Today we tend to talk of ‘Fitz’, not “Fitzbilly”, as they did in the past, but as Lent Term 2015 came to an end, I realised that it was a term which had filled me with real and significant “Billy pride”, as they would have said in earlier decades. It has been a term full of excitement and ‘buzz’.
Here are just a few examples…
Pride in our sporting heroes…The men’s first boat won their blades in the Lents (particular mention perhaps to captain and cox, Samantha Tarling (Classics 2012). It was great to see Fitz represented in the amazing blues women’s rugby team which defeated poor Oxford by a fearsome 47-0. Hurrah for Chloe Withers (Nat Sci 2012)! And I was particularly buoyed by a serendipitous conversation at that match when I was told that the Fitz men had been unanimously awarded the Fair Play Trophy that Cambridge University & District Rugby Referees Society (CUDRRS) awards annually to the most sporting college rugby team. All credit to Captain Joe David (Philosophy 2012).
Pride in our staff who keep the ‘show on the road’ on an amazingly tight budget and to such astonishingly high standards… HRH The Princess Royal’s visit on 10 March was an obvious example: the sun shone on a stunningly beautiful College, and proceedings flowed as though effortless (ha – particular thanks to Caroline Choat in the conference office).
Pride in our musicians… The Fitz Chapel Choir, under our new Director of Music, Katharine Parton, was invited to sing at the University’s annual ceremony to commemorate the generosity of benefactors in the Senate House. Their rendition of “Exsultate justi” by Viadana was fabulous. And then Charles Gurnham, Senior Organ Scholar (Nat Sci 2012), must have glowed with pride as he conducted the choir in his own version of the College grace before dinner in King’s College Hall.
Pride in some wonderful student-led activities…Not only the Fitzwilliam Literary Society at which alumnae, Adele Thomas (English 2000) and Caroline Williams (English 2003) talked about staging Beaumont’s, The Knight of the Burning Pestle in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe; Fitz Enterprise has launched a series of events, creating wonderful links between alumni and students; and FitzTheatre put on an energetic interpretation of The Crucible in the Auditorium.
Thanks to the energy of Titi Odusanwo (Law 2014) Fitz’s celebrations of International Women’s Day involved a photo-shoot as part of the ‘Cambridge Women Speak Out’ campaign. I was pleased to take part. The photos were all exhibited, complete with forceful messages, at the Michaelhouse Café in Trinity Street.
Another first year law student, from Sri Lanka, Sandamini Chandrasekara-Mudiyanselage (Law 2014) must be glowing with pride and needs to take a major bow too, winning both the Brewster debate and the College Moot this term.
Pride in the academic achievements of our students…Where to start? Perhaps I will just mention the graduate conference on Saturday 14 March: a galaxy of amazing short presentations: Juana Yunis (MPhil Education, 2014) doing empirical work in Colombian classrooms on ‘reconciliation’ in a conflict-zone; Sophus zu Ermgassen (Zoology and Management Studies, 2011) studying ‘ecosystem services’ provided by coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico; Stefan Theil (Law 2014) exploring environmental protection through the lens of European Convention on Human Rights litigation; Millie Papworth (MPhil European Literature and Culture 2014) painting a really astonishing picture of being a woman in early modern Italy under the title ‘Women do Not Belong to the Species Mankind’, and finally Gourav Khullar (MAST in Astrophysics) helping us understand the formation of galaxies in the universe. What a wealth of talent.
Next term the undergraduates put their heads down and focus on Tripos exams. I hope we will have a glow of pride in their results. If this term is anything to go by, Fitz is going places….