Peter Newman (Geography, 1973)
Peter took early retirement from Deloitte, where he led the firm’s Oil & Gas sector practice globally, and has since taken up a portfolio of non-executive directorships for four companies in the oil and shipping sectors, as Trustee and Honorary Treasurer for the charity WaterAid and as a member of the Finance Committee at the Royal Geographical Society.
I was at a Suffolk Grammar School, which was switching to Comprehensive, in the late summer of 1972. I had never previously considered applying to Oxbridge and actually had set my mind upon Liverpool or Sheffield, based solely on reading about their courses, faculties and the cities. But my schoolmaster called me to his office and told me that he wanted me to consider applying to Oxford, and to Hertford in particular.
I was a little surprised when I was invited to visit the College, the School of Geography and be interviewed. I had no expectation of being offered a place and recall being extremely relaxed throughout, making friends easily with many of those also attending for interview, from like backgrounds from all over the country. I suspect I was a little flippant and even ‘cocky’ in some of the interviews, I certainly enjoyed my visit. But upon returning home I put it out of my mind as I was still sure that Oxford was looking for candidates far more exceptional than me. I was thus flabbergasted when, just a couple of weeks later, I opened the mail to read that I was being offered entry, with the requirement being just 2 A Levels at Grade E, a very long remove from the 4 subjects that I was then earnestly pursuing with Grade A’s as my aim!
It was of course an offer too good to decline and, albeit with some disappointment, I abandoned all ideas of going instead to a northern redbrick.
I matriculated in 1973, and soon found my feet, both academically and on the sports field/socially. It was a stimulating and fun environment, although sadly almost exclusively male! I felt extraordinarily fortunate to have gained my place through the ‘Tanner Scheme’. At the time of course, to most of us undergraduates, the Tanner Scheme was more or less invisible, it was certainly not much discussed amongst us. We were all too busy meeting new people and making the most of the myriad opportunities in front of us.