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Master's Summer 2019 Message

This summer we reached a real milestone in our progress towards achieving our Mill Lane Development. Our plans have been granted unanimous approval by Cambridge City Council's Planning Committee. Thanks to the hard work of a number of people, including former Bursar Chris Blencowe, our current Bursar Andrew Cates, and our architects Haworth Tompkins, detailed permission was given, with a range of anticipated conditions, none of which were onerous. We look forward to showing you more detailed plans in due course.

The major issue still to be resolved is that of the crossing for pedestrians on Trumpington Street. That one is needed is agreed by both the City and County Councils, but what form it should take is still under discussion. Above all, we want our students to be safe crossing the road.

It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the planning news with Dagmar Dolby, who was visiting the College last month, and with Dave Dolby, her and Ray's son, a couple of weeks later.

Of course, now that planning permission has been granted, the next round of hard work begins. We hope that the second phase of renovation will start in autumn 2020, after we have taken vacant possession of Emmanuel United Reformed Church, and then a further phase of the development in autumn 2021 or spring of 2022 when work can start on the demolition of the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms.

Alongside this, we need to raise the remaining £28 million to the fund the construction of the Mill Lane development. I would like to remind all Pembroke members of the Dolby family’s generous pledge to match every donation made to this project, pound for pound, until our funding goal of £75 million is achieved. Please do consider taking advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to make a gift.

Cresent Figure 1

A smaller, but still striking, recent physical change to the College has been the installation of a new sculpture, Crescent Figure by John Farnham, which was kindly donated by a 1953 alumnus. The gift was inspired by the arrival of our Henry Moore sculpture; John Farnham worked with Moore. Cast by the Powderhall Bronze Foundry in Edinburgh, Crescent Figure beautifully complements the other College sculptures and the garden. Once the Mill Lane site is complete, the plan is for it to be moved there, but for now it has been installed on the patio outside the Library, where it looks especially striking from the top of the Avenue.

Another year group has graduated and I wish them the best of luck for the future. I hope they will always feel that Pembroke is a part of them, just as they are a part of Pembroke and its long history.

Our students deserve hearty congratulations for their hard work this year. The Tripos results again look very positive and Pembroke has maintained its position as one of the top three colleges. Twelve Pembroke students were ranked top in the University in their subjects and 35.5% of our students took a First, as compared to the University average of 27.4%. These successes were evenly split between the arts and the sciences. Eight of our students took a starred First.

But Easter Term is about much more than exams. The Pembroke women’s football team won their Cuppers final, for the second time in three years, and also won the league, while the men were runners up in their Cuppers final. Two PCBC crews, W1 and M3, won blades in the May Bumps. W1 now sit seventh in the 1st Division – while M1 are sixth on the river. The Pembroke May Ball Committee successfully organised a fully environmentally sustainable – and hugely enjoyable - May Ball. I’m also pleased to report that our Junior Parlour Committee has won the Outstanding Student Contribution to Education award for College Representation (JCR and MCR).

A number of our Fellows' talents have been formally recognised in recent months. Nick McBride (Law) has been given a CUSU Student-Led Teaching Award for Supporting Students (Non-academic). I am sure that the many alumni Nick has taught and tutored will applaud this formal acknowledgement of the fine pastoral care he gives to our students.

Professor Nigel Cooper has been awarded the 2019 John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics in recognition  of his work into the theoretical understanding of the novel phases of matter that appear in situations where the motion of the constituent particles must be described by the laws of quantum mechanics.

Dr Menna Clatworthy has received a prestigious European Federation of Immunological Societies-Immunology Letters Lecture Award, given to outstanding European immunologists. She was described by the nominating body as “a true clinician scientist of the 21st century – continuously pushing boundaries of biomedical insight at the interface of fundamental immunology, clinical immunology and systems precision medicine”

Menna has also been promoted to a University professorship, one of six Pembroke Fellows who have received promotions from the University. Dr Paul Warde will be Cambridge’s first Professor of Environmental History. Dr Sarah Nouwen (Law) and Dr Donald Robertson (Economics) have been appointed to Readerships, while Dr Maria Abreu (Land Economy) and Dr Paul Cavill (History) have been promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer.

Over the Long Vacation Pembroke will sadly say goodbye to Research Fellows Dr Chris Ness, Dr Waseem Yaqoob, Dr Giovanni Rosso and Dr Richard Webb. Law Fellow, Professor John Bell, will be retiring, as will Professor Nick Davies, who gave such a fascinating talk about cuckoos at the most recent Pembroke Soirée. I fully expect John and Nick to continue to play a part in College life as Emeritus Fellows; and Nick, I'm sure, will offer sage commentary on the behaviour of the peregrine falcons which perch on Emmanuel United Reformed Church and strike terror into our abundant pigeon population.

In May we welcomed ten early career academics to the College as Post-Doctoral Research Associates (PDRAs). This is a new role for Pembroke and is designed to give postdoctoral researchers a College affiliation and an scholarly home outside their departments. The PDRAs are drawn from ten different departments and are conducting research into areas as diverse as Mediterranean textiles, evolutionary genetics and tuberculosis. Over 35% of Cambridge University staff are postdoctoral researchers and the overwhelming majority are unlikely to have a college association. Pembroke recognises that it needs to play its part in supporting this very important group of people, who hold such an important role in our University.

Finally, I just wanted to say what a pleasure - as ever - it has been to meet and talk with so many Pembroke Members and friends at alumni events in Cambridge and around the world in the last few months. I look forward to meeting many more of you at our events in Pembroke in September. In the meantime, the College will be welcoming students from around the world for its International Summer Programmes, as well as giving areas of Pembroke some much needed maintenance and TLC, ready for the start of Michaelmas Term.

With best wishes,

Chris Smith

Master of Pembroke