The Thatcher Scholarship Programme is the living legacy to an extraordinary Somerville alumna. One of the most prominent leaders of the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher overcame huge barriers to become Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, the first scientist to serve as Prime Minister, and the longest serving British Prime Minister of the century.

Individual Somervillians will have their own views about Margaret Thatcher and, over the years, have communicated them freely and forcefully. But whatever your view, it is clear that Margaret Thatcher remains a globally resonant figure to this day. She transformed the relationship between government, economy and society in Britain and became an icon of liberty in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. She was among the most influential figures involved in the historic process that led to the fall of Communism and the immediate need to design a post-Communist world order. 

Margaret Thatcher always recognised that education was one of the great spurs for both personal and career development, which is why she retained such a strong affection for Somerville.

Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury, Trustee

It was Margaret Thatcher’s time as a student at Somerville College at the University of Oxford which unlocked her extraordinary potential. It honed her intellectual abilities, developed her political skills and enabled her to build the connections that facilitated the first breakthrough in her career. It gave her a recognized badge of distinction as an Oxford alumna, which sent her into the world on a level footing with those from more privileged backgrounds.