MEET THE WOMEN OF CORPUS

MARGARET ANDREW (d1349)

The College's first benefactress, whose legacy of giving continues today.

THE TALBOT SISTERS

Aristocratic benefactors whose family symbol still sits atop the gable of Old Court.

A Proper Book of Cookery

MARGARET PARKER (c1550)

Cookbook author and 'beloved and Godly' wife of Matthew Parker.

Bedmakers

THE BEDDERS
(since c1600s)

Women whose role has changed over the years but still remain an integral part of the College community.

Agnes Smith Lewis

AGNES SMITH LEWIS (1843-1926)

An adventurous 'Sinai Sister' who discovered the precious Cairo Genizah.

1982 Matric

RESEARCH STUDENTS (1982)

The first seven female postgraduate research students came to Leckhampton in 1982.

Diane Dawson

DIANE DAWSON (1982)

A talented economist who contributed widely to the field of health economics (and who saved The Eagle Pub).

Charlotte Erikson

CHARLOTTE ERICKSON (1982)

"A superb historian, a marvellous person, a great teacher and a very influential exponent of American society."

Alison Smith

ALISON SMITH (1982)

One of our earliest female Fellows, a scientist, Professor, Head of Department, Tutor, mentor and now a Life Fellow.

Emma Wilson

EMMA WILSON (1995)

A linguist and dedicated teacher who shares the imagination and film and literature with her students.

Philippa Hoskin

PHILIPPA HOSKIN (2019)

Director of the Parker Library is bringing people to the Parker - and Parker to the people.

GET TO KNOW OUR ALUMNAE

Katie Allen

KATIE ALLEN (m1998)

An author and journalist who wisely followed her mum's advice.

Natasha Godsiff

NATASHA GODSIFF (m2017)

Recent graduate, Trainee Solicitor, social activist and charity worker.

Yi Ming Zhong

YI MING ZHONG (m2003)

Former Vice President of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Claire Davenport

CLAIRE DAVENPORT (m1991)

An expert in disruptive industries and the newly appointed CEO at Treatwell.

Dr Wang Qin Chen

DR WANG QIN CHEN (m1987)

Retired Professor from the California Institute of Technology.

Check Warner

CHECK WARNER (m2009)

Ethical investor and co-founder of inclusive venture capital firm Ada Ventures.

Jessica Figueras

JESSICA FIGUERAS (m1991)

A tech industry strategist flying the flag for women in cybersecurity.

Eliza Lockhart

ELIZA LOCKHART (m2019)

Research Fellow in the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute.

Ayesha Waheed

AYESHA WAHEED (m1987)

An international lawyer working in the corporate business transactions practice at Morgan Lewis.

Nina Gupta

NINA GUPTA (m1996)

Chief Legal Officer and Head of HR Administration at Victory Capital.

Veronica Rogers

VERONICA ROGERS (m1995)

A veteran of the world's leading technology firms and former SVP at PlayStation.

Hazel Moore

HAZEL MOORE (m1987)

Chair and co-founder of international investment bank FirstCapital.

Shazurawati Binti Abd Karim

SHAZURAWATI BINTI ABD KARIM (m1993)

Executive Vice President/CEO of TM One, a leading communications, technology and ICT solutions provider.

Despina Spanou

DESPINA SPANOU (m1995)

Head of Cabinet at the European Commission.

Jo Thompson

JO THOMPSON (m1990)

Award-winning garden designer, plantswoman and member of the RHS Gardens Committee.

Juliet Foster

PROFESSOR JULIET FOSTER (m1992)

A leading social psychologist at King's College London.

Jo Bailey Wells

THE RT REVD DR JO BAILEY WELLS (m1984)

The Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion.

Pauline Volker

PAULINE VOLKER (m1995)

An international lawyer turned Court of Appeal Judge at The Hague.

We'll be sharing more stories of Women of Corpus over the academic year

The Arrival of Women

The question of admitting female students was first formally raised in 1978 by one of our late Life Fellows and former Warden of Leckhampton, Professor Longuet-Higgins. It was followed up by five young Fellows who wrote a letter to then-Master Sir Duncan Wilson. This resulted in an investigation and many, many hours of discussion at Governing Body and Executive Body, the committees which make important decisions for the College. The students were asked for their opinion in referendums held by the JCR and MCR, letters were written to various headteachers from feeder schools and Heads of other Cambridge colleges to find out their views, graphs compiled and a report written. 

A 1978 letter written to the Master, Sir Duncan Wilson, signed by five Fellows.

A 1978 letter written to the Master, Sir Duncan Wilson, signed by five Fellows.

A 1978 letter written to the Master, Sir Duncan Wilson, signed by five Fellows.

Dr Jack Gordon (m.1974) remembers, "The 'heavy lifting' [to admit women] had been encouraged by Duncan Wilson (Master 1971-80). In 1978 the student representatives petitioned the Governing Body to extend Guest Hours, which led to several long and acrimonious debates; this was followed by further discussions on the subject of co-residence. These also proved contentious, but they were conducted in a more harmonious atmosphere.  At the crucial GB meeting in May 1979, a majority of Fellows voted in favour of admitting women, but not enough to change the Statutes."

In 1979 the JCR held a referendum to discuss co-residence and the results were submitted to the Governing Body in March 1979.

In 1979 the JCR held a referendum to discuss co-residence and the results were submitted to the Governing Body in March 1979.

In 1979 the JCR held a referendum to discuss co-residence and the results were submitted to the Governing Body in March 1979.

Things were changing both in College and the wider world. Michael McCrum became Master in 1980, and Christopher Andrew (one of the signatories of the letter) became Senior Tutor, with Hew Strachan as Admissions Tutor in 1981. Comprehensive education was replacing the old Grammar and Secondary Modern system across much of the country, and more state-educated students were applying (and gaining entry) to Cambridge. The majority of Cambridge colleges went co-residential in the 1970s, and fewer students were applying to single-sex colleges; the quality of students was decreasing at Corpus, and grades were slipping. The College, which had done very well academically in the early 70s was losing its way academically. There was also a general feeling that “co-residence was both highly desirable and completely inevitable.” In 1981, the necessary change in College Statutes was passed by the Governing Body, the first year of Michael McCrum’s mastership. 

For many students, the change was unremarkable. From The Letter, 1984: The first twenty women to matriculate as undergraduates last October quickly became so much part of the College that the change to co-residence caused very few difficulties. While the Rugger and Association Football Club gained adherents of both sexes, and the College was represented by a women's IV for the first time in the Fairbairns and by a women's VIII in the Mays. The College's activities in music and drama also benefited much from this new intake.

Today the presence of successful women on the Fellowship and within the student body at Corpus is so integral to its history that individual achievements no longer need to be singled out. Five of the key College Officers are women – the Senior Tutor, Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions, Development Director, Bursar, and Domus Bursar – and women represent half of the College’s undergraduate and postgraduate populations.