This year’s Supporters’ Lunch was a memorable occasion comprised of unions and reunions, stories, a few tears and, most of all, gratitude for the strong bonds forged by the Somerville community.
Here in Somerville, we look forward to the annual Supporters’ Lunch as a special moment in which to thank our loyal community of supporters for helping to secure our future, unleash our potential and guide our future planning. This year’s Supporters’ Lunch was no exception: over 140 people joined us, and we had the very great pleasure of watching many of our most loyal and long-standing supporters mingle with the next generation of Somervillians.
The occasion began with a Q&A session about the recent life of the College, chaired by our Principal Jan Royall, Development Director Sara Kalim, Treasurer Andrew Parker and Professor Almut Suerbaum, one of our longest-standing Fellows. Questions ranged across student experience, admissions and the future of the college, with time given to consider our proposed capital project.
At lunch, we heard from the Somerville College Choir, as always in fine voice. The time after lunch was reserved for our speakers. In addition to Jan herself, we heard from alumni Judith Buttigieg (1988, Physics) and David Blagbrough (2008, PPE). Judith spoke movingly about her career, its emphasis on working to live, and how Liz Cooke and the Somerville Association helped her re-establish a valued connection with Somerville community. David, meanwhile, spoke about he simply couldn’t have got where he is today without Somerville.
We also heard from current student and captain of the Somerville College Boat Club, Corinne Barker (2019, Physics), about the amazing connections she’s made through support from Somerville. Finally, we heard from Andrianna Bashar (2022, MSc Digital Education). Andrianna, who is from eastern Ukraine and is one of our Sanctuary Scholars, brought many people listening to tears as she recalled how her experience of displacement, which predates the current war, has affected her, and how the support she’s received here has made Somerville a true place of sanctuary for her.
It was the perfect way to end our afternoon together, reminding all who were there of the phenomenal power that our college and its supporters together can have.