Somerville’s annual Gaudy dinner filled the College hall on Saturday 28 June as alumnae from 1978-1988 returned to College for their reunion.
Speeches were delivered by Neeta Patel (1980, Chemistry), Chief Executive of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, Julia Aglionby (1991, Biology), Chairman of the Foundation for Common Land, and Dr Alice Prochaska, College Principal.
“It was really good to reconnect with people with whom we’d lost touch and to see Somerville in its finest summer glory,” said Patel. “The staff were fabulous and so helpful.”
Neeta Patel and Julia Aglionby
Dinner began with a crab starter which was followed by guinea fowl for the main course and a chocolate dessert. After the meal, many alumni continued the party downstairs in the old bar in House, and then in the new Terrace Bar.
“It was such fun and a huge success and we only left some time after 1am,” one alumna wrote in to say.
A garden tea party was held between 3.30 and 5pm, falling (very conveniently) between two afternoon downpours. A few alumni (and spouses) made occasional, surreptitious departures for the new College bar in order to catch some of the Brazil-Chile and Colombia-Uruguay World Cup matches. A number of thank you messages had arrived by Monday.
“Thank you so much for a fantastic Gaudy yesterday,” said one. “I enjoyed every minute of it! Well done on such a superb feat of organisation.”
“What a wonderful occasion – it was a terrific experience,” said another. “I really enjoyed being back and hearing from Alice Prochaska.”
One alumna in attendance was Rosalind O’Shaughnessy (1980, Mathematics), a doctor at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. O’Shaughnessy recently made a very significant contribution to the wellbeing of the University; Lord Patten, University Chancellor, credits her with recently helping to save his life when she successfully slowed his heart rate so that he could proceed into surgery – she was on duty in Accident & Emergency in the early hours of the morning.
Dinner and drinks on Saturday were followed by a talk on life on a container ship, delivered by Rose George, and another on the ‘Monuments Men’ (who ran a remarkable art preservation project during World War Two), delivered by the College Principal.