Following the sad death of Shirley Williams in April 2021, the Principal and Fellows of Somerville College are seeking to ensure the preservation of her legacy by endowing the Politics fellowship in her name.

Often described as the best prime minister Britain never had, Shirley Williams was both a model politician and human being. Her contributions to Parliament, her staunch support for the European Union and her championing of democracy around the world embody the progressive, compassionate politics of a true original.

By endowing the Politics fellowship in Shirley Williams’ name we can ensure that, regardless of any future financial constraints, Politics will always be taught at Somerville and that generations of future students will benefit from the same education that set Shirley on the path to her outstanding political career.

The Shirley Williams Fellowship in Politics is a most fitting way to commemorate our beloved alumna, especially now, following the centenary of the PPE degree and in a year when the University of Oxford’s Politics and International Relations faculty was ranked number one in the world.

Read Baroness Royall’s letter of appeal

Fundraising Goal

In order to endow the Fellowship, Somerville will need to raise £450,000. We would be immensely grateful for your support in meeting that target and thereby securing Shirley Williams’ legacy.

Watch Shirley Williams’ Memorial Service

The Memorial Service for Shirley Williams was held on Friday 26th November 2021 in the Somerville College Chapel. The service featured eloquent tributes from the Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten, former Somerville Principal, Dr Alice Prochaska and Jan Royall, Somerville’s current Principal, among others.

Shirley Williams' Memorial Service, 26th November 2021
Shirley Williams' Memorial Service, 26th November 2021

A Life in Politics