Anniversary alumnus of the month
Over the course of 2015 we will be profiling alumni from each decade of Warwick's history. For January we are profiling someone from our first intake of students in 1965. Anthony Felix (BA Economics 1965-68) went on from Warwick to found a publishing company, create the world’s first public on-line interactive text information service and to be the first chairman of the North London Training & Enterprise Council.
He is now a self-employed business consultant advising several Israeli “start-up” companies developing medical devices. He provides mentoring and strategic advice, writing business plans and representing their technical and commercial interests in the UK.
Anthony is also one of our alumni ambassadors in Israel where he lives in Netanya with his wife, Daphne. They have two children and seven grandchildren.
Why did you pick Warwick?
When I was a sixth-former in Brighton I was caught up in the excitement of the opening of Sussex University – a new university on a new campus. Brighton became a different town. The influx of students brought great energy and vitality. I wanted nothing more than to be one of those students but I also knew that to leave home was an essential component of the student’s experience. So when my time came to choose a university, I looked for a “Sussex away from home”. Warwick fitted the bill perfectly!
It must be said that Warwick developed its own distinct characteristics and certainly was not a carbon copy of Sussex. There is no doubt in my mind that Warwick gave me everything I had hoped for and more.
Was it a risk attending a new university?
There was no risk, as far as I was concerned, going to a new university was a fantastic opportunity to be fully involved from the start. I knew that in the first year of a new university, freshers would take the lead. I was chairman of several clubs and societies in the first term of the University’s life.
What was your first day on campus like? What were your impressions?
Having been interviewed in a porta-cabin on a building site, it was a great surprise to see a completed Gibbet Hill campus. I experienced a variety of emotions - saying goodbye to my mother who had driven me to the university from Brighton was sad, the thrill of arriving at the beginning of a new life and a little fear of “the unknown”.
What did you imagine your time at University would be like?
I expected more intensive tuition, a bit like sixth-form on steroids.
How close was the reality to your imagination?
Very different. I had more unstructured time. The work expected of us could be done at any time of the day or night. The “timetable” had so many blanks.
What’s your favourite memory of Warwick?
The memory that is most vivid has to be the first day – the day it all began for me and for the University. I can still feel the emotion and the atmosphere in the lecture theatre when Jack Butterworth told us how he and the other founders of the University had looked forward to our arrival.
What do you regret?
Do you keep in touch with any friends from Warwick?
Life has taken me and my student contemporaries in different directions and so the great friendships of those three years did not survive the transition. There is only one friend, now in the USA, with whom I stayed in touch for many years. It is sad that it is so easy to drift apart but such is the consequence of new pressures, new relationships and different environments.
How did you imagine the future when you were at Warwick?
I had not formed a clear vision of the future – I took each day as it came and tried to make the best choices among the available ways forward.
How did Warwick influence your life?
Warwick gave me the opportunity to take responsibility, to lead and to create new organisations. I started a business within two years of leaving Warwick and built a successful publishing company. I established the North London Training & Enterprise Council and was the founding Chairman of the Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust.
I have Warwick to thank for helping to provide me with the necessary tools for what we would now call a “start-up”.
What do you think has been the most important invention of the last 50 years?
The power off facility on the iPhone
What do you think has been the most important cultural change of the last 50 years?
What’s the best book, film and album of the last 50 years?
- Book - The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
- Film – Dr Zhivago
- Album – Leonard Cohen – Live in London
If you could offer one piece of advice to current students what would it be?
Don’t hold back, don’t wait and see, go for it.