City, which received its royal charter in 1966 and became a part of the University of London five decades later, has always been held in high and proprietorial regard by the City of London, with the position of Rector reserved to the serving Lord Mayor. So it was that, on 16 January, fifteen Worshipful Company Masters from the City, including myself, made our way to the Barbican to witness the installation of the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor Alderman Nicholas Lyons as Rector of “our” University.
The newly sworn in Rector had the happy task of presiding over the graduation ceremony for City’s Bayes Business School. Tellingly, he pointed out that those who were about to graduate, and not the greybeards sitting on the stage, would be the ones who would shape the world in years to come, and he supported his claim with the unanswerable quotation, “I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future”, which he attributed to Homer – “the Greek poet, not Simpson”. His words were echoed in the advice provided by City’s President, Sir Anthony Finkelstein, who observed that, while graduation might mark the end of their formal studies, the real work was just about to begin for these future business leaders, as they embarked on their exciting but unpredictable journeys through life.
Sir Anthony himself was having a busy time, too, as he had previously agreed to come along as my principal guest to our Livery Dinner that evening, where we were joined by over ninety Liverymen and guests in the Hall’s River Room. They were treated to a witty and informative speech from City’s President, in which he employed his extensive software experience, which included a period as Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security, to examine the potential impact of chat boxes such as ChatGPT on our way of life. It is going to be huge.
19 February 2023