Pembroke College elects new Master

by Becky Coombs

Lord Chris SmithPembroke College is delighted to announce the election of Lord Smith of Finsbury as its fifty-fourth Master. He will be formally admitted to the Mastership at the beginning of October 2015 following the retirement in the summer of Sir Richard Dearlove, who has been Master since 2004.

Chris Smith, an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke since 2004, took a double first in English at Pembroke and was President of the Union Society. His PhD was devoted to the idea of solitude in Romantic poetry, with reference to Wordsworth and Coleridge. After a year at Harvard as a Kennedy Scholar he worked in housing in the London Borough of Islington, and was Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury from 1983 to 2005. As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from 1997 to 2001 Chris Smith was responsible for the reintroduction of free admission to Britain’s museums and galleries. In 2005 he was created a life peer and admitted to the House of Lords, where he sits as an independent peer. He was founding Director of the Clore Leadership Programme from 2003 to 2008, served as Chairman of the Environment Agency between July 2008 and September 2014, and has been the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority since July 2007. Among his other contributions to public life he is Chairman of the Wordsworth Trust and Chairman of the Art Fund. He is also a keen mountaineer.

Commenting on his election, Lord Smith said: ‘I love Pembroke. I have held it a privilege to have maintained my connection with the College through the years, and I am honoured to have been asked to lead the College community as Master. I look forward to helping our Fellows, students and staff build on the successes of recent years at a period of real opportunity and significant challenges for Pembroke and Cambridge.’