Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Pat Harris Spirit of Somerville Award, Robin Leach (2015, Mathematics) and Kevin Judd (2015, DPhil Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems).
The award, which was established in memory of long-serving Lodge porter Pat Harris, recognises current students who embody the spirit of Somerville.
Kevin was nominated by Middle Common Room (MCR) President Tish Johnston (2018, English Literature) for his tireless service as an MCR Representative. During his 4 years at the College, he has given up his time for his peers as MCR President, Treasurer, Welfare Officer and Social Secretary.
Robin was nominated for his access and outreach work and his efforts to interconnect year groups and make students feel welcome by the Junior Common Room (JCR) President, Emmanuel Amissah-Eshun (2017, Law). The commitment of both to their fellow students demonstrates the kindness and selflessness for which Pat is so fondly remembered.
The award was initiated by Aaron Maniam (1998, PPE), who was an undergraduate during Pat’s time at the College. Aaron recalls that Pat took her pastoral role seriously, ensuring that Somerville felt like a home away from home for its students.
“Academics are important, but they are already well supported in a place like Oxford,” said Aaron.
“The Pat Harris Award recognises equally important achievements: kindness, strength of character, and contributions to the College community. At Somerville, these qualities are just as important as academic work, and Pat exemplified them wonderfully.”
The two winners were able to meet Aaron and Pat’s daughter Keron for a special tea to celebrate their recognition with the award.
“It was great to meet Robin and Kevin, each of whom clearly lives out the idea of giving back to the Somerville family and complementing their academic achievement with personal integrity.
“I hope the prize both enables them to broaden their efforts and inspires others to make similar contributions.”
Each winner received a prize of £300. Kevin Judd will put the money towards the costs of a travel to an academic conference in Canada, while Robin Leach plans to use the funds to assist with his move to London to take up a role in a software development company this summer.