An Interview with Dominic Christian (SOC 79) An Interview with Dominic Christian (SOC 79)

Dominic Christian studied in the School of Economic and Social Studies at UEA from 1979 to 1982, graduating with a degree in History. Dominic is now co-Chief Executive Officer of Aon Benfield, and is also a shareholder at Ipswich Town Football Club.

The Dominic Christian Scholarship is awarded to a student studying the MA in Medieval History course in the School of History, and will contribute towards the recipient's fees. He is pictured here with the 2014/15 winner of The Dominic Christian Scholarship, Catherine Healy (HIS 14).

Dominic's wife, Kate Birch, has also funded a scholarship at UEA. The Ink, Sweat & Tears Poetry Writing Scholarship supports a student studying for the MA in Creative Writing: Poetry degree course in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. This scholarship will also contribute towards the recipient's course fees. Kate is an alumna of Toronto University. She has managed Ink, Sweat & Tears, a UK-based webzine which publishes and reviews poetry, prose, prose-poetry and word and image pieces.

Why did you choose to come to UEA as an 18-year-old?

"When I came up for my interview, I really liked the people I met. One of the guys took me to the campus pub for a beer - enough said. I probably wasn't very brave though, given that I was just crossing the border from Suffolk."

What is your favourite memory of UEA?

"There are many. They are numerous and vivid. I studied History, albeit as my Best Man, also from UEA, said of me, 'it was hard enough to remember the events of the fourteenth century when he couldn't remember the events of the night before'." 

How did your UEA experience help you beyond your three years as a student?

"My three years gave me some life-long friends, happy memories, confidence, optimism, a feeling I could compete and an ability to think a bit. I was overconfident, pretty naive and a bit confused. Most of all, I left wanting to prolong being a student. I never imagined for a second I would end up as a suit in the City of London."

What motivated you to get back involved with and donate to UEA?

"Graeme Byrne, Director of Development at UEA, got in touch and told me what was going on. I wanted to help, payback if you like, remember occasionally and have a laugh. My wife, who was a natural academic, also wanted to make a bit of a difference to someone,"

Why did you choose your particular area of support?

"History for me, poetry for my wife, We have each supported MA's. My wife is publishing editor of Ink, Sweat & Tears, a Creative Writing webzine, and has a real interest. I suspect I'm just being vicarious in some way."

Have you enjoyed meeting and getting to know your scholars?

"The people who have benefitted could not have been nicer, more committed or grateful and I am looking forward to meeting future recipients of the awards. It gives me a fantastic excuse to visit the campus, which never fails to bring back old memories."

What would you say to other UEA alumni to encourage them to become involved in a similar way?

"If you enjoyed your time at UEA as a student, you will enjoy your activities around the donor campaign. You will meet some tremendously likeable people. It isn't time consuming and there's no hassle. You will be surprised by how far your experiences and ideas can contribute. We were so lucky. For sure, financially it's tougher today. It's an easy, tangible and enjoyable way of helping. It's a way of saying thank you."