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  • Jame Helm

    The college has elected James Helm as a fellow. James is the new director of external affairs and communications for the University of Cambridge, and he is taking on responsibility for all of Cambridge’s external and internal communications, public affairs and public engagement.

    James, a Cambridge alumnus, is a former BBC correspondent and he was previously director of communications for the Metropolitan Police. He has also worked in Whitehall. On his appointment he said: “I’m extremely pleased and honoured to be taking up this post, and I am really looking forward to working with colleagues and helping this world-leading university to tell its brilliant story.”  

    James was elected a fellow at Selwyn in early May, and he will officially be installed in June. He joins Jessica Gardner, the University Librarian, as members of the fellowship with a key role in the university.     

  • The college has admitted Peter and Christina Dawson as Fellow Benefactors. This is in recognition of their generosity to the college in establishing the Dawson Fund for mental health and more recently in funding the expansion of our nursing support within Selwyn.


    Mr and Mrs Dawson were welcomed as Fellow Benefactors and formally admitted to the role in a short ceremony in the Master’s Lodge on Thursday April 7th, and they were then entertained to dinner in Hall with fellows, students and staff representatives. The Dawson Fund means that current Selwyn members can be given immediate and specialist help on a range of mental health issues; and the expanded role of nurse has resulted in advice being available full-time and year-round as against provision which had formerly been part-time and term-only.

    Peter and Christina Dawson

    The role of Fellow Benefactor was created by Selwyn in 2016 to mark exceptional philanthropy. The Dawsons join a distinguished list:


    ·         Jim Dickinson

    ·         Robert Martin

    ·         Katya Speciale

    ·         Robin Jeffs (who sadly died in 2021)

    ·         Tom Bartlam

    ·         Gareth Quarry

    ·         Jill Whitehouse


    We are enormously grateful to them, and to everyone who supports the college and its students.

  • After the inevitable disruption caused by the pandemic, our school outreach programme is now back in top gear. For the first time at Selwyn, we have two school liaison officers: Amelia Grigg based in Cambridge, and Joe Stanley based in Yorkshire. This reflects our commitment to finding students from all across the United Kingdom, and paying attention to areas where there might have been under-representation.

    Joe Stanley at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley
    Joe Stanley at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley

    Joe reports on his early weeks in his new post:    

    “My first weeks as the Northern SLO at Selwyn have been fantastic. I’ve been out and about in West Yorkshire delivering sessions to Heckmondwike Grammar School, Dixon’s Unity Academy, and Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, and I’ve booked several school visits to Selwyn in June and July.  I am working with my mentor, Sian, the Queens’ College SLO for Bradford, and I’m visiting several schools to ‘Introduce Cambridge’ to Year 9s and Y10s. I’ve had several virtual meetings with teachers at schools and colleges in West Yorkshire about how I can best support their students who are considering a Cambridge application and I’ve already met some really talented young people who would thrive at Cambridge. All in all it’s been an exciting time.”

    To read more, and to find the contact details for our team, please click here:

  • We are delighted to announce that this year's Ramsay Murray Lecture - our prestigious annual event - will be delivered by Anand Menon, Director of UK in a Changing Europe. It will be titled "Britain after Brexit". Previous Ramsay Murray lecturers have ranged from Bridget Kendall and Frank Gardner to Niall Ferguson and Sir Michael Howard.  

    After all the years of debate, and the passions of the Brexit referendum and its aftermath, the United Kingdom is now outside the European Union. What really happened and what does it mean now? The distinguished academic Professor Anand Menon offers an overview of Britain after Brexit. UK in a Changing Europe, which is co-ordinated from King’s College London, provides authoritative, non-partisan analysis about UK-EU relations.

    Anand Menon

    The lecture took place on May 6th, and it can be viewed online here:

  • Rev’d Dr Arabella Milbank Robinson


    The college is delighted to announce that it has selected a new chaplain and dean of chapel. She will be the Rev’d Dr Arabella Milbank Robinson, currently associate rector in the parish of Louth in Lincolnshire.

    Arabella went to school in Nottinghamshire and Virginia, USA, and then to New College Oxford where she was awarded a first in English and modern languages. She later studied for a PhD in medieval English literature at Emmanuel College Cambridge; and has also completed an MPhil in Christian theology with a dissertation prize from the faculty of Divinity.

    Arabella will join the college in September ready for the next academic year, taking over from Hugh Shilson-Thomas who has served the college so well over the past 14 years.


  • We welcome Dr Anita Balakrishnan as the newest member of the Selwyn fellowship. She was elected by the college council at a recent meeting.

    Dr Anita Balakrishnan

    Dr Balakrishnan is a consultant liver and pancreas surgeon, and an affiliated assistant professor with the university. She will now also be a college lecturer in medical sciences. Her formal installation as a fellow will take place on March 1st.

    You can read more about Dr Balakrishnan's work here:

  • Selwyn has announced the creation of a new role of Schools Liaison Officer based in the north of England. Joe Stanley will take on this position from his base in Yorkshire with the aim of showing school students across the north that Cambridge is open to everyone with the right talent, irrespective of their background.

    The college wants to break down some of the myths about Cambridge, and it has already demonstrated the breadth of its recruitment with a record 81% of prospective home students this autumn coming from state schools. This new post represents a major boost to the college’s existing outreach work, especially in West Yorkshire; and the northern post will work in association with an existing role based in Cambridge.

    Joe Stanley

    Joe Stanley (pictured) said: “I was born and brought up in Rotherham, I attended my local state comprehensive, and I was the first in my family to go to university so I know first-hand the barriers students from similar backgrounds as myself face when considering Higher Education. In the role of Selwyn’s Northern Schools Liaison Officer I want to act as a role model to show to talented young people that Cambridge is the right university for them.”

    The Master of Selwyn, Roger Mosey, adds: “Selwyn and Cambridge have transformed their student body in recent years, with a massive increase in diversity and a rise in the number of students coming from tougher economic backgrounds. An important part of our commitment is seeking to attract students from all across the United Kingdom, and – as someone from Yorkshire myself – we are very keen to boost our efforts to recruit more applicants from the north of England, where we feel there is an under-representation amongst our student body.”

    Dr Mike Sewell, Senior Tutor at Selwyn, explains: “West Yorkshire is already one of our link areas where we help lead on behalf of the Cambridge Colleges, but the pressures of the pandemic – including the difficulty of arranging travel to Cambridge – have meant that our north of England contingent has remained at best static. We want to change this. It’s a major investment for us to have a new post specifically dedicated to Selwyn and Cambridge outreach in the north, which we believe is justified. Joe will continue to live and work in the region, and he is precisely the sort of person who will help demystify Cambridge and Selwyn, challenging the stereotype that ‘Cambridge isn’t for me’. Selwyn is determined to remain in the vanguard of colleges which are open to everyone with the right talent, and this appointment is a sign of the seriousness of our commitment.”  

  • The college is running its annual telephone campaign this December, with current students calling alumni and friends in the UK and around the world to update them on developments at Selwyn. This year we’ve produced a special video which shows some of the projects underway across the college. These include the conversion of the old library into a study centre; the upgrading of hostels to provide new rooms for graduate students; and a continuing focus on bursaries and grants for students from lower income backgrounds.

    Matriculation 2021

    You can watch the video here:


    One note: the heat pump that we mention is the subject of further logistical reviews, because of some technical challenges that have emerged, and the college council will make a final decision on it soon. The other environmental improvements are going ahead as planned.


    If you’d like to know more about our plans, or support us financially, then you can contact or you can donate online by clicking on this link: Thank you.

  • New presidents have been elected by the MCR, representing our graduate students, and the JCR which is made up of our undergraduates.


    The next MCR president will be Elsa Kobeissi. Elsa is a 2nd year PhD student in Medical Science at the MRC Epidemiology Unit. She completed her undergraduate degree in Lebanon, her home country, before pursuing her Master of Public Health at Imperial College in 2017-18. She worked at the Global Health Institute in Lebanon before joining the University of Cambridge in October 2020.


    Elsa Kobeissi


    The JCR’s choice of president is Bella Cross. She is a student of History and Politics. Bella is from West London and is the current JCR Gender Equality Officer.


    Bella Cross


    The two presidents will join the college council and the governing body from January, and we congratulate them on their election.