Speaking yesterday (Saturday 2nd July 2022), at the opening of the new Dyson STEAM Building and Gresham’s School Speech Day, Sir James Dyson offered some highly personal reflections for the class of 2022 saying, “this is not advice, it’s encouragement!
Speaking directly to the pupils, Sir James urged them to:
“Be different, embrace failure, discover your mojo, believe in your ideas, ignore the naysayers. Instead, through science engineering, the arts, ideas and ingenuity, shape the world in your image: for the better. My hope is that the Dyson STEAM building will nurture just these ideas. Never give up in your quest to see them through.”
Sir James later commented:
“Gresham’s pupils, by working and mixing in the same building, are already blurring the divide between disciplines in a most creative way. From robotic projects, to AI, to software, camera human recognition and structural design, they are carving out a rich future for themselves with advances in the most exciting technology space. The art being produced is ground-breaking and inspirational.”
The new Dyson STEAM Building was designed by architects WilkinsonEyre under the late Chris Wilkinson who had worked closely with Sir James, developing Dyson’s Malmesbury and Hullavington Campuses over the past twenty+ years. The Dyson STEAM Building was funded by an £18.75m donation from Sir James and Lady Deirdre Dyson and brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths in one space – to inspire future engineers.
The significant donation reflects the gratitude Sir James has for the school given the support it gave him whilst a pupil at the school when, in 1946, his father died of throat and lung cancer. Sir James has previously reflected that:
My brother was eleven, I was nine and we had just started at Gresham’s. In those days there was no life insurance so the Headmaster, Logie Bruce Lockhart, said that me and my brother could board here essentially free of charge. Without that my education here would not have been possible and the school brought me up. It is great to now be able to give something back to the school.
The building is dedicated to James’s father, Alec Dyson, who was a Classics Master at the School, and Sir James unveiled a plaque which reads: To my Father – wartime soldier and Gresham’s Teacher.