President’s Email to Members – July 2012

I am writing in place of the Master, who is on sabbatical leave until the start of the Michaelmas Term. The Easter Term has been and gone, and the summer vacation is now racing by – the College is not quiet and almost deserted, as you might expect, but is bustling with students taking our International Programme courses, currently mostly from the USA and Japan. The Senior Parlour is enlivened by visiting school-teachers; we host 2 or 3 of them at a time during the summer, allowing each one to spend a few weeks here pursuing some project related to the subjects they teach. In addition to international university-level students, we have recently hosted 70 year-12 students from 33 state schools and colleges across East Anglia, the East Midlands and London, who attended the 10th annual Pembroke and St. Catharine’s Year-12 Summer School.

The Easter Term brought us academic success, our examination performance being a little better than last year, and now putting us comfortably into the top 5 of the Colleges. We also hosted Hayne Leland, from the Universityof Californiaat Berkeley, who was the first Pembroke Visiting Professor of International Finance. Hayne is extremely well-known in the world of finance, and he gave a course of lectures in theJudgeBusinessSchool while he was here. Also during the Easter Term, a University committee, which had been looking into gender bias in exam results, reported that Pembroke was one of only five Colleges in which men and women seemed to be performing equally well.

We had a very successful June Event (that is, a less extravagant and more affordable version of a May Ball), which featured live alpacas (because the theme was El Dorado, and alpacas are also South American – that’s the best explanation I can offer), several excellent bands and singers, and a couple of scary fairground rides, among many other attractions. The May Bumps were a disappointment, most Pembroke boats being bumped at some point in the proceedings, but the PCBC remains vibrant. On the other hand the rugby first XV were promoted to the first division. The football team, having reached Cuppers semi-finals, were unfortunately beaten by Christ’s at that stage.

Some of our Fellows have had glory heaped upon them in the last couple of months: Ashok Venkitaraman (2007) has been appointed as the first Jubilee Professor of the Indian Academy of Sciences; Stephen O’Rahilly (2007) has received an Honorary Degree from the University of Dundee; and Simon Learmount (2005) has been awarded a Pilkington Prize, a Cambridge University award which recognizes excellence in teaching.

The Excellence in Perpetuity development campaign has now ended. As already mentioned in the Master’s last email, we comfortably exceeded the original £25 million target, but did not quite reach £30 million, as the Master had hoped – we were not far short, though, at a little over £29 million. Thank you all for this great achievement. Most of this has gone into the College’s endowment, which now stands at about £53 million.

More domestically, we have installed extensive photovoltaic panels on the roof ofFoundress Court, and an associated voltage optimizer. These have reduced our energy costs, and allow us to export electricity to the grid on occasions. Unfortunately our entry to the inter-collegiate ‘Green League Table’ had to be submitted before these innovations were in place, so we only managed to be placed second this year. We are currently making further improvements to the sports ground, and resurfacing the Avenue.

The College is about to launch a new website. It is due to go live on 7 August. In addition to being completely re-designed, it will make it easier for us to add video and audio content, and later this year we will add functionality to the Alumni and Development section, including the ability to book into events online and see who else has signed up to attend. Please let us have your views about it, tell us about any errors, and make suggestions for further improvement.

I am writing just as the Olympic Games are starting, so here goes with my own contribution to Olympo-mania. Julia Bleasdale (2000) has had a fantastic year; she has knocked 3 minutes off her personal best over 10,000 m, and will be competing in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m events. And Julian Samuelson (2010), who recently finished the Executive MBA course, is a member of the LOCOG Veterinary Services Team and has been in charge of preparing his veterinary practice’s role as a trauma centre for the Games.

Jan Maciejowski

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