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12 April 2020

A message from our President and Principal

A letter from Professor Ed Byrne to our global alumni community on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and how King's is adapting.

Image of Ed Byrne

These are undoubtedly unprecedented times for King’s and our global alumni community. While we have adapted our work, pausing face to face teaching and research, with the exception of a number of projects relating to diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, we continue to operate remotely to deliver content and engagement opportunities. We look forward to returning to normal soon.
You will find below a letter from the President & Principal, Professor Ed Byrne, to you, our alumni community on the impact of this crisis and how King’s is adapting.

A message from the President & Principal of King’s College London, Professor Ed Byrne.

King’s College London has been around for almost 200 years and has been sustained through difficult times in the past by a sense of community and indeed public service.

The months ahead are going to be among the most difficult we have experienced, certainly since the Second World War, and are the most difficult of my professional life. We have been planning for some weeks as to how we can best continue our university mission, educate and support our students and conduct research under radically changed circumstances.

At this time, while we are unable to reach out to our alumni community face to face, I would like to thank you for the way you continue to engage with this institution and make a positive difference in the community. I have been heartened by the stories of King’s alumni volunteering in their communities at this time of crisis. I also want to acknowledge staff and students for their great work to date and willingness to adapt to more flexible ways of studying, providing education and research.

Whilst our teaching and research has paused in a physical sense, we continue to operate remotely and our Alumni Relations team are working tirelessly in order to produce a series of events and up to date information for our alumni across the world.

Alongside adapting to this new way of working and as a research-led university, King’s has played an important role in supporting the global narrative and response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. Academics from the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience have carried out research into the complexity of major incidents, supporting Public Health England’s ability to minimize the health impacts of emergencies such as the one we are currently experiencing. A new technique to improve the outcome of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia has also been co-authored by King’s Professor Georgina Ellison-Hughes. The study intravenously transplanted stem cells into seven patients and observed results over 14 days. All symptoms had disappeared by two to four days after the transplantation. Please do keep an eye on this update on the King’s website for the latest news on King’s contribution as this situation develops.

Many of us around the world will have to self-isolate for a period in line with Government guidelines. We have had some cases of proven coronavirus in our community of staff and students and alumni and it is inevitable that more will occur in the weeks ahead. Some members of our global family will become very ill, especially those who are vulnerable. That is why it is so crucial that we come together as a community, perhaps in a way that we have not for many years. We must look out for and help each other. The stresses will be great, but I am confident that with our determination, spirit and shared values we will get through this incredibly challenging period with our sense of community enhanced.

To all of you in our global alumni community, I want to thank you for your continued support. My hope is that you still feel part of the King’s family, albeit extended and spread across the world. I would like to express our sincere support and solidarity and assure you that we will be doing everything we can to serve our alumni, friends and the wider society as we navigate the weeks ahead together.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

To stay up to date with the response from King’s, associated partners and the Alumni Office, make sure you follow our social medial channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, King's Connect and WeChat.

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