In Memory of Judith Carmel-Arthur

It is with deep sadness that we announce the recent and sudden passing of Dr. Judith Carmel Arthur.   She had taught for Richmond since Fall 2005, primarily specialising in courses related to English Language, Research, and Writing. 

She was known as a very caring teacher and one who set high standards. Her trips to the Kew Archives where she introduced her students to the power, authenticity and sheer excitement of conducting primary research are memorable.  Those of us who worked with her recall her as a very lively colleague who was passionate about her various areas of interest stretching from Research & Writing through to Art and Design.

Her own academic background reflected her range of interests, with degrees including a PhD in the History of Design, an MA in Heritage Management, an MA from the Courtauld Institute in the History of Art: Italian High Renaissance, a BA in Architectural History, and a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture). She also held the post of Researcher at the Warburg Institute in the History of the Classical Tradition.   Recently Dr. Carmel-Arthur was working on the publication of book chapters, academic papers, and magazine articles related to Heritage and Architectural History.  

One of her students has written:  “Dr. Arthur was a great and compassionate professor, who had a major impact on my life. As my very first professor at Richmond, she inspired and encouraged me unlike any instructor had before. She was kind, just, and understanding, all whilst instilling university-level expectations in myself and my peers. While she will be greatly missed, her legacy will live on through the many students whose lives she touched through her amazing teaching.”  

Her Richmond faculty colleagues have written: 

‘Judith was passionate about her teaching and scholarship. She was committed to developing the academic competencies of her students and to passing on to them the highest and most rigorous possible standards of scholarship. She worked unsparingly.’

‘Judith always understood the importance of demonstrating to her students the reality of a situation. So when discussing human rights with them, she invited/persuaded one of her friends, a well-known BBC documentary writer, to come and show them some of his footage of reality in some African countries, and explain how it came about. The students were deeply moved, and the quality of their understanding of the cases in point was enormously enhanced.’

It is a shock to think of Judith, such a force of nature, not being here anymore – and far too young to go. We will celebrate her life, her energy, her passion, the fact that she gave of herself 100% to what she undertook. And the stories: of nature, walks, animals, and above all, her beloved dogs. May you be surrounded by warm fur, Judith, with lolling tongues and eyes full of love and laughter…’

‘One of the things for which Judith is remembered is for the numerous posters and notices that she designed for use in the university. They were quirky, informed, visually arresting, and highly effective. I recall being about to enter a classroom when I spotted affixed to the door Lee Miller’s stunning wartime photo “Women in Firemasks”, and with the subtitle “CLASS IN PROGRESS”.

Her contribution to Richmond’s Liberal Arts’ Research and Writing programme at Richmond was made in a similar spirit. An active researcher in the arts, she continually found ways in which to bring her current projects, and her methods into the classroom, in a way that gave her teaching a freshness and impetus that was hard to match. She would take students to the National Archives at Kew, to the Tate to see Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds, to the V&A to look at ceramics. Equally notable was the range of issues with which she engaged – human rights, representation of women, landscape, English country houses. These found their ways into the writings of her students in ways which have stood them in very good stead. Those taught by Judith have been given a rare privilege and a very good grounding.’

Although her family did not specify this, if you would like to make a donation, we think The National Trust would be appropriate.  Dr. Carmel-Arthur had worked on ‘A Woman’s Touch’, an exhibition related to the National Trust property Clandon Park in Surrey.  In fact, she had used that research opportunity to involve a few of her Richmond students in first hand cataloguing and archiving experience.

Our thoughts are with her and her family. She will be missed. 

In Memory of Walter McCann

walter mccannIt is with great sadness that we mourn the death of retired Richmond University President, Walter McCann. Dr. McCann served over a decade at Richmond promoting the University’s liberal education and international profile. He is survived by his wife, Alba and daughter Yanira.

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In Memory of Ivan Zmertych

Ivan ZmertychIt is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Ivan Zmertych, former lecturer in art and architectural history.   In January 2016, Ivan was honoured by the university as an Honorary Fellow. The tribute commemorating this occasion follows:

“Having been born in western Hungary in 1933, Ivan lived the majority of his early life under Soviet occupation.  His early ambitions were to be a concert pianist but those ambitions faded at the end of the Second World War when the new state apparatus took over the schools.  Because his family were not regarded as pro the new administration, he lost his access to a piano and was not allowed to move on to a music academy.  Instead, he turned his attentions towards architecture.

After Moscow’s brutal repression of the 1956 Revolution, at the age of 23 Ivan escaped from Hungary and established himself in London.  He progressed his studies in architecture and, at the University of London’s Goldsmiths’ College, in Art History.  He was offered a scholarship to The Courtauld Institute but didn’t take it up.

Ivan worked as a junior architect for a number of large and prestigious London architectural practices including Ronald Ward, the practice responsible for designing the first London ‘skyscraper’.

At this point he met and married Mari a fellow Hungarian living in London.

Somewhat disenchanted with life as a junior architect, overworked and underpaid with little scope for creative opportunities, Ivan began looking for alternative opportunities.  A friend of his at Goldsmiths, the young art historian Catrine Clay, suggested that he might consider teaching.

Catrine had recently become a founding member of the faculty at a brand new educational enterprise called Richmond College, and she knew that they were gradually expanding their offerings and were looking for art teachers.  Ivan applied and was offered courses in drawing and English art and architectural history.  He joined the college at the beginning of the third year of its existence. Ivan, Catrine Clay, and Noaline Kelly were the Art Department, supplemented the following year by the soon-to-be- famous stained glass artist Alan Younger.

In addition to teaching at the College, Ivan was engaged by AIFS to run study travel programs abroad.  These were arduous!  They often involved taking several coach loads of American students and adults on six week long art-related tours through as many as six countries, giving art history lectures in the stop-over cities, and generally keeping the older members of the group from having heart-attacks in the Roman heat.

When John Dickerson joined Richmond in the mid 1970s and set about establishing new and coherent BA programs in Art History and then in Studio Art, Ivan played an important role.  He was at the centre of a considerably expanded art faculty and range of courses.  He became the cornerstone of the concentration in Interior Design within the Studio Art Degree, teaching taught two levels of Technical Drawing and three Upper Division courses in Interior Design and Interior Architecture.

Although Ivan has taught for other American programs in London, Richmond has always been close to his heart and his contribution has been much greater than simply his role as an instructor.

In addition to his impressive knowledge on a wide range of subjects, it was his personal warmth and evident concern for the wellbeing of his students that made him so special.  He became a substitute father figure for generations of Freshmen who were struggling with the emotional conflicts of being away from home and family, and immersed in a foreign culture for the first time.  It is no exaggeration to say that there are dozens of Richmond graduates out there who would have left the university during their first year if Ivan had not been sympathetic to their situation and set them on the road to becoming acculturated and to prosper.

Many alumni I talk to about their years at Richmond speak of Ivan with heartfelt gratefulness, respect and love.  I recently received an email from an alum who wrote:  “One thing that remained always consistent with Ivan, was that he always, regardless of the time of day, semester, or weather, makes time for you. He stops and leaves everything else aside and is really there for you whenever he sees you. That really meant a lot to me, and to all of us.   As he takes value in being present in its truest sense, he always showed us that every opinion is valid. Even when the entire contemporary art world was raving about the latest Turner Prize winner, he wasn’t even remotely hesitant to differ.  His stance also taught us that every observation is worth attention.”

Ivan continued to teach at Richmond until he retired in 2010.

In addition to being a committed teacher and mentor, Ivan is a devoted family man with two wonderful daughters and three grand children.  Nowadays he gets to spend more time with his books and music, but still travels regularly to the USA and to Budapest and enjoys a strong espresso with his sugar!

If you want to know about the structuring of Gothic vaults, the achievements of the under-valued Hungarian Impressionist movement, axonometric projection, or about the finer points of Schubert sonatas, Ivan is your man.   But his friends and former colleagues here remember most his endearing warmth, great patience, sympathy, liberalism, love of art and his unfailing generosity.

Above everything else Ivan is a great human being who has enriched all of us who worked with him or studied under his guidance.  He richly deserves this honour that the University is bestowing upon him this evening.”

  • Speech delivered by Professor Mary Robert on the occasion of the conferment of Honorary Fellow of Richmond, the American International University in London, to Mr. Ivan Zmertych.  28th January 2016

Congregation – Class of 2017


Please have a look at our gallery here.

Congratulations, class of 2017!


Our Honorary Doctorates of 2017:

Sir Alec Edward Reed, CBE, FCMA, FCIPD

Sir Alec Edward Reed is the founder of Reed Executive Ltd, one of the UK’s largest private businesses. He has held several positions during his career at the Reed group of companies and is now Founder at Large. Sir Alec is also a high-profile charity donor and organiser. His first charity was set up in the 1970s and he has since set up a not‐for‐profit residential accountancy college, Reed Business School. In 1985, he established The Reed Foundation, a charitable foundation that serves as the main vehicle for his philanthropic activities. The Foundation has financed numerous charitable initiatives including Womankind Worldwide, Ethiopiaid, Reed Restart at Holloway Prison, Women at Risk and the Alec Reed Academy. His various charitable initiatives have given away over £60 million, mostly in support of women, addiction recovery, overseas development, education and the arts.

Gaia Trussardi

Gaia Trussardi was appointed the Creative Director of Trussardi Group in February 2013. In this role, she supervises all creative aspects for the renowned fashion house, from the conception and development of collections to style and advertising campaigns. Gaia joined in the family business at a very young age. Over the years, she has worked in all areas of the company’s creative and production process – from materials selection to stylistic decisions – gaining great entrepreneurial expertise and perfecting her trend‐setting approach. Gaia Trussardi is currently a member of the Board of Administration of the group. Gaia, who earned a degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Richmond, is a keen observer of lifestyles and trends in various cultural areas such as fashion, society, communications, and music. She is currently a Visiting Professor at Richmond University.

The Right Honourable Lord David Willetts, PC

The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts is the Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the Number 10 Policy Unit. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Christ Church, Oxford, and graduated with a first class degree. This has allowed Lord Willetts to write extensively on economic and social policy. He is currently a visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, Chair of the British Science Association and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

CSPI Brexit/General Election event on evening of 25 May

Chaired by David Gallagher FPRCA, Chairman of the PRCA Fellows and President, Growth and Development, International at Omnicom Public Relations Group.

The panel will debate the strategies that the PR and communications industry should recommend to government, business and civil society as we head towards a General Election and also as we prepare to leave the EU. It will also consider what the most important audiences and priorities are.

Panelists include:

  • Iain Anderson FPRCA, Executive Chairman, Cicero Group
  • Colin Byrne FPRCA, Chief Executive Officer, UK & EMEA, Weber Shandwick
  • Gill Morris MPRCA, Chief Executive and owner, GMC Ltd
  • Lionel Zetter FPRCA, Director, TEAS, and PRCA Public Affairs Group Chairman


Address: University of Richmond (Kensington Campus), London, W8 5EH

For more details, please click here.

In Memory of Sandy Petrek

We are sad to announce the death of Sandra L. Petrek, the widow of Dr William J. Petrek, Richmond’s first President who served from January 1980 until December 1992.
Education was a constant source of joy throughout Sandra’s life and she was very active in supporting her husband in his role as President. In addition to her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she had many certifications and while at Richmond gained further certification from the London Montessori Institute where she later became the Vice President. We send our condolences to the family of Sandra and William Petrek, remembering especially their daughter Michele an alumna of the University.