Selwyn is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is home to students of all backgrounds from the UK and across the world. We are proud of our diversity, and we welcome everyone whatever their race, gender, sexuality, disability or religious belief.
The college takes its name from George Augustus Selwyn, who was the first Bishop of New Zealand (1841-68) and later Bishop of Lichfield (1868-78), and in whose memory the college was founded. The college opened at the start of the academic year in 1882, when 28 undergraduates were admitted. The teaching staff comprised the Master, the Tutor and one non-resident lecturer. At the time it was seen as being away from the Cambridge mainstream, despite only being a short walk from King’s College and the centre of the city. However, the Sidgwick site – which includes such major faculty buildings as Classics, Economics, English, History, Law, and Modern Languages – was later created right next to Selwyn; and due to the steady growth of the University and its development of the West Cambridge site, Selwyn now stands at its geographical heart.
Selwyn grew in size over the years and its site expanded in the late 1960s with the building of Cripps Court, thanks to the generosity of the Cripps Foundation. More expansion took place in the 2000s with two phases of development based on a new court, Ann’s Court, named after Ann Dobson. Chris and Ann Dobson provided almost all of the funding for this development. Around 70% of the college rooms are ensuite following a major refurbishment of Cripps Court earlier this decade.
The college was one of the first in Cambridge to go mixed, admitting women in 1976. Today the college is home to around 370 undergraduates; over 250 postgraduate students, drawn from universities all over the world; the Master and around 60 Fellows. The college has a committed and friendly body of non-academic staff numbering around 110.
Former students from Selwyn College have become prominent in many walks of life, including the actors Hugh Laurie and Tom Hollander, the computer pioneer Sophie Wilson, the Swiftkey entrepreneur Jon Reynolds, the founder of Bloomsbury Publishing Nigel Newton, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the writer Robert Harris, the academics Professor Claire Warwick and Professor Juliet John, the celebrated Indian lawyer Zia Mody, and the politicians Sir Simon Hughes, Kate Forbes, a minister in the Scottish government, and Wes Streeting.
Ultimate authority in the college resides in the Governing Body which meets once a term, with students represented. However, much business is formally delegated to the College Council, which from 14 June 2023 also became the charity trustees under the new Statutes. Day-to-day management, and the execution of policy within broad guidelines, are primarily for various college officers e.g. the Master, Vice-Master, Bursar, Senior Tutor, Admissions Tutors and Dean. For information on the finance and governance of the college, please follow the link below. http://www.sel.cam.ac.uk/about/finances-and-governance