Two prominent Somervillians have been elected as Honorary Fellows by the Governing Body.

The award is the college’s highest recognition for alumni and associates who have achieved distinction in public or professional life.

Dame Elan Closs Stephens’ (1966, English) Fellowship reflects a distinguished career in service to Welsh broadcasting and to the Welsh Government, including as commissioner of the Electoral Commission for Wales and as the BBC board member for Wales. In January 2020, she took up the role of Pro Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

She was recognised with a damehood in the Queen’s birthday honours last year. A first-language Welsh speaker, she was previously honoured in 2001 with a CBE for services to broadcasting and to the Welsh Language.

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford (1980, Jurisprudence) is a lawyer, businesswoman and prominent advocate for diversity in education and public life. She is the Chancellor of Coventry University and Chair of The Globe Theatre.

One of the first black British women to become a partner in a City law firm, she was named Black British Business Person of the year in 2014. After a 4 year stint as chair of charity ActionAid UK, she was awarded a CBE in 2018 for charitable services.

Their election was celebrated at the college’s annual Foundation Dinner last month, where Principal Jan Royall paid tribute to their efforts to support and promote diversity.

“At a time when we are rightly focusing on outreach and diversity, it is fitting that our two new Honorary Fellows are passionate about the issue,” she said.

“It is our privilege to be able to celebrate two Somervillians who have given so much through this award, and I know the college community will join me in congratulating them.”

The two join other Honorary Fellows including politician Baroness Shirley Williams, broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen, and climate change expert Professor Dame Joanna Haigh. You can view the names of all of the College’s Honorary Fellows on our website.

Dame Elan Closs Stephens

Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE

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