University of Nottingham > Alumni > News > A message from the Vice Chancellor

A message from the Vice Chancellor

Following the tragic events in the city of Nottingham on Tuesday morning, University of Nottingham Vice Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, writes to share her condolences, sympathies and support for everyone in the university community.


It is hard to find the words to express the shock and grief felt across our institution at the senseless loss of two first year students, Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Barney Webber, who have had their bright futures brutally curtailed by a seemingly random act of violence.

Grace was a medical student, thriving in her first year of study and inspired to a career in medicine by work placements in a GP surgery and her volunteering for the nationwide vaccination programme during the Covid-19 pandemic. She was a talented sportswoman, playing International Hockey for both the U16 and U18 England Hockey Team and Essex U15 Women's Cricket. She was held in the highest regard by her tutors and team mates alike.

Barney was a History student, with a particular personal interest in geopolitics of both the USA and China. His tutors recall his energy as a student and as fun, friendly, and full of life in his seminars. He too was a sporting talent, playing hockey, rugby and cricket for his school and local clubs and excelling at sports at Nottingham. His role in the Combined Cadet Forces also saw him exhibit his volunteering and leadership skills.

The University is supporting Grace and Barney’s families at this immensely difficult time, and I have met them to express my deep condolences and offer every support at our disposal - although I recognise that nothing will compensate for the loss of a cherished daughter and son.

You may have also seen or even attended our campus vigil on Wednesday, joining thousands of our staff and student community to remember our fellow students and show our support for their families.

Books of condolence have also been opened, which you can sign in-person in the Chapel Lounge on the A floor of Portland Building on University Park, and online.

Against this backdrop of deep sadness and loss, I hope we can draw some comfort from the public reaction locally, nationally, and indeed globally to this dreadful crime. Nottingham is a wonderful and distinctive city, and our University and civic communities are united both in our grief and in our knowledge that this terrible act is not what our city is about.

With my deepest condolences,

Professor Shearer West

Vice Chancellor
University of Nottingham

Add your message to the online book of condolence.

You might be interested in...

A new hue for 'Hu Stu'

One of the most iconic halls on campus, 'Hu Stu' is undergoing a two-year refurb to bring it into the 21st century - take a look at what's planned!

A Guiding Light to Ghana

As a young man growing up in Ghana, Dr Eric Gyan (Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology, 2011) had a dream to become a physician. But only thanks to the university’s international scholarship programme and the generosity of alumni donors was this dream able to become a reality.

A life in balance

Becky Yeung shares how she achieves a balanced lifestyle and how you can pursue both your professional and personal interests.

Breaking the bias: Building workplace confidence

Build confidence and provide practical tools to utilise now and in the future.