Baroness Royall of BlaisdonPrincipal
Jan Royall is Somerville’s Principal.
She has had a distinguished career in politics, notably serving as Chief Whip in the House of Lords and then as Leader of the House from 2008-2010. She also served as Shadow Leader of the House of Lords from 2010-2015.
Prior to her parliamentary career, she was a senior adviser in the European Commission before heading its office in Wales. In 2004 she was appointed to the Lords as Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and in 2005 became a Government Spokesperson for Health, International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
Following a degree in Spanish and French at the University of London, Jan’s first job was importing flowers into Europe from Colombia but she soon started working in the world of politics. She spent six years working as General Secretary of the British Labour Group in the European Parliament, then went to work for then-Leader of the Opposition, Neil Kinnock.
Jan stepped down from frontbench politics in May 2015 in order to engage in her other interests, including youth policy, higher education, women, diversity and inclusion, democratic engagement, health, the EU, and foreign affairs, and she continues to speak out on these issues in the House of Lords from the backbenches. Jan is a trustee, patron and active supporter of many charities and organizations including Full Fact, the Centre for Opposition Studies, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the ASHA Centre. She is co-chair of the Oxford inclusive Economy Partnership. She was formerly chair of the People’s History Museum, Pro Chancellor of the University of Bath and Vice President of the Party of European Socialists.
Jan works with governments, political parties and NGOs in many countries on democracy building, leadership, nurturing civil society and women’s empowerment.
Sarah ButlerLibrarian and Head of Information Services
Sarah Butler is the College Librarian and Head of Information Services.
She is responsible for managing the College’s extensive lending library and its special collections, including the College’s collections of pictures (as Keeper of the College Pictures), chattels and antiquarian books. Please contact Sarah if you have any queries about consulting or using the College’s collections.
Sarah also oversees the Archives, IT and AV services, and is the lead on Data Protection for the College. She is happy to answer enquiries on any of those topics.
Sara KalimFellow and Director of Development
Sara Kalim read Classics at Somerville from 1990-94. She then spent 14 years in the media, working as Head of Development for two major television production companies. Her work included developing access and ideas, and fundraising for documentaries and current affairs programming.
Sara has most recently worked for the University of Oxford for three years at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Department of Politics and International Relations, where she held responsibility for financial and strategic planning, and played an instrumental role in securing journalism scholarships from a variety of funding sources.
As Director of Development, Sara oversees Somerville’s fundraising strategy and development, is responsible for fundraising campaigns (including for the Margaret Thatcher Scholarship Trust and the Oxford India Centre), and heads up the Development Team. She is also a member of the College’s Management Team.
Sara has a long-standing family connection to India, with family coming from Patna, Bihar. She also studied at Somerville making her the perfect advocate to drive the further development of the Centre. Sara’s focus is on fundraising and profile-raising working with philanthropists and corporate partners.
If you are interested in making a gift, or are thinking about leaving a legacy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Chris BamberICT Manager
Chris Bamber and the IT team are responsible for maintaining and developing the College IT network infrastructure and systems and for the College computers and printers. They can also give some advice on the purchase of computers.
Chris has been with the College since December 1997 when he took up the new created position of Computing Officer. The role allowed the college to provide professional IT services to staff and students on a full-time basis.
Since then Chris and his team have kept the college’s ICT infrastructure current through one of the fastest technological growths over the last two decades.
Elaine BoormanCollege Accountant
Elaine and the Treasury team are responsible for the College accounts, banking and finances, for student fees and battels, for payments to suppliers, for invoicing, for loans and grants to students including vacation and hardship grants, and for general advice on financial matters, particularly in cases of financial difficulty.
Rebecca CokerSenior Development Executive
Becca plays a leading role in realising Somerville’s fundraising goals, with particular responsibility for major gifts and legacies.
She started adult life as a postgraduate researcher in the philosophy of education at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and then worked in the City as a lobbyist for the financial services industry. She went on to be Major Gifts Officer at Keble College, before leaving to have her children.
If you are thinking about making a major gift, or leaving a legacy, Becca would love to hear from you. You can contact her by email on email@example.com or phone her at +44 (0) 7890 412404.
Will DawesDirector of Chapel Music
Will Dawes(ARAM, PGDip (RAM), BMus (Hons) is Director of Chapel Music of Somerville College, Oxford, Director of Music at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford, and the founding Director of Frideswide Voices (Oxford’s first liturgical choir for 7-14 year-old girls).
He is a graduate of the RAM, where he studied Choral Conducting and Singing, and has directed numerous excellent choral societies and chamber choirs across the UK.
Will is active as a consort singer and is a member of the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Stile Antico. The group performs all over the globe, including concerts in the Wigmore Hall and at the BBC Proms. He is a former Lay Clerk of Christ Church, Oxford, and has sung with Collegium Vocale Gent, The Eric Whitacre Singers, and Polyphony.
As a soloist, Will has sung works such as Carmina Burana (Orff), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Mahler), and The Wound Dresser (Adams) as well as more canonic works by JS Bach and GF Handel. His one and only operatic role to date is that of Mr Gedge in Albert Herring.
For further information, including forthcoming performances, please visit Will’s personal website.
Elizabeth EdgintonCollege Counsellor
I’m Elizabeth Edginton, the College Counsellor at Somerville. As a Somerville student, you can contact me to arrange a 45 minute, one-to-one session to discuss any emotional or mental health issues you might be having, in an impartial, confidential setting, where we can think together about what is happening and understand how best to move forward.
Sessions take place during Weeks 0-9 on Wednesdays, in person, or on Teams, in exceptional circumstances.
I’m a fully qualified and experienced psychotherapist specialising in working with young people, but am happy to see students of all ages. I have worked in the NHS and universities for over 10 years, both clinically and in research, and prior to that, was an academic. I started as the College Counsellor at Somerville in Michaelmas 2023 and also work at the central University Counselling Service.
Whether you’re a fresher adjusting to being at Oxford or a DPhil student working on your thesis, it can be helpful to have a space that is separate from the rest of Oxford life to talk through and think about any issues that you might be having. If you have questions or would like to arrange a session, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel that you are at risk, please ensure that you make an urgent GP appointment, see the College Nurse, call NHS 111, or in case of emergency, go to Accident and Emergency at the hospital or call 999. Please also see the crisis contact numbers at: Emergency contacts | University of Oxford