Wendy Surridge, 1960-2012

August 30, 2012

A "fun-loving" university administrator who spearheaded the expansion of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has died.

Wendy Surridge was born in Beckenham, Kent on 28 July 1960 and educated at the Mary Datchelor Girls' School in South London. She went on to study for a degree in geography at the University of Reading and took her first job as an assistant/deputy section head at Surrey County Council (1982-86), although she would later pursue her passion for the history of the UK's capital city through an MA in London studies at Birkbeck, University of London (1988).

In the meantime, Ms Surridge moved from local government to higher education, working at Imperial College London as an assistant planning officer (1982-86) and then as a planning officer (1988-92). She spent her last year on secondment to the LSHTM. She joined the school formally as deputy secretary in 1992 before being appointed secretary and registrar in 1996 - a position she held until ill health forced her to take early retirement in March this year.

The period was one of significant expansion of the school to allow it to take on extra staff and to provide more up-to-date facilities. As the senior administrator, Ms Surridge was largely responsible for driving through the construction of the North and South Courtyard buildings at the Keppel Street headquarters, as well as the purchase and conversion of new property on Tavistock Place.

She personally went to greet new students on the first Monday of each academic year and even led an annual walk around central London the day before, where her deep knowledge of local history came to the fore.

Beyond the confines of the school itself, Ms Surridge played a prominent role within the University of London's Bloomsbury Colleges group and also served as chair of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium from 2008 to 2011.

Brian Furner, former librarian and director of information services at the LSHTM, remembered Ms Surridge as "a fun-loving woman, keen on dining out and fine wines, who would sometimes say something indiscreet, and then chuckle or put her hand in front of her mouth".

As the school's senior administrator, Mr Furner continued, Ms Surridge worked very effectively "in creative tension with the academic community, seeing it as her responsibility to the institution to help them achieve goals within the framework imposed by the external world, spelling out the implications of what was being proposed".

Wendy Surridge died of cancer on 1 July and is survived by her husband Peter.


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