It is a great honour to be your President this year, however, I have a very hard act to follow! I must congratulate Mike Shankland for the wonderful programme and refreshing “youthful” vitally and energy he brought to his year as President. No-one, whether new visitor or well-established Proprietor, has been immune to his enthusiastic welcome. The past twelve months has too many highlights to mention, but any year that features a past PM, a musical maestro, the “constitutional” founding of our modern nation, a touching personal introduction to our Burns Supper – and the list goes on— accompanied by wonderful food and company is one to remember. Thanks in no small part to Mike’s hard work and dedication, we really feel that the Institution is heading in the right direction.
In congratulating Mike for his Presidential Year, I must also give him an enormous vote of thanks for how he has supported me and included me in so many ways. Added to the support of Past Presidents and the Committee, great teams at front of house and behind the scenes, I already feel established in the position and ready to get going. We all know the Athenaeum is evolving and we must keep the carefully managed process of evolution going. At the heart of this is ensuring that the Athenaeum is viable financially whilst maintaining our ethos and traditions, as well as remembering each individual’s original reasons for joining. The efforts of all our Committees have been pushing us in the right direction and I will continue to support them to bring about the necessary changes to improve our Institution – I ask for your continued understanding, cooperation and support to ensure we are all successful. One obvious sign of change is our continuing development of the IT systems and the members’ pages on the web-site. Please watch out for the latest developments!
It is true to say, in preparing “my year” I have often been absent from Liverpool – travel being a great privilege of my academic position as I fulfil a number of international research commitments. This has put me in mind of the fascinating links Liverpool and the Athenaeum has with the world, and how it has influenced and shaped the world in the past three centuries. I hope that my year will, if only tenuously, highlight some of the linkages this outward looking city and Institution has given us.
During the next year my wife, Adrienne, and I look forward to renewing acquaintances amongst the membership as well as meeting those of you, along with your friends, visitors and family, we have yet to meet.
Professor Mark Cronin, President 2016-2017