Master’s Email – August 2017

Lord Chris Smith
This year, in a break from tradition, I joined our graduands on the walk to Senate House for General Admission on 28th June. It was a great pleasure to witness their excitement and pride in their achievement. General Admission is one of the most joyful days of the year as we send a new cohort of Pembroke students out into the wider world and I wish them, and all the graduate students who have graduated this past academic year, all the best for the future.

Academically, our undergraduates had another good year and the signs are that again, Pembroke was placed among the top four-performing colleges. History, Engineering, English and Astrophysics were just some of the subjects at which our students excelled in 2017. It is always rewarding to see students fulfil their potential. Congratulations too to Dan Tucker on his first year as Senior Tutor as well as to all the Directors of Studies, supervisors and tutors for playing their part in this.

This year we have said goodbye to four Fellows who contributed much to the College: Dr Alice Corr (Linguistics), Dr Warren Galloway (Chemistry), Dr Dave Huggins (Physics) and Dr Krzysztof Koziol (Materials Science). Special thanks go to Dr Galloway, who has not only been a fantastic teacher and Director of Studies, but also played a major role in the admissions process last year. Although he left at the end of Lent Term, he continued to do some of his teaching from Germany, to ensure continuity for his students. Pembroke wishes them all well with their future careers.

Three long-serving members of staff also recently retired, with over 60 years’ service between them: Alan Rogers (1969) and Tim Hardingham from the IT Office and my PA, Eileen Green, who worked for (or more accurately, organised) four Masters.

There are many student activities that take place across the year but none that brought the student body and the wider College community together more so than the effort they put into raising money for the Jo Cox PhD Studentship in Refugee and Migration Studies. For example:

  • Pembroke College Music Society, and our Director of Music, put on special weekly recitals;
  • The Boat Club raced against their namesakes from the “Other Place” in a charity ergathon and also wore special ribbons in Jo’s memory during the May Bumps;
  • The JP and GP put on a jumble sale, a charity auction and a sponsored bike ride;
  • The May Ball Committee solicited donations when selling tickets and handed out ribbons with the programme; and
  • The Library also got involved with a book sale.

Everything culminated in a “Great Get Together” tea party in the Old Library on 18th June. An extraordinary effort that means we can now invite applications for our first Jo Cox Scholar, to start next year.

On a different financial scale, I am delighted by the reaction from Pembroke Members so far to our The Time and The Place Campaign for the Mill Lane redevelopment and academic and student support.

The acquisition of the site itself will be in phases and I am pleased to say that we expect shortly to take possession of the first part of the site. We appointed our excellent architects, Haworth Tompkins, back in the autumn, and all the while they and we are working closely and positively with the planners.

This is a very exciting project, but even with the generous support that the Dolby family has given, the funding will take time to achieve. This is the most significant physical expansion to the College in its history and we will need every Pembroke member to be as generous as they can be to secure this moment.

While the College seems peaceful and quiet in these long July days of the Long Vacation, life continues apace. Our graduate students are still hard at work and our Fellows are busy undertaking research, and writing papers, dealing with administrative tasks and attending conferences.

For International Programmes it is the busiest time of the year as they welcome over 370 students for the Pembroke-King’s Programme and the other courses they run over the summer months.

The Maintenance Department takes the opportunity to renovate vacated rooms and facilities, while IT does much-needed work that cannot be done in term time. Our gardeners seem to be winning the battle against the chafer grubs which have posed such a threat to the College’s lawns this year.

Pembroke is the college it is because of the sense of community created by its students, Fellows, staff, alumni and friends. As both an alumnus and as Master I relish this and I very much look forward to welcoming our next generation of Pembroke students in October.

With very best wishes,

Chris Smith

(Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, Master)

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