Meet the Project Manager
Towards the end of 2017, Jim O’Rourke was appointed as manager of the Old College project.
An Aber alum and a former Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Jim set up a project management consultancy in 2004.
He has worked on a number of high profile developments in Wales including the Urdd’s role in the Wales Millennium Centre and the £6m redevelopment of Nant Gwrtheyrn, and has provided consultant support to a range of heritage organisations, charities and local authorities to develop projects, staff teams and business acumen.
Jim has played a key role in fundraising for the Old College Appeal, having taken part in the University's fundraising activities. He has written to many alumni about the plans for the Old College, and asking for support towards its renovation.
Here, Jim shares his thoughts about the Old College:
One of my favorite activities is to walk the prom and ‘kick the bar’.
Throughout the year, at different times of the day and sometimes the night, I see a range of different people passing each other by on the prom: the dedicated runners, relaxed walkers, students having fun, nostalgic alums, surfers and families flocking to the beaches, the dog walkers, and tourists and visitors from around the world.
All of these people pass by the Old College.
Some take an interest, stop, and try to find out what the purpose and history of this impressive building is. Others just pass like an old friend passes, with no time for a chat, just a wave or a small nod of the head.
Everyone in Aber knows of the Old College.
As well as being the University's spiritual and historic home, and creating a vista to challenge any of the world's universities; it also has tremendous potential to be useful.
However, not many of the people who pass by the Old College venture inside.
The plans for the Old College will address this, creating easy access to the magnificent spaces; facilitating the movement of people and goods around the building; and providing activities, events and services that will attract diverse audiences from students, the local community, tourists and visitors.
And ultimately, the plans will create an appealing and viable attraction, as well as a key University asset and a town centre facility for research and learning which reaches out to the local community and to the world.
As the project continues, I am enjoying the excitement amongst both academic and local communities, and the discussions within the team of experts who are working on the project - the architects, engineers, historic building experts, and business planning and heritage activity specialists.
Within this team of experts there is a clear focus on the opportunities to bring the University closer to the local community while setting the Old College as a symbol, a well-known historical image and as a home to higher education that is of global importance to the future.
But, these plans can only be put into action with the generosity of alumni and supporters of the University, alongside trusts and foundations. You can be part of the Appeal by donating here. Thank you.