Tuesday 28 September 2021
Remembrance Service at LSE
We are holding a remembrance service at LSE on Tuesday 28 September 2021 to celebrate Mike’s life. To find out more about the service and timings, please view this Google form and RSVP by 5pm on Wednesday 15 September 2021. The service will be streamed online for those unable to attend in person.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our dear friend and colleague Mike Oliver.
Mike joined LSE in 1986 as the first external appointee to the newly created Research and Consultancy Office. He saw the Division change name several times and grow from just two members of staff sharing a single desk and telephone to the team it is today. Over the years he built up an in-depth understanding of how LSE works and an encyclopaedic knowledge of sponsors and how best to attract their attention. He supported thousands of research funding applications and generations of researchers with professionalism, efficiency and a willingness to help. In 2015 he was delighted to be presented with the inaugural Director’s Award at the Values in Practice Awards for the “key role he played in launching so many individual and collective achievements”.
Working at LSE was a huge part of his life and, in what should have been his retirement years, he chose instead to continue working full time in a role he loved. He said he could not think of a career that he would have enjoyed as much.
His kindness, sense of humour and love of good conversation over a pint gained him many friends across the whole of LSE and tributes have been flooding in from colleagues old and new. We are privileged to have known him and will miss him deeply.
Working with Mike on a grant application was always a reminder of what makes LSE a wonderful community to be a member of. As well as being incredibly quick to respond to questions and providing helpful and knowledgeable answers, he was cheerful and good-natured. Like so many, I will miss being able to call on him for help. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
I’m very sorry to hear the sad news. Mike was always helpful and kind. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
Mike solved problems. He did this in a completely unfussy way, but with clarity and authority. He did this for me as recently as last month. I am really sorry to hear of this news and I will greatly miss his good humoured practicality.
My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.
Dearest Mikey. You were there throughout my whole 28 years at LSE and I will miss you very much. Rest peacefully. xx
What can I say. Mike was quite literally one of the nicest blokes you could ever hope to meet. I still remember with great fondness our early (ish) morning, bi weekly outdoor swim sessions at the Oasis on Drury Lane followed by coffee, toast and celeb spotting in Endell St whilst we put the world (and LSE) to rights. He was the quintessential “School man” and is greatly missed.
Mike was a kind man with a great sense of humor. He helped me navigate the most complex grant applications with calm and infinite patience. It’s people like Mike that make the LSE a special place one day at the time. He’ll be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
I’m very sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. I recently worked with Mike on my ESRC postdoctoral application- he was very patient with my incessant questions and fears, and I especially appreciated his kindness to a ‘scared of making mistakes’ early career researcher working on the infamous Je-S for the first time. My thoughts are with his family and friends, and with colleagues in the Research Division who will, no doubt, miss him sorely.
As an incredibly knowledgeable and responsive point of contact in the research division, Mike Oliver was much admired and will be sorely missed by all of us at the Department of Gender Studies. When we heard the news and expressed our sadness to one another, one colleague commented that he was the person you could count on when you had a problem or when things went wrong. He will be fondly remembered for the good humour, patience and care he showed to all of us who had the privilege of working with him.
Condolences to his family and friends.
Mike helped with my very first grant application back in 1997 and was always there to answer one’s questions or ask questions on one’s behalf. More recently, he worked alongside my colleagues at the PhD Academy, mastering the mysteries of Je-S and more. He was always kind and efficient, two qualities that don’t always go together. Mike will be missed by everyone who ever worked with him.
I always appreciated working with Mike on a grant application – his unerring ability to spot my mistakes and solve them with quiet authority and good humour made it a pleasure to work with him. He will be missed. My condolences to his friends and family.
Mike, I was so fond of you. You helped me with my very first grant application, when I felt nervous and tentative, and you had been helping me with my most recent one, when you respectfully pointed out a few key – and dumb – mistakes I was making. So sorry we won’t be able to meet any more. Fondest condolences to your family.
Mike was a trusted guide through the maze of grant applications. He always had the right answer at his fingertips and it was a pleasure to work with him. My condolences to his loved ones.
I am so sad to hear this news, and send my condolences to Mike’s family and friends. I am immensely grateful for Mike’s support and advice on a number of grant applications – he went above and beyond, and will be sorely missed.
It is such sad news to hear of the passing of Mike.
His extraordinary knowledge of research and grant processes, quick responses and good nature made him a gem of a colleague.
My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones
I am in shock. It was such a pleasure to work with you on grant applications. You were always so helpful and generous of your time, your advice.
You will be greatly missed.
All my deepest condolences to your loved ones.
In the stormy seas of budget complexities and grant-speak, Mike was a rock. He helped me for numerous grant applications, and took care of things with no fuss and calm confidence, letting me get on with the academic parts. Beyond that he was a pleasure to deal with and just all around a model colleague.
Rest in peace Mike, you will be sorely missed.
Mike’s passing was, and is, a huge shock. I interviewed him in ’86 to be the second member of what was then a research grants management adjunct to the Accounts Department, now Finance Division. We grew the team quickly as funded research took off, and Mike played an integral role in our development as we morphed into a separate unit. I am proud and privileged to have been his friend and colleague for well over three decades, and will miss him greatly. So many stories…..We had recently discussed plans to meet up soon for a pint, as we had continued to do regularly following my early retirement- it’s hard to believe this is now impossible. I am struck by the realisation that Mike, who was fond of his Divisional colleagues, many of whom he’d worked alongside for years, had not been able to see most of them in person for so long. How very sad. My thoughts are with everyone who knew him, professionally or otherwise. He is a great loss to the RD and the School.
When I arrived at the School in 1995 Mike Oliver was one of the first people outside my department I got to know. He was incredibly helpful: not just in helping with a couple of grant applications but in a wider sense of helping me understand how LSE worked – its culture even as recently as 1955 was still that of a village: everyone knew who did what and how the instituion worked but did not feel the need to write it down! Mike was a great guide. He was also one of those administrators who was unfailingly helpful. Academics felt he was one their side and was trying to make their lives easier, help them make systems work in their favour not set obstacles in the way. He will be very much missed.
Very sad to hear of Mike’s passing. He was a great support, navigating me through the complexities of grant applications with efficiency, patience, and kindness extended generously and beyond the call of duty. People like Mike are what make institutions like LSE work. My deepest condolences to his family, I hope it is some comfort to know how much love and respect he had from so many friends and colleagues. He will be very much missed.
Mike was a great colleague who was very supportive, understand need of a research centre and work with you. LSE Health won each grant application I worked with Mike for 14 years. Mike could have written a very interesting play
using our own personalities and events during his time at LSE. I have had several drinks in George Public House on Friday evenings and he always waited in the 176 bus stop until I get the bus. He was never to shy to tell me to take an aspirin when I push my luck! Mike is one of a kind. He is a great lost to us colleagues and LSE.
Mike represted the professionalism, efficiency and willingness to help in the highest order. He will be thoroughly missed.
Mikey, you interviewed me for my job in Research and championed me for the role, helped make the scary move down the corridor from Accounts to Research less scary, you were at my engagement and my wedding and we have shared so many experiences at LSE over these many, many years. I will miss you dreadfully. Rest in peace. xxx
I never met anyone with a bad word to say about Mike. He was incredibly loyal and conscientious and reliable, as a colleague and as a friend to go for a drink with. LSE really won’t be the same.
I was shocked to hear the news – we have just been recently in touch. Over the past couple of years, you have been an invaluable help and a lovely person to work with. You will be missed. Thank you for everything,
I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. He was the most helpful and professional of navigators through various grant application procedures. Always patient in explaining the fine detail of grant finances, his grasp of all the rules across numerous funders was astonishing. However, I think above all I will miss his friendly, modest demeanour – he embodied collegiality, the very best of LSE. My deepest condolences to family and friends.
From his desk in the Research Office, Mike was a valued friend, colleague and supporter from the start of my career until the end. His expert navigation of the intricacies of funding research in unusual countries, contexts and currencies was invaluable. No challenge was too big or too difficult for him. He was always immensely generous in helping to rush complicated grant applications through on tight deadlines. His sense of humour and warmth brightened many a dull working day, I have many happy memories of joint endeavours. A privilege to have worked with him.
Mike’s sudden passing is very hard to come to terms with. A very supportive colleague, respectful and caring, with a ginormous heart. I learned a great deal working with him, and had a great deal more to learn. You left us too soon, Mikey. You will be greatly missed.
Mike’s passing is hard to come to terms with. A very supportive, caring and respectful colleague, with a ginormous heart. I learned so much working with him, and had a great deal more to learn. You left us way to soon, Mikey. You will be greatly missed.
I can’t find the words to express my thoughts. I think I probably assumed a visit to R&I offices would always find you there… You supported me with so many of our proposals and contracts across PSSRU/CPEC and SSCR (feels like hundreds over the last 19 years) and made it seem easy – but probably had moments of wishing we would slow down and give you some peace…. You were always kind, professional and empathetic in your approach, and highly respected. You had an institutional memory we should have listened more to. You will be missed. My condolences to your family, friends and colleagues.
Mike, I will remember you with enormous gratitude: encouraging and patient, immensely knowledgeable and professional, always with a good humour and a great smile. You simplified cumbersome processes and made a huge difference to me and to the people that now work in my team. I can’t imagine how many more people you have generously helped. You will be thoroughly missed. Rest in peace.
My deepest condolences to your family and friends.
Mike, you were quietly wonderful. A great colleague, quick to support and reassure you took an interest in the people around you, whilst often quietly working hard on the latest deadline or new line of interest for funding. I enjoyed sharing a pint on many occasion celebrating the comings and goings of colleagues or just to wind down on a Friday. I wish there had been more. Thank you for all your support through my many roles at LSE, you are missed.
Mike, you have provided time and again those desperately search after figures to cost projects, and helped with a steady hand on numerous grant proposals over the years, and always with swift responses and the eye on the deadlines. You were a really great person to have known in the Finance division, you’ll be surely missed. I keep the memory of a marvellously supportive colleague and cherish the last drink we shared in the King George sometime in early summer 2020. Rest in Peace.
Such a dear gentle man and totally committed to the School. So very sad to hear he has died. A great loss to his colleagues, friends and LSE.
Dearest Mike, throughout my years as centre manager of CATS you were always such a calm and dependable presence when we were fretting about grant deadlines. And as a research division colleague I will really miss your humour and the many tales you had to tell of life at LSE.
Rest in peace x
Incredibly sad to hear about Mike – great at grant applications but, more importantly, a really nice guy. A complex recent grant would have been near impossible without him. A lovely person who will be sadly missed. Neil
Very sad to hear about Mike´s passing. He was wonderful, kind and quietly humorous special man who welcomed me in the mid 90s. He was always available for a chat, gave solid no-nonsense advice to young people who were, like him, very committed to LSE but sometimes benefited from avuncular input over a pint. Increasingly, very few things or people in life are truly reliable and dependable, and Mike was both of those, seemingly prosaic words but which belie enormous strength and assurance. Let’s hope he’s up there completing a celestial research grant to further LSE´s mission, to which he dedicated much of his life. Rest in Peace Mikey.
Mike was just a rock, every time we hit a problem or had a question he knew the answer. And as others have said, he was calm and kind. Not easy to maintain with hare-brained academics spouting nonsense – I speak for myself there. It’s really hard to imagine him gone.
Mike’s calm and reassuring influence has been part of my existence from the first ever experience with research grants in 1996 to only a few weeks ago when we discussed how we should venture out to watch Fulham at Craven Cottage again as soon as possible. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
When I first joined LSE, I was warned about Mike’s impatience with ‘time-wasters’. In my three years working with him, I never once saw him lose his temper. What I saw was an absolute cheeky imp of a man, who enjoyed the company of others.
He loved it when others had fun in the office because he loved to join in. I was privy to his ‘uncle jokes’, his dancing skills, his rapping skills, his hilarious (but undoubtedly dubious) talents as a mime artist and my favourite, his story-telling skills.
Mikey-Mike, you had a big heart, a caring nature and kind, kind soul. The world is better for having had you in it but poorer, now, for losing you. I miss you.
Shocked and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. He helped me on so many grants without once showing any indication that my questions were stupid (I am sure many were). a great loss to the LSE. My condolences to your family.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of a very kind, gentle, and witty friend of many years.
Mike was a great colleague and will be sorely missed. He showed kindness and patience even when dealing with very complex and often last-minute grant applications. Mike was always there to offer advice and answer any questions (of which in my first year of LSE there were a lot!). My thoughts are with his friends and family.
I’m very sorry to hear this news. Over the years that I have been at the LSE, I will always remember Mike as one of the most helpful and knowledgeable Research Officers. At the stressful time of applying for a grant, Mike’s support was always invaluable.
I am shocked and very sad to hear of Mike’s passing. Mike was always a kind, supportive and helpful colleague, he was very welcoming when I started at LSE. Mike was always keen to help, and was very patient. He will be dearly missed. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
In addition to being exceptionally efficient and helpful in putting together grant applications, Mike was always friendly and patient in doing so. My thoughts are with all of Mike’s friends and family and colleagues, at LSE and beyond. What sad news this is.
I was very sad to hear the news about Mike’s passing. He was always patient, helpful, and generous with both his time and his encyclopaedic knowledge of grants. He was incredibly accommodating and supportive, whether it was working on a longstanding grant application or responding to a very last minute budget question 12 minutes before a deadline. I hope he knew just how much we all counted on his wisdom and his kindness. Thank you for all your help Mike.
Mike made a huge difference in all my research projects since I joined the LSE. He was extremely efficient, fast and determined to get things done, regardless of how intractable the international contracts and agreements I requested support for really were. He made running grants through the LSE efficient and desirable, which brought enormous benefits to researchers individually but also to the institution as a whole. My deepest condolences to all his family and friends – his kindness and patience will be sorely missed. Sandra
Mike helped me with the first grant I worked on at LSE. He was kind and patient in all things. I am very sorry to hear of his passing – a loss to LSE. My thoughts are with his family at this time.
Mike worked with our Centre for many, many years, always with great humour as we stretched his legendary patience to the limit. I’ll miss you, Mike. My thoughts are with your friends and family.
I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Oliver. Like so many others, I benefited enormously from his vast knowledge of the LSE and the minutiae of different grant-awarding organisations. Mike was a very patient, kind and generous person who certainly made a difference to my experience of the LSE. A huge loss!
So shocked by this news. Mike was a close colleague while I was at GRI, helping us with a never ending list of grant applications. As others have said he never complained, and was very patient with, what must have been, some very frustrating systems, funding calls and possibly colleagues! It was a pleasure to work with him and also have him as a neighbour in the Towers. My thoughts are with his friends and family and also with colleagues in the Research Division. I do hope there will be an opportunity to celebrate Mike’s life once we are all back on campus, along with other colleagues who we have lost during this very strange time.
I was in touch with Mike very recently about a complicated last minute grant application. He was so efficient, patient and helpful. I was shocked to hear about his passing. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
Mike was one of the School’s most familiar faces, and its hard to believe he is no longer with us. More than that, he was always ready to demystify the complexities of funding applications in the most helpful way possible. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
It was with shock and great sadness that I heard the news of Mike’s passing. Mike was so much part of the School and his contribution to the work of all of us academics applying for grants was immense. His knowledge, reliability and promptness were legendary. He knew every aspect of the process and was always there for us. It is very hard to think that after all this time away from the campus we will eventually go back and he will not be there, with his calm, helpful, collegial presence. I will miss him very much.
My sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in Research Division. RIP Michael.
Like many others, I feel privileged to have known Mike and to have worked with him during my time in Research. No question too stupid (or so he kindly said!), he always made time to help and was always willing to share the vast amount of knowledge and experience that he had accumulated over his years at LSE.
He seemed to make friends wherever he went, and he took a genuine interest in people. I’ll miss his stories from his travels, and his cheeky grin, and am very sad that there will be no more opportunities for a Friday night drink at the Stars after work. The School will definitely not be the same without him, and everyone who knew him will miss him greatly.
I was so sorry to learn that Mike Oliver has died. Mike was a wonderful collaborator when Mick Cox, Sveta Rajak, and I first set up the Cold War Studies Centre at LSE (and later LSE IDEAS). He always went out of his way to be helpful, and set an example of what research administrators can do to help academic institutions thrive.
Mike was one of the people who make LSE such a great place. Mike was extremely knowledgeable and committed to driving things forward. It was a pleasure to work with him. We worked on a successful grant application together in the weeks before his passing. The final document that Mike prepared for the grant was submitted at 11:34 on the recent May Bank Holiday Monday. I hope the research will do justice to all the work that Mike has put into the grant.
RIP Mikey: a much loved colleague.
Say not in grief ‘he is no more’, but live in thankfulness that he was.
Mike Oliver was a wonderful support to LSE Housing and Communities. So many of our research contracts are complicated, and required his special talent and dedication to find solutions. We will miss him greatly and wish he knew how much we appreciate him.
I worked with Michael several times on grant applications over the past 30 years and have found him extremely knowledgeable, helpful and supportive. I am very sorry to hear of his sudden passing and want to send my condolences to his family. Goodbye Mike.
Though I never met Mike in person, we exchanged many emails over the years and I was saddened and shocked by this news. Mike always provided such clear, accurate and prompt advice. A great loss to LSE. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Mike was the most fantastically dedicated colleague who would always come with you to explore an idea to the full. I can also never see a plastic ruler without thinking of him methodically going through a budget with one to hand. What sad news to see.
It so moving to see Mike’s kindness and role in advancing the entire LSE family reflected on this page. Talk about making a difference. When I first met him in 2003 he was sitting at a desk with just a pad, a calculator and salary scales. I come away from one meeting much better informed and having met someone who also hailed from Ilford (but if I remember right via an impressive south seas route) to get to know and enjoy the company of.
I never met Mike but I feel it is my loss not to have. Mike was a friend of my daughter Samantha. A true friend. She told me on meny occasions of Mike popping into the Seven stars pub for a pint and it was always a better day for seeing him and his company. He was a person who obviously took time to listen to people because at Easter instead of a Easter egg he’d have a orange chocolate for her, because he knew her. Recently, Samantha had the pleasure of Mike’s company for dinner at her apartment and its a day she’ll treasure. From hearing about Mike from Samantha wouldn’t the world be a better place for more of him. RIP Mike.
So sad to hear of Mike’s passing. Losing a friend and colleague who is clear so dear to the school is hard to bear. My condolences to colleagues, friends and family.
I only recently had the privilege of interacting with Mike (even though both of us have been at the school for several decades), regarding some external funding for PhD students, but I found him to be responsive, knowledgeable, and most of all endlessly helpful and kind.
I can see from the other comments how much Mike meant to those he knew and worked with and even though my own contact with him was brief, I can’t help but echo those sentiments.
Rest in peace Mike
Mike was wonderful member of R&I and all it’s previous incarnations back to his first day at LSE in the newly formed team. He held knowledge about everything grants and contracts related, as well as being able to recite a who’s who of academic and professional services colleagues, many of whom he was personally close to thanks to his kind nature. Mike provided me with excellent counsel and guidance during my year at the School and I am sad not to be able to spend many more years with him in the team. You will be greatly missed by all.
I feel blessed to have sat opposite Mike for a couple of years during my time at the LSE. He mentored me (as I’m sure he did so many other people) through the world of pre and post award research grants. He never made me feel draft for asking a silly question, but could always be relied upon to scrape you out of a blunder. He was a true gentleman – charismatic but gentle. He was kind and supportive to everyone he met. And he made me laugh – a lot! I will miss his smile and his heart of gold. He was truly one of a kind and the world seems a bit less bright now he’s gone. Rest in peace Mike.
Outside of folk in my Department, Mike was pretty much the first person I met at LSE. Jovial and down to earth, he helped my in myriad ways, navigating the School as much as anything to do with research funding. More recently when research funding brought us together much less frequently, meeting up in the George became a staple. I was hugely fond of Mike. A thoroughly decent man, a funny and kind man, and someone who took things that mattered seriously enough but never too seriously. I’ll be raising a pint glass (or two) in the George just as soon as I’m able.
Mike supported with my very first grant application at the start of my academic career. He was patient and attentive, extremely knowledgeable and super professional. He was one of the first LSE people I worked with outside my department and I will always remember his kindness and support. My deep condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
I remember working with Michael on grant applications, oh so many years ago, when I first joined the School. He was great to work with and, quite simply, a nice person! It’s sad when such an icon in the School passes. My thoughts are with his family.
Mike was such a nice patient and supportive person. I worked with him closely on my first big grant application and he was wonderfully helpful. I remember sitting next to him on a number of occasions trying to understand as he navigated byzantine administrative grant systems. My condolences to his friends and family.
So very sad to hear. Mike, the George IV won’t be the same without you. My condolences to colleagues, friends and family.
I was seconded to the Research Division for about a year in 2007. I got to know Mike well in that year and I have to say he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, as well as being incredibly helpful and having a wonderful sense of humour. Rest in peace Mike
I am so sad to hear this. Mike looked out for me when I was a new starter at LSE, then in the Research division, many years ago. He was always willing to calmly and patiently share his knowledge. His unwavering dedication to LSE was inspirational. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
The best of colleagues: pleasant, informed, supremely helpful and thoroughly professional – hugely knowledgeable about the workings of grant-awarding bodies. With Mike’s help, ‘negotiating’ ESRC applications was almost painless. Were that there were more like him. He will be missed as a colleague and friend. The School owes him a massive debt of gratitude.
Mike was kind, available, competent, always able to find solutions to problems and, equally important, to offer a smile. An LSE true star, will be sorely missed. RIP.
Such sad news. As others have already said, Mike knew his stuff and was always there to help and to do so competently. The LSE will miss him for that. And to think that we will never again say ‘Hey Mike, How are things?’ in the George does not make it any easier.
There is undoubtedly many who wish they had the chance for one more pint with Mike. Mike was one of those people who made time for their friends, the most wonderful of gifts he had given to so many at LSE. I will always be grateful for the years I spent in Research Division working with Mike, and I will remember him for the kind LSE legend that he was. Rest in peace Mike.
So sad. Mike was a lovely guy. Always extremely helpful. Mike helped me enormously when I first moved to the LSE many years ago now, to navigate the movement of research funds from a prior institution, for which I will always be grateful. It was a great start, and he was always approachable and knowledgeable from that time onwards. Un-rushed by deadlines! He will be missed.
Mike always made it seem as if mine was the only query, the only grant application, he was dealing with – though he must often have been bombarded with requests from all sides. He was exceptionally patient and didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked the same question for the umpteenth time, having forgotten his previous perfectly good answer. I relied on him absolutely.
My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
I came to know Mike a few weeks after I had joined LSE – he fixed in a couple of days a problem that would have taken weeks if not months elsewhere… After that, every time he had to deal with one of my grant applications, I experienced the same level of efficiency and professionalism. He was also always able to bring calm and wisdom when we didn’t have much. He will be sorely missed, and my thoughts are with his family and friends.
A lovely man, always helpful, always at the end of the phone when you needed him, always knew his stuff. Thanks for everything, Mike!
I would simply echo all that has been said above and amplify if by saying that Mike cared about his LSE academic colleagues and the work they wanted to do. He cared, selflessly, because that was the person he was. He was also was extremely pragmatic — finding the most apt solution to tricky (bureaucratic) issues, in seemingly no time at all. Irreplaceable!
I would like to say how deeply shocked and sad all the team at the George pub are at this terrible news. Mike was always a joy to serve a Guinness to . It really brightened my night up when Mike came into the pub. He was always so kind to me .I will really miss him a lot. We had some lovely chats over the years. Rest in peace.
I can only echo what others have said: Mike was always polite, efficient, accommodating, cheerful and (essential in his role) completely unflappable in the face of looming deadlines, even when others of us were panicking. Thank you, Mike, for all your calm, skilled, professional help to me and my colleagues over many years. My condolences to friends, family and colleagues
Everyone else has already said what I would have said as well. Mike was a great colleague who must have helped more people sort out more knotty problems over more years than almost anyone else has ever done in the LSE, and he will be greatly missed.
My deepest condoleances to the family and friends of Mike. He was really great. So professional and helpful. He really cared about his colleagues. His was an impressive contribution to the LSE. I am very sorry and thankful to him.
What very, very sad news. Mike represented LSE at its best. He was informed and generous with his knowledge, kind and patient, and nothing seemed too much bother for him. One of my best LSE memories is driving with him through London’s rush hour to submit a Nuffield application within a second of closing time. He dealt with the traffic warden whilst I rushed in with the application. And we were got the funding – Thanks, Mike!
I was so deeply sad when I heard the news of Mike’s passing. I had known Mike since my first day working for LSE nearly 26 years ago – he was a kind and generous person, always willing to help. In the early days, I joined the Oasis outdoor swimming club along with Neil G. Mike was always willing to go the extra mile, his love for a pint in an LSE pub is part of LSE’s history.. Mike will be sorely missed by the LSE community. Rest in peace.
Much has been well said by others. Mike Oliver was a consummate professional. It was such an honour to be guided by him and a pleasure to be in his gentle company.
From the very beginning in 2001 Mike supported me in all my grant applications for the Human Rights Futures Project based at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. The project could not have flourished, or even survived, without him. He was always approachable, patient and supportive and never made me feel that any question was too large or too small. With Mike advising you, it felt like nothing could go awry.
Whilst I only knew Mike for a few years, it was always a pleasure to serve him his regular Guinness in the George Pub. His warmth, wit and great advice was a constant throughout my time at LSE and the George. Myself and other students, colleagues, and drinkers at the pub will miss him dearly. We will have one for you!
Such sad news. Mike was a true gentleman, kind and generous with his time and support and always happy to help. He will be missed by us all.
I was really shocked to hear of Mike’s passing. He worked on the first grant application that I submitted at LSE, calmly imparting straightforward advice to a nervous new member of staff, and he worked on a recent proposal, still giving clear, unfussy, guidance to a now much older but seemingly no wiser member of staff. Thank you Mike.
As colleagues have mentioned, Mike had a wonderful way of calmly helping you through grant applications and, indeed, of encouraging you to think about submitting elsewhere if and when your application failed. What I also appreciated about Mike was that he would still remember you and have time for a quick chat long afterwards. Above all, he was a proper English gentleman.
So very shocked and sad. I Joined the LSE in 1990 and had much dealings with Mike in Connaught House. So friendly and always had a joke to make us all laugh. Look back on those years with great memories to always cherish. Was always so calm and collected full of advise. Never forget you Mike and this is so very sad.
There was no problem that Mike could not solve, and his support in the often protracted process of getting a grant application in was invaluable. He was great colleague and a wonderful man. He will be sorely missed.
R.I.P. dear Mike
Our paths crossed, such happy days but we chose to go our separate ways.
Fondest memories of a beautiful soul, a gentleman.
Mike helped me with great patience and kindness with several grant applications at the LSE. It is with great sadness and sorrow that I heard of his passing… My thoughts are with his family.
Thank you for everything Mike. You shared your knowledge, support, experience and humour with abundance and I will miss you very much.
Our daily farewell from the office seems fitting here one last time: Mikey, It’s been an honour and a pleasure.
Such sad news. He always had time for a nice word and a cheer. Always ready to explain. You will be so missed. My thoughts with family and friends and colleagues who he treated as family.
Mike Oliver Remembered
Mike and I met when we worked in the Home Office. That was over 40 years and for at least the last 35 we were best friends and drinking buddies. We met up every weekend, lockdowns permitting. We must have undertaken hundreds of country walks and, with Mick and latterly Simon, birdwatching trips, although I suspect Mike saw these as country walks with interruptions. We also had a few longer adventures both in the UK and abroad. It will come as little surprise that such days out invariably ended with a pint or two in a convivial hostelry!
I don’t know whether it was Mike growing up for a time in Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands – he flew to school by Dakota DC3 (youngsters, that’s a 1930’s propeller airplane) – or whether it was his schooling at the Coleraine Inst and Bancroft’s but in any event Mike possessed an old-fashioned charm and courtesy. He would have been at home in an earlier, simpler time with
little or no technology. Mike liked people and people liked him. Although an intensely private person, he could engage anyone in easy and interesting conversation. He disliked confrontation and his usual response to disagreement with what someone had said was to keep his own counsel. He almost never had a bad word to say about anyone. His occasional grumpiness was invariably short-lived and without rankle.
We shared a common interest in books and travel. We often swapped and discussed books, I understand that a good proportion of them ended up in his office “library” for others to enjoy. Mike enjoyed reading about a wide-ranging number of subjects but his passion was British history with perhaps C J Sansom’s Shardlake series being his favourite. Between us we had visited dozens of countries and we enjoyed discussing our travels. Mike had an encyclopaedic knowledge of London. He would have been disappointed by the cancellation of today’s Trooping of the Colour. For many years he would go to the Mall to see it (notwithstanding being run over and hospitalised on the way one year). Unsurprisingly, Mike was delighted when I managed to get tickets one year so we could watch the Trooping from the grandstand. Thereafter he use to watch it on television as he said one got a better view and he could no longer stand the crowds.
Mike had no hobbies or other interests speak of. Despite working for an organisation with political science in its title, he had little time for politics and less for politicians. The exception was he was firmly against Brexit because he favoured the free movement of people. He had no time for religion outside the odd history on popes and how they are elected. He disliked technology of all shades and it could be painful to watch him with a mobile telephone and frightening to be with him when he was driving a car. Mike valued politeness but was perplexed by political correctness; however being woke, the cancel culture, and the like hadn’t quite reached him yet. I once heard someone call Mike “an old-fashioned darling” he smiled and nodded in agreement. To sum up, he liked beer, pubs and good conversation together with reading, travel and not least his job.
I needn’t say anything about his time at the LSE given the other comments here (l was one of his references on joining the LSE). However, I will share that Mike had a particular appreciation for the School Library, not due to his love of books but because its lavatories were conveniently placed between his favourite pub and the bus stop home,
His favourite pub and spiritual home was, of course, The Seven Stars, Holborn. Indeed, given the amount of time he spent there I’m sure there are some who probably thought it was his actual home. For Roxy, the landlady, Mike was more than just her best customer and for second-in-command Sam (Samantha) Mike was simply part of her family. Mike thought the world of Sam, and was over the moon recently to visit her for a meal in her new flat. During lockdown when the Stars was denied to him, Mike became the best customer of landlord Ben in The Prince of Wales Putney. We met there on his last Saturday when he was eagerly looking forward to the Stars reopening. Sadly, I was the last person to see him alive. At least Mike was on top form enjoying a pint and a chat to the end.
There are hundreds of stories about Mike I could share but space here doesn’t permit, however if you were to catch me down the Stars sometime …
Mike would hate the fuss we are making over his passing. He is sadly missed and remembered with respect and fondness by many.
Mike was an absolute delight to work with. Always very friendly and kind. I remember when I first starting working at the LSE and receiving emails from him thinking, who is this person who writes so nicely to me? Always charming, Lovely and fun. Our friendly morning chats in the kitchen use to brighten up my day. I always make sure I re-fill up the kettle after I’ve used up all the water now, thanks to Mike haha. Always in my thoughts! I will miss you!
I was very shocked to hear the sad news! I have known Mike since 1987 when I started working in the then new Research Office. Mike was a very easy person to work with and was always helpful. He will be greatly missed by all his colleagues.
So sad you are leaving us. This is the first time ever we could not count on you; your kindness and wisdom we will sorely miss. The LSE Old Guard loses one of its good members. Thank you for your always positive, smart and friendly support all these years.
My condolences to your loved ones and friends.
Mike was an absolute pro. He knew what we needed to write on forms to get the grants, and how much was plausible to ask for. Never too much, never too little. A chunk of my research would not have happened without Mike. Such a loss.
I met Mike, who was then more commonly known as Mick, on the 4th December 1974 when we both joined the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Department and soon became best friends. He and I would watch Chelsea play every home and many away games.
He joined the Playboy Club in Park lane, Mayfair and we would regularly have a meal and some beers before or after a Chelsea match. We even tried our luck a few times in the Playboy Club casino but neither of us were any good at gambling so we always lost.
Mick joined my football club as our official “Sponge Man”, since his soccer skills left much to be desired. However, the thought of Mick treating us with his cold wet sponge got most of us back on our feet before he got anywhere near us.
In 1977, we had a five week adventure on the west coast of Canada and the USA where he did his very best to kill us by crashing our hired “muscle” car into a mountain at 80 mph but still we remained the best of friends, although, I remember I wasn’t too happy at the time.
In 1978, somewhat embarrassingly, he changed roles in the Home Office on the same day as I did when we joined the Home Office, Internal Audit Department (I believe they mistakenly thought we were “an item”) where he found a lot of new friends and I found my wife Frieda. Marriage and a change of job meant that I saw nothing of Mick thereafter, although we spoke on the phone and emailed each other occasionally when he was repeatedly invited to our home to stay both in Merseyside and now Hampshire but, disappointingly, he never took us up on the offer.
The news of Mick’s passing from a mutual friend, was an enormous shock and, despite the long absence brought a tear to my eye and recollection of some wonderful memories of a very good friend.
My dear cousin Michael, it’s wonderful to know how much you were loved and appreciated in your life. How proud my family are of you. Rest in Peace and be happy that you enriched the lives of others.
I started work in RD as a temporary receptionist in 2008 and Mike right away made me feel welcome. I remember him and Rocky showing me the elevator game behind the filing cabinets on my first Friday afternoon and I thought what excellent people the Department employed. He was always very patient with me and never told me off he just said “we all make mistakes Benno”. He was very good at explaining the most complicated things whether work related or not. He once explained to me how all the football league/divisions worked and I actually understood it. God bless you Mike. RIP.