August 4th, 20114:13 pm @




I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with so many of you over the course of this last year – both in the US and here at Pembroke.


Thanks to all of you who travelled so far to be with us for the 1960-1966 Gaudy, the 1988-1990 Gaudy, the 50th Anniversary of the Class of 1954 and the historic 50th Anniversary of the breaking of Roger Bannister’s 4 minute mile.


And thanks too to those of you who travelled cross-country (no mean feat given the size of the country crossed) and across borders, to meet with me and other Pembrokians in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco in September. The effort that you all made and the enthusiasm which you showed for the College are hugely gratifying. It was also good to hear your thoughts on our recently completed 10 year Strategic Plan. You will all receive a summary of the Plan and our vision for Pembroke’s future in the early New Year. In the meantime, should you have any questions about our vision for the future, or would like to receive a full copy of the Plan, I encourage you to be in touch with either Angela Gustafsson ( or Rob Dauncey ( in the Development Office.


I returned from the US trip just in time for a typically frenetic Freshers Week and the start of the 2004-2005 academic year. I met personally with each and every new student, both undergraduate and graduate. (Those who bemoan the youth of today should be so fortunate.) The accomplishments and aspirations of the young people taking up their places this year are impressive.


The diversity of our student body is also impressive, and a real source of strength for the College going forward. This year over 20 countries are represented, with especially large contingents from China, Japan, and Eastern Europe. By far the largest contingent of foreign students, however, comes from America. At any one time there are some 60 American students at Pembroke! We currently have 20 on graduate courses and 2 pursuing full undergraduate degrees. (The latter is an interesting trend that we hope to develop). Pembroke is one of the few Oxford colleges with a Visiting US Student programme. And our programme is the largest, with some 40 students spending their Junior year abroad with us.


These students, who come primarily from Columbia, Brown, Tufts, Georgetown, Pennsylvania and Cornell, are fully integrated into College life, academically and socially, and provide an invaluable extra dimension to Pembroke. Rhodes Scholars have, and continue to be, an important part of the student body. Pembroke has graduated over 100 Rhodes Scholars and enrols five new scholars annually, of which two or three come from America.  This year Jennifer Harris from Wake Forest and Alexander Pollen from Harvard have taken up their well-earned places.


The 100th Anniversary of the birth of esteemed alumnus Senator J.W. Fulbright, whose foresight and wisdom have done so much to facilitate international scholarly exchange and understanding, will be celebrated in April 2005. We hope to mark this occasion in some special way. Of course a number of our alumni have gone on to distinguished political careers, and so, in addition to Senator Fulbright, we wish to celebrate more generally all those Pembrokians who have helped define America at home and abroad.


On August 26-28, 2005, Pembroke will be hosting a conference, a series of special events and a gala dinner to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the publication of the first English dictionary by Pembrokian Samuel Johnson.  Johnson, who compared Pembroke to “a nest of singing birds” came up in 1728, but had to leave after one year due to lack of funds.  He is famous not only for his dictionary, but for his scholarship, critical essays and outspoken opposition to slavery.


You will be receiving more information about both events in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have questions or would like to reserve your place in advance, please contact Angela Gustafsson.


It would be good to see you in 2005, perhaps at one of the above events. You never need an excuse to visit, however. If your travel plans bring you to this side of the Atlantic do please let us know. You are always most welcome here at Pembroke.


Wishing you all a very pleasant holiday season,