Week 2, Michaelmas Term

Here we are: well into Michaelmas and beginning to find the rhythm of the new academic year.


I hope to blog at least fortnightly this term, so do let me know what you would like me to cover. Traditionally there will be something about College itself, the University, wider Oxford, my Trustee roles and Home (which usually means the animals!).


This year’s Freshers’ Weeks have been and gone. The Student Representative Committee laid on an amazing range of events over two weeks and rose to the challenge of the great turn out for each of them. Friendships were made across the College and beyond and maybe a few lessons learned for the future.

New students crowded into the Hall for the Introductory Meeting and filled the College for Matriculation photographs. I’m beginning to recognise some new faces – but will need help with names for a little while yet!


Breakfast lined up and ready to go


Everyone made it in the end


Navin Cooray (Student Vice-President), Tony Mead (Porter), Abdul Rad (Student President) and one of the photography team admiring the organisation!

The routine of College Committees has restarted – meeting in our new West Wing seminar rooms and with students represented throughout.

College Counsellor

We are pleased to welcome Laura Evers as our dedicated College Counsellor. Laura is a member of the University Counselling Service team and will be on site with us from 2.00-5.00pm on Mondays during term. She has shared details of how to make an appointment with the wider service here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling/appointment?wssl=1 and can be contacted direct to make an appointment in College: laura.evers@admin.ox.ac.uk. We are also hoping to announce details of a new College nurse arrangement very soon, to add further welfare provision for students.

College Events

Our first St Cross talk of the term was a panel presentation by five alumni who talked about their time at St Cross and their subsequent careers. There were some clear common threads: alumni were involved in building and creating new institutions and ideas; their careers had benefitted from radical changes of perspective; they thrived on an interdisciplinary approach – and had not been afraid to do things they were not ‘supposed’ to do! 

october 2017

Alumni speakers Fernanda Carneiro, Sony Pellissery, Julia Bray, Abi Tompkins and Marco Haenssgen


This week's talk is by Ed Macalister-Smith on the NHS: "The nearest thing the British have to a national religion!": 17:30 on 17 October in the Lecture Theatre, followed by a drinks reception.

All our talks this term are by alumni - experts in their fields, talking about their specialist subjects and linking the different College generations. Talks take place in the West Wing Lecture Theatre, are free to attend and a great way to expand your horizons and get to meet other members of the College community. Everyone is welcome and you can book via the website.

Last week we had the first Hall of term. It had a ‘comfort food’ theme and certainly lived up to its billing! This week it’s Chef’s Choice. Ed Macalister-Smith and his wife will join us and my guest will be Marie-Julie Chenard from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

On Friday we have the first Special Dinner of term and my guests will be Kevin and Louise Pickering. Kevin is Professor of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy at University College, London and Louise is an actuary.

My husband, David, and I have been meeting continuing DPhil students at home in Wellington Square. The beginning of the new term can be a strange time: friends who were Master's students have left, research is well under way and there may not be time to start new friendships from scratch, so making contact with other DPhils in and around the College can be a good way of providing social continuity.

Next week we will be hosting a small lunch to mark the 100th birthday of Ruth van Heyningen, Founding Fellow and wife of the College’s first Master, Kits. Ruth founded the Treverton Trust in memory of her mother and the Trust supported the acquisition of the College’s first pieces of art. We are delighted to be able to mark Ruth’s centenary and look forward to doing so for many more College members in future.

Beyond College

Last week we heard Tim Cook, Apple CEO, speak at the opening of the Foundry, the University’s new Innovation Hub, set up to support student entrepreneurs and well worth a look: https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/school/giving/oxford-foundry.

We also thoroughly enjoyed ‘Sawdust’ at the Old Fire Station – a Hidden Spire (http://www.hiddenspire.co.uk/p/about-hidden-spire.html) joint production by 51 Crisis clients and 21 professional artists. If you don’t know about the venue, it’s well worth investigating, and it has a great café https://oldfirestation.org.uk/

La Bohème by Barefoot Opera at Wolfson College was also wonderful: young singers, great acting and an intimate venue. Another example of the sort of possibilities which can be found around every corner in Oxford.


Our elderly ginger cat, Tango, has put Rosie firmly in her place. Tango has taken over the dog bed and Rosie is often to be found sleeping on the floorboards.



And finally

Do you know where you can find this plaque?