Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)UB/GG
TitleRecords of the Guild of Graduates
Extent31 standard boxes and 1 large box
Thumbnail (Click this image to open a larger image)


DescriptionRecords of the Guild of Graduates (renamed Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association in 1988) comprising minutes and meeting papers; incomplete financial records; administrative files relating to Laws and Constitution; papers relating to fund-raising, travel bursaries, prizes, the Careers Fair, social events, and the Joint Standing Committee of Convocations (later Conference of University Convocations); publications including the Register of Graduates; fragmentary membership records; and partial records of local branches. Most of the records date from 1907 to 1988 although there are some publications and minutes dating from 1989 onwards.

The collection provides information about the activities and concerns of graduates, the relationship between graduates and the University, and the development of alumni relations as a professional division of the University.
ArrangementThe records are arranged in the following series:
A: Minutes and meetings papers
B: Financial records
C: Policy and administrative records
D: Correspondence
E: Publicity records
F: Records of Guild of Graduates activities
G: Membership records
H: Publications
I: Records of Guild of Graduates branches
J: Records of Guild of Graduates social activities
K: Records relating to Conference of University Convocations
L: Guild of Graduates ephemera
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameUniversity of Birmingham Guild of Graduates
Administrative HistoryThe Guild of Graduates was an organised association of graduates of the University of Birmingham. It was created in 1900 under the terms of the University's Charter of Incorporation to provide graduates with a means of communicating with the University and promoting their common interests. It appears there were no Guild of Graduates activities until 1907, when a Committee was formed and a constitution written. In the same year the Guild of Graduates held its first social events. Initially membership was optional and graduates paid a fee to join but from 1923 membership was automatic upon graduation and the Guild of Graduates received a portion of student graduation fees. After the Second World War the Guild of Graduates received a per-capita grant based on the number of new graduates directly from the University.

The Guild of Graduates was run by a General Committee made up of graduates elected by the membership. Members of the General Committee represented graduates on University committees, including the Court of Governors and Council, and at national conferences of alumni associations. The General Committee appointed sub-committees to research subjects of particular interest to graduates, for example educational and employment issues, and reported their findings to the University and the graduate community. The General Committee also established sub-committees to oversee particular functions of the Guild of Graduates such as social events, publications, and the Careers Fair. The Guild of Graduates was responsible for maintaining records of all graduates; these records were published in the Graduate Register and the contact details were used for circulation of an annual newsletter, established in 1911. The Guild of Graduates also fostered graduate support for the University. In 1928 it established the University Fund, through which graduate donations were allocated to building projects, student hardship funds and student travel bursaries. During the 1960s it supported the University's fund-raising for the Priestley Centre at Coniston. From 1973 it ran an annual Careers Fair using graduate volunteers as advisors. In the 1980s the Guild of Graduates conducted surveys to provide the University with information about graduate career paths and achievements. The Guild of Graduates also administered the Vaughan bequest and a number of prize funds.

As well as the central administration of the Guild of Graduates a number of local, independently-run graduate associations were established in the UK and overseas (e.g. London and Cairo) during the 1920s and 1930s, but most activities tailed off during the Second World War. In 1947 the 'Active Membership' scheme was set up for those who wished to receive regular updates and event invitations, but the scheme foundered due to organisational difficulties and lack of interest. Following a review in 1965 the Guild of Graduates began to operate a branch structure which led to the creation of organisations in Exeter, Bristol, Manchester, and overseas. The Active Membership scheme was effectively replaced by the Midland Branch. Branches elected their own officers, and branch chairmen sat on the Court of Governors. The creation of branches allowed the General Committee to concentrate on the AGM and events which would appeal to all graduates.

As the graduate body expanded the Guild of Graduates' costs rose whilst its income (based on the number of new graduates each year) remained fairly consistent. In 1985 the Guild of Graduates formally requested an increase in funding from £7 to £25 per new graduate. This request was denied, leaving the Guild of Graduates under increasing pressure to generate its own income. Major change came about following the appointment of Professor Michael Thompson as Vice Chancellor in 1987 and David Holmes as Registrar and Secretary in 1988. After discussions with Guild of Graduates President Jane Lodge, it was proposed that responsibility for graduate relations and activities should be taken over by the newly created Alumni Relations Office, which would be staffed, financed and managed by the University, and operated in line with the wider public relations policy. This proposal was passed at the AGM in 1988, along with a change of name to the Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association. Under the new arrangements, the Alumni Affairs Office (later Development and Alumni Relations Office) took charge of matters such as communication, events, and fund-raising. The Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association elected representatives on the Alumni Affairs Committee, as well as the University Court and Council. After the dissolution of the Alumni Affairs Committee in 2000, the President of the Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association made an annual report to the Vice-Chancellor. The Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association still elects representatives to the Court of Governors but since 2000 it can only nominate members to the Council. The Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association operates alongside the Development and Alumni Relations Office and its members take part in events such as reunions and degree congregations.

Information from: records of the Guild of Graduates; Gwendoline Carlier, 'Diamond Jubilee History of the Guild of Graduates' (1968); Norman Jackson 'Guild of Graduates 1967-1988, Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association 1988-2007, from the Diamond Jubilee to the Centenary' (2007).
Custodial HistoryThe collection has been brought together from material already held in Cadbury Research Library as part of the University Collection and University Archive, with the addition of material deposited by individuals or transfered by the Guild of Graduates and Alumni Association.
Archival NoteCatalogue prepared in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997; and in-house cataloguing guide-lines.
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library also holds the records of the Guild of Students (UB/GUILD).


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