Sir Alex Ferguson CBE visited Glasgow Caledonian New York College at a landmark stage of its development.
Sir Alex, who is an honorary graduate and founding donor of GCU Foundation, spoke on the theme of leadership at the University’s postgraduate college, which in June became the first international higher education institution ever to win authority to award degrees in New York. Inaugural classes began in September.
Sir Alex explored the theme of leadership in conversation with Sir Michael Moritz KBE, high-profile philanthropist, venture capitalist, and author of the first history of Apple. Sir Michael was an early investor in global companies such as Paypal, Yahoo and LinkedIn.
Sir Michael, who is also a former journalist, teamed up with Sir Alex to write the book: Leading: Learning from Life and My Time at Manchester United, indicating the links between effective leadership and long-term, transformational success.
Sir Alex said: "I am a committed supporter of Glasgow Caledonian, a vibrant university which does important research and changes the course of many young people's lives. It is a huge pleasure to see the University take a step forward with the launch of Glasgow Caledonian New York College.”
Sir Alex spoke on Wednesday evening and hosted a related lunchtime leadership event at Glasgow Caledonian New York College. Attendees at the events included representatives from New York’s finance and fashion sectors, GCU alumni and Glasgow-born photographer Harry Benson, whose celebrated career was recognised with an honorary doctorate from the University earlier this year.
Asked by Sir Michael why he supported the University Sir Alex said: "When I came for my honorary degree, I was taken to a class of 11 year olds on campus who were being told not to be afraid of universities.
“Youth has always been important to me. I love to see young people develop and how they develop as human beings is as important as how they develop as footballers.”
Principal Professor Pamela Gillies said: “We are immensely grateful to Sir Alex and Sir Michael for coming to Glasgow Caledonian New York College at the start of our inaugural academic year. Staff and students are proud to see our University become ever more outward-facing. In this great city of New York, we are delighted to be able to offer programmes in fashion, risk management and finance which merge business imperatives with sustainability and ethical values.”
The historic breakthrough offers students access to Masters courses in fashion, risk management and finance, key business disciplines in New York. Glasgow Caledonian New York College which established the Fair Fashion Center two years ago, has quickly become a trusted partner for global fashion companies seeking practical guidance working towards the United Nation’s goals on sustainability.
Cara Smyth, Vice-President of Glasgow Caledonian New York College, said: “Corporations are interested in responsible and transparent management. Glasgow Caledonian New York College is offering the next generation of business leaders the opportunity to learn how to balance the needs of people and the planet while still delivering profit.”
Sir Alex, widely regarded as one of the most successful managers of all time, led Manchester United, the UK football club that ranks among the highest achieving and most valuable franchises in sport, for over quarter of a century. The team secured a remarkable 49 trophies during his career.
In 2015, Sir Alex committed half a million pounds to the University to enable talented students to embark on life-changing overseas study trips regardless of background.