Week 3, Michaelmas Term

Settling In

‘Week 3 already?’ or ‘Is it only Week 3?’ How do you feel at the moment? I’m doing so many things for the first time it feels as if the days are rushing by. I thought I’d try to capture some impressions and give you a flavour of what I’ve been doing and have coming up.


David, Rosie and I are getting settled into Wellington Square – do say hello if you see any of us around and about (Rosie’s the fluffy one).



David and Rosie



We’ve been grateful for the incredibly friendly welcome from everyone in, and associated with, College. I’ve already met some of you - and your guests - by crashing your lunches in the hall. I’ve found that everything I was told about the importance of food at St Cross is absolutely true. Good food in a relaxed setting brings people together from across the University.

I’ve also attended my first formal dinners, and hope I made my way through the grace without too many fumbles. Last week Professor Shireen Hassim, Professor of Politics at Witwatersrand University, joined us for dinner. This week we welcome back former Bursar and Wine Steward Maureen Doherty and her husband, and Sue Holden, Chief Officer of the Chilterns AONB. Again, do say hello if you are around.

After an incredibly successful Freshers’ Fortnight (the SRC did an amazing job of organisation), it is a pleasure to see College full of students, Fellows and staff, new and returning. And thanks to the efforts of the teams involved – our own staff and others – we welcomed 34 students to their rooms in the West Wing in 0th week. We’re meeting weekly to update residents on progress towards final completion of the building and make sure any issues are dealt with quickly and effectively.



The windows of the West Wing


The front quad was full to bursting point with new students on matriculation day: I think I may have had the best view from my office window. Thanks to the team who made it all possible (including Tom Clews, who made a better job of taking a picture with my camera than I did myself, and, yet again, the kitchen staff for laying on breakfast).



St Cross staff and our Deans of Degrees on Matriculation Day



A busy front quad full of matriculands


Last week I had the huge privilege of hearing Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, and former Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian, give the first St Cross Talk of the term on 'Breaking the Journalistic Rules', and Professor Sir Jim Virdee gave a Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP) talk on 'Particle Physics since 1945'. Two great initiatives to add to the experience of being part of the St Cross community. Do keep an eye open for such events.


I’ve now met most other Heads of House and representatives of each of the Divisions. I was present when the Vice-Chancellor gave her Oration and attended the first meeting of the University’s Equality and Diversity Forum. More to come on University activity as the weeks go on.


So how does it feel at the beginning of Week 3? Exciting! I am so pleased and proud to be here and I’m looking forward to doing my bit to make St Cross the graduate College of choice.


PS: ‘Gown-gate’: do I have the correct gown or have I been misled? Watch this space….