology.
Mrs Lambert continues to put a large amount of time and energy into St Hugh’s and has established a Travel Fund for Academics. A long-term financial supporter of St Hugh's, she also sponsored a graduate scholarship to enable the first Nepalese student from an untouchable class to take up his place.
Working as an investment banker, she spent eight years working for Credit Suisse, responsible for the relationship management with the UK government plus major corporates overseas.
In recognition of her support, Mrs Lambert was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at St Hugh’s in 2014.
Bernard and Sarah Taylor (St John’s, 1975) and (Wadham, 1976)
Bernard and Sarah Taylor have been inspiring leaders on many fronts and most recently as the Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum since 2011, and as Chair of the Friends of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum since 2017, respectively. In every sense, they have set the bar high, having a remarkable impact across the entire University.
Mr and Mrs Taylor are long standing supporters of the Department of Chemistry, the subject Mr Taylor studied for his undergraduate degree. He has chaired the Chemistry Development Board since its launch in October 2013, and also chairs the Advisory Board for the wider Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division.
Mr Taylor is an Honorary Fellow of St John’s and, along with many years of loyal service and wise counsel to the College, currently chairs its Development Board. He is a Sir Thomas and Lady White Benefactor; one of the College’s Tutorial Fellowships in Chemistry bears his name in perpetuity in recognition of his commitment to St John’s.
Over Mr Taylor’s nearly eight years of service for the Ashmolean Museum, he has led the Board through the conclusion of the £60 million-plus capital redevelopment campaign to the launch of the incredibly successful Ashmolean Fund endowment campaign. He played an instrumental role in delivering the £1 million Catalyst Grant to kick-start the campaign, then helping the Museum reach the ambitious target of £25 million by 2019 as part of the Endowment Working Group. This achievement is in large part thanks to Bernard's influential work setting up the Ashmolean Museum Endowment Trust, of which he is Trustee, which alone has contributed nearly £10 million in pledges to the campaign.
Mrs Taylor is a Visitor of the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum (OBGA), and Chair of the Friends of OBGA. Her tenure has seen a step-change in the Friends’ fundraising activities, and they will shortly be launching their largest ever campaign to raise more than £700,000 for the renovation and extension of the path network at the Arboretum. Not only has she been instrumental in increasing the number of Friends of OBGA, she has also set up a new body of Patrons, the Danby Group.
All photo credits: John Cairns