On Tuesday 9th July, City Celebrated its Foundation Day, commemorating an illustrious past, present and exciting future.

Published (Updated )

Marking 125 years since a foundation stone was laid to start construction of the Northampton Institute in 1894, the City Icons award ceremony recognised some of the key figures in both City’s history and modern day.

The glitz and glamour ceremony saw President Professor Sir Paul Curran and award-winning journalist and City alumna, Samira Ahmed present prizes to 15 individuals for their outstanding contributions to City in six categories; community, enterprise, education, partnership, innovation and research.

Each category was split into two sections, past and present. Winners from the past were chosen through an all staff voting system and a judging panel selected the winners from the present.

Sir Paul said: “Since its establishment in 1894 as the Northampton Institute, City has been an integral part of London’s success story.

“At the heart of City’s success is our staff, whose commitment and talent across the generations has transformed the lives of more than 140,000 former students from over 180 countries.”

President Professor Sir Paul Curran


Dora Opoku, OBE and a former Head of Midwifery at City, scooped the past award in the education category, for her incredible commitment to developing midwifery care in London.

Dora who passed away in 2010 was represented by her sister Tina, who flew in from New York to accept the award on her behalf.

Tina said: “Even though she is no longer with us, Dora just keeps showing up everywhere!

“She was an extraordinary person, hardworking and persistent and when she sees something which could benefit other people she is relentless.

“City was everything to Dora, it was so important to her. I remember when she first came to City, she stayed up all night outlining how she would present her work.

Tina Opoku

“She is probably up there now just giggling, feeling so happy that she is still being recognised today.”

Also collecting an award on behalf of a relative was columnist and City alumnus Lord Daniel Finkelstein, son of Professor Ludwik Finkelstein, one of the longest-serving members of City’s academic staff who authored some two hundred papers and four books.

A focus on wellbeing at Develop@City

Prior to the City Icons award ceremony, staff were also invited to attend Develop@City, a series of workshops designed to support personal and professional development.

Sessions on the day included activities around improving confidence, career development and first-hand tips from managers at City.

Throughout the day, staff could also browse boards showcasing City’s values and a range of artefacts which detailed some key moments in City’s 125-year history.

Ailbhe Lynch, Organisational Development Adviser, said: “We are into our fourth year of Develop@City and it is an opportunity for all of our staff to come and learn new skills, collaborate with colleagues and spend some time on themselves and their personal development.

“It is so important for an organisation like City to have a strong staff community. When you are commuting to work everyday it is important to see familiar faces and know the people you are working with and Develop@City is a great place to foster those relationships.”

Ailbhe Lynch, Organisational Development Adviser

Full results of City Icons award ceremony:


  • Past: Miss A.M Tuck
  • Present: Marion O’Hara


  • Past: Professor Leslie T G Clarke
  • Present: Professor Ian Smith and Professor Nikola Stosic


  • Past: Dora Opoku, OBE
  • Present: Professor Pam Parker


  • Past: Professor Raoul Franklin
  • Professor Laudan Nooshin

Innovation & vision

  • Past: Dr Mary Coghill-Hawkes
  • Present: Professor Caroline Wiertz, Dr Aneesh Banerjee and Professor Andre Spicer


  • Past: Professor Ludwik Finkelstein
  • Present: Professor Jane Marshall