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The Mill Lane Development

The Mill Lane development will enlarge the footprint of the College by a third.  We are not, however, intending to expand our student numbers; rather, to enable many more to live on the Pembroke campus, and to transform the educational and social spaces that our students, Fellows and alumni/ae can use.  The development will create almost a hundred new high-quality rooms, set around a beautiful courtyard.  

It will also include new teaching, meeting, and seminar rooms;  an innovative interconnected learning space with the most digitally advanced technologies providing links around the world;  a learning centre where school pupils can come and experience some of the excitement of University life;  a “retreat space” where student wellbeing can be nurtured;  a partnership centre where visiting scholars, corporate partners, fellow academics, and school teachers can come and share work and thoughts with Pembroke students and Fellows;   a café-bar for any of our students;  a gallery space for mingling and gathering in the evenings, and for quiet reading and conversation during the day;  an exhibition gallery open to the public, for displays of College treasures and manuscripts, and to host collections from other institutions;  a 220-seat auditorium (created out of the former United Reform Church) for lectures, talks, and concerts – for the College and for the wider community;  and a new entrance into the site, with a Porters’ Lodge, diagonally across Trumpington Street from our present gateway.

We have already acquired the first portions of the new site, and will gradually complete our purchase over the next two and a half years.  It is our hope that we can do the renovation and building work needed to complete our plans by 2023-4.  And that will mean that Pembroke can bring our historic intimate and friendly community of scholars even closer together, and strengthen our commitment to all of our future students.  

One of our students said recently that what distinguishes Pembroke is that it is a place where everyone wants everyone else to succeed.  Nowhere is this more important than in the interaction that takes place between undergraduate and postgraduate students and Fellows: teaching, learning, exploring issues and finding ways to work across disciplines and generations.   The new buildings will help us to foster this interaction in a host of ways, in particular by drawing postgraduate students much more fully into the life of the College, and enhancing opportunities for everyone as a result.   

The funding we are seeking will help not only to create the buildings and the new environment for Pembroke.  It will also provide the essential support for the teaching and learning experience that will be richly enhanced by the College’s development.  It’s the people and the place that matter.  We seek to raise £90 million by 2023: at least £75 million to achieve the physical development, and £15 million to provide support for our students, researchers and academics, and to continue our hard-fought tradition of bringing the brightest people to the best place whatever their means.  

We have been given the most outstanding start to our campaign by the extraordinary generosity of Ray Dolby and his family.  Ray came to Pembroke as a PhD student in 1957, and subsequently went on to invent the sound system that revolutionised listening for the entire world.  Ray’s bequest of £35 million to Pembroke has enabled us to embark on our plans, and the campaign to realise them, with real confidence.  And we’ve already raised further funds to take us well over halfway to our target.  Many of our alumni/ae have been remarkably generous, and we are truly grateful.  We firmly believe we can now realise our ambition.  

The need is very much there, to sustain and enhance educational excellence into the future.  The opportunity has arisen, to acquire and develop the ideal extension for the College.  The generosity of one outstanding person has made it possible to embark on the project.  It’s a chance that will never happen again.  This is a completely unique moment for Pembroke: a re-foundation of the College, after six hundred and seventy years of history and distinction.  Let us seize the time, and create the place.  

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