Skip to main content

News Articles

  • Selwyn College is delighted to announce that its Ramsay Murray lecture will be given this year by Professor Rana Mitter. Its title will be "Where China goes next: How authoritarianism, history and technology are creating a new superpower"

    The Ramsay Murray lecture is the college’s most prestigious annual lecture, and recent speakers have included Trevor Phillips, David Reynolds, Bridget Kendall, Frank Gardner and Amanda Vickery. This year’s event will be held in person in the Quarry Whitehouse auditorium on Friday June 4th with live streaming available to alumni and friends at home and abroad.


    Professor Rana Mitter OBE FBA


    Rana Mitter OBE FBA is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of several books, including China’s War with Japan: The Struggle for Survival, 1937-1945 (Penguin, 2013), which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020). He has commented regularly on China in media and forums around the world, including at the World Economic Forum at Davos. His recent documentary on contemporary Chinese politics “Meanwhile in Beijing" is available on BBC Sounds. He is co-author, with Sophia Gaston, of the report “Conceptualizing a UK-China Engagement Strategy” (British Foreign Policy Group, 2020). He is a Cambridge alumnus and was supervised by the former master of Selwyn, Professor Richard Bowring.

  • Our new building was handed over to the college on March 22nd by the contractors Barnes Construction.

    Handover lineup

    The keys were received on behalf of the Selwyn community by representatives of the MCR and JCR: Mehmet Doğar, MCR treasurer; Anamaria Koeva, MCR part-time students officer; and Poppy Robinson, JCR vice-president.

    Handover inside

    They and the construction team are seen outside the doors to the Quarry Whitehouse auditorium - and then inside the building. The auditorium will be opened later this Spring; and the Bartlam library, on the top two floors of the building, will be operational by the start of Michaelmas term.

    Handover library

    The project has cost almost £13m - all of it funded by college alumni and friends. We're extremely grateful for the amazing support.

  • The college has elected two new honorary fellows.

    Professor David Dabydeen is an academic, a writer and a diplomat. Born in Guyana, he studied English at Selwyn and he is an award-winning novelist and poet - and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was a professor at the University of Warwick, based in the Centre for Caribbean Studies. Having previously been a member of the Unesco executive board, he became Guyana’s ambassador to China in 2010 and served until 2015. Professor Dabydeen is now the director of the Ameena Gafoor institute for the study of indentureship and its legacies.    


    Prof David Dabydeen


    Sir Clive Lewis, a former fellow, became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2020 and is the college’s highest ranking alumnus in the judiciary. Clive is the son of a miner, and was brought up in the south Wales coalfields. He was an undergraduate at Churchill College as part of an early outreach scheme and initially pursued an academic career which brought him to Selwyn and the Law Faculty. On leaving academia, Sir Clive qualified at the bar, became a QC in 2003 and was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2013.


    Sir Clive Lewis


  • The college is pleased to announce that Dr Janet O’Sullivan has been re-elected as vice-master of Selwyn, with her new term of office running from 2021 until 2026. Dr O’Sullivan, a Law academic, was first elected in 2016; and she deputises for the master as well as taking on a number of college roles including chairing some key committees.   


    Dr Janet O'Sullivan


    Dr O’Sullivan will be on sabbatical leave during Easter term 2021. In her place, Dr Charlotte Woodford – a college lecturer in German – will act as vice-master. We congratulate them both on their election by the Governing Body.


    Dr Charlotte Woodford


  • Michael Stephens-Jones

    Michael Stephens-Jones, the college’s Percy Young senior organ scholar and currently in his third year reading music, has been awarded the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), widely recognised internationally as the most prestigious qualification for organists in the world.

    The examination includes a solo organ recital, rigorous keyboard tests, and written papers testing a variety of musical and analytical techniques, as well as covering various historical topics. It is highly unusual for this diploma to be achieved by someone who is still an undergraduate.

    In addition, Michael has been awarded a number of prizes, including the Dr F J Read prize, for achieving the highest overall marks across the whole examination, the Coventry Cathedral recital prize, for showing "outstanding ability in the performance of pieces", and the most-coveted of all the RCO prizes, the Limpus, Frederick Shinn, and Durrant Prize for achieving the highest mark in the practical part of the examination.

  • Hundreds of school students from year 10 joined a Selwyn taster day for women in STEM. The term STEM covers science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and on February 17th prospective students were given a glimpse of what it’s like to undertake study in these fields at the University of Cambridge. Among the speakers were (left to right) PhD student Francesca Firth; student natural scientist Rosie Lester; and schools liaison officer Grace Glevey.   

    Women in Stem

    Participants were given a chance to attend subject lectures by Cambridge academics, and to learn from our admissions team about what happens at university and how to make A-Level choices. To find out more about studying at Selwyn, please click here:

    Student Feedback

    • “Very helpful and has definitely helped broaden my mindset for the future-  I don't feel so drawn down one path. The lectures were also very helpful to get a taste of what the lessons could be like.”
    • “During the Q and A one of the people said that they had dyslexia and there was support at a university level for people who had it, this made me feel happier about knowing what to do when I move up to university and who I could talk to about my dyslexia.”
    • “It was great to be able to hear from students about their first- hand experiences attending Selwyn College, I am really grateful for the insight. Thank you for the experience :)”



  • Flying the flag

    The college flew the rainbow flag on February 1st to mark the start of LGBT+ history month. Two student representatives - Jennie Rodowicz on behalf of the MCR and Ted Kehoe from the JCR - are seen with the flag in Old Court before it was taken to the top of the Tower.

    You can read more about LGBT+ history month activities planned across Cambridge via this link:

  • Mariana Ramos


    Mariana Ramos de Lima has been elected the 2021 president of the MCR – the body which represents Selwyn’s postgraduate students.

    Mariana is a second-year PhD student in Music, specialising in medieval music from the Iberian Peninsula. She is from Portugal, and last year she was the MCR’s Treasurer. She now becomes a full member of the college council and the governing body.

  • Our alumnus John Sentamu, the former archbishop of York, has been given a peerage in the political honours list published just before Christmas. He will become a member of the House of Lords in the New Year, and will sit on the crossbenches as a non-party member.

    Dr John Sentamu

    Dr Sentamu studied theology at the college in the 1970s, and he was awarded his PhD by Cambridge University in 1984. He later became an honorary fellow of Selwyn, and also received an honorary degree from the University. He was the Church of England’s first black archbishop, and retired from his role in the summer of 2020.

    We congratulate him warmly on this further recognition of his extraordinary life. You can read more about him here:


  • Most of the scaffolding has been removed from Selwyn’s new building – giving a chance to see it properly for the first time. On the corner of Grange Road and West Road, the building will house the Bartlam library and the Quarry Whitehouse auditorium; and it is expected to be handed over to the college by the contractors Barnes Construction in the early spring of 2021.

    New Library

    The auditorium will be on the ground floor of the building, with the library on the first and second floors.


    The project has been fully funded by college alumni and friends, with more than 1000 people contributing towards the cost of £12.6m. We are hoping to start inviting people to look round, health regulations permitting, in the summer of next year. The building should be fully operational for students and our wider community next autumn.