Staff and students - past and present - come together to celebrate 40 years of service for Professor Alan Walker

Image of Alan WalkerThe Department of Sociological Studies was recently proud to host a celebration event for Professor Alan Walker, who has been a member of staff in the Department for 40 years.

In recognition of Alan’s outstanding service to the Department, a celebratory event was held at the University of Sheffield on 25 October 2017, and was attended by current and former members of staff, PhD students and people who have worked closely with Alan through the years.

Throughout the celebration, a whole host of colleagues and students shared their fond memories of working with Alan.

Rt Hon. Professor the Lord David Blunkett said: “Alan, when I was in government I was very proud to have you working alongside me and trying to develop social policy and not just individual policies. You have made an outstanding contribution, not just in the academic world, but also in terms of impact.

“You are someone who has been able to nurture and mentor others to provide hope that through real policy, we can develop the ideas of tomorrow. Thank you so much for what you have done.”

Dr Lorna Warren, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department, shared memories of the 28 years she has worked with Alan, beginning in 1989 when Alan recruited Lorna for a Research Associate position at the University of Sheffield.

Lorna said: “Alan and I have encountered and given each other support through a number of major life events in our time together in the Department. For your profound wisdom, your unflagging support and your friendship Alan – a huge thank you.”

Image of Ruby Chau speaking at Alan Walker's eventDr Ruby Chau, Marie Curie Research Fellow and former student of Alan’s, added:

“One of Alan’s best known contributions to the East Asia region is that he has trained many outstanding social policy analysts of different generations. As Alan’s students, we are very lucky. Alan always has faith in us, even when we lose faith in ourselves. His positive attitude, his sincere concern and his encouragement have taken each of us through many difficult times during and after our study. Personally, I have learnt from Alan not just everything needed for social policy research, but more importantly the true respect towards people who may seem less capable in some aspects or at some particular points of time in their life.

“Alan has been a generator of many forward-looking ideas, such as social planning, social quality and active ageing, just to name a few. His work has provided essential intellectual nutrient to many of his contemporaries and younger researchers in Britain and beyond.”

Alan said, following the event: “I want to say a very big thank you to everyone who came to my celebration and thereby contributed to making it a truly memorable occasion for me and my family.

“The event epitomised what I have long treasured about our department: its deep collective solidarity and strong commitment to collegiality. Long may those strengths last.”