The Fortieth – celebrating 40 years of co-education at Jesus College Cambridge


My name is Sonita Alleyne, and I’m the
first female Master of Jesus College Cambridge and I’m here today because it
is the 40th anniversary of co-educational study at Jesus College
and I’m so proud to be part of that. My name is Margaret White. I came up to
Jesus College in 1979 in the first year that women were admitted as
undergraduates. I read Part One in Natural Sciences and then Part Two in Education,
and then I came back to the College in 2011 when my husband, Ian, became Master. And during that time I was asked if I would chair the committee that planned
the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the matriculation of women undergraduates. My name is Roisin Donohoe. I’m a PhD
History student going into my second year here at Jesus College and I’m here
today to celebrate the 40th. I’m Joanne Yates, formerly Joanne Moore, and I matriculated in 1980. I was part of a cohort of 30 girls – the second year of girls to arrive in College having been admitted. Jesus College I think means to me,
academic excellence, tradition and a very welcoming community Jesus College means
to me two things. I think on the bigger picture, it’s kind of like there’s a
significance of being the first female Master after 523 years, but on a personal level it’s really a call to care, and for the next
10 years I get to bring together all the things I’ve done which are about caring
and mentoring and enabling, so for me it’s a kind of wonderful, wonderful personal place to be, where for the next ten years I can do exactly that. Jesus means an awful lot to me. I arrived here for three very, very short
years that went by in a flash, but the effect and the consequences of having
been here have been enormous. They’ve opened up so many opportunities for me, so many opportunities that I never really dreamed of where I came from in
Sunderland. Jesus College means an enormous amount to me. It’s been a very special place for two extensive periods of my life. Looking back to my years as an undergraduate, I made lifelong friends during that time Then subsequently when we were in the Master’s Lodge, I then got to know the alumni community, the community of current students –
undergraduates, postgraduates – the Fellowship, the staff and I realized what an extraordinary place it is and how all of those people come together with something that’s very special There’s nothing like being surrounded by
lots of people who are learning together to make you realize that actually
there’s a huge amount that you don’t know and so you carry on learning
throughout your life and that’s a wonderful thing to have had. Don’t be intimidated. There’s obviously
500 years of history here in Jesus College, but it’s an oasis in the
storm of Cambridge. It is a wonderful community with a fantastic network which you can make great connections. To future Jesus students I’d like to say: be brave enough to be yourself. Enjoy the privilege of being at College. It’s a wonderful place to be. Jesus College is very, very special. It’s a place full of
opportunity, so make the most of those opportunities, to learn new things, to
meet new people, to engage with new ideas, to try new activities. I would say come here, develop your sense of agency, learn how to make a difference in the world and then go out and do exactly that.

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