March Newsletter 2020

Heartfelt congratulations to the Trinity University Challenge team, who are through to the semi-finals following ‘another storming performance’! The intrepid team took on Jesus College, Oxford, romping in with a very respectable score of 285 points. Team Captain Joseph Webber (2016) tells all on the website. Read.

Spring has well and truly sprung at Trinity, and the Gardens Team are working hard to maintain the College grounds and keep everything looking glorious. Read.

Dr Jitka Štollová (2013), Trinity Junior Research Fellow in English, is exploring the representations of Richard III in the century following the publication of Shakespeare’s eponymous play in 1597, with a focus on the story that he had become, rather than as a historical figure. Read.

Ali Smith, award-winning author and Trinity Senior Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts, has launched a creative writing project ‘The Litmus’ for Year 9 to Year 13 students at UK schools. Students are invited to submit and artwork or 500 words in poetry, prose or any other format that consider the phrase ‘in common’. Read.

‘The Challenge for us is to live not just in the turmoil of the present, but also in the hope of the future.’ Trinity Chaplain, Reverend John Summers shares the first in a series of reflections by College members. Read.

A University of Cambridge spinout company has developed a new rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19, capable of diagnosing the infection in under 90 minutes. The test is currently being deployed at Cambridge hospitals, ahead of being launched in hospitals nationwide. Read.


The Master, Dame Sally Davies, is writing a weekly letter to Fellows, students and staff at the College with her reflections on the COVID-19 situation and its impact on Trinity and our community. Below is an extract from her letter of 26 March – future editions will be uploaded onto Trinity Members Online (see below) for alumni to read.

‘When I first decided to write to all members of the College, it was with the intention of sharing with you what has happened and continues to happen at Trinity and Cambridge, my reflections on the evolving national and global response, and how I am caring for myself and others through self-isolation in the Master’s Lodge. So, in that vein…

My past week was a strange one indeed. At Trinity, the Covid-19 working group of Council has been meeting (electronically) at least once a day and were joined by most of Council last Friday. We have a daily check list of updates on matters concerning our students, staff and Fellows.
There is a lot of detail to absorb and respond to but the central theme is how to support all these groups of people, particularly those who are supporting our community so magnificently. There is a lot of detail to absorb and respond to but the central theme is how to support all these groups of people, particularly those who are supporting our community so magnificently. As many staff as possible are working from home but this is clearly not possible for staff who provide essential services that must be maintained if we are to continue helping the students and Fellows who remain in residence.

Now that contingencies relating to immediate welfare are mostly in place, attention is increasingly moving towards matters of finance and teaching for the term ahead. In these matters, we are very mindful of the positions of other Colleges and of the arrangements being made by the University and its constituent faculties and departments.

I will continue to write regularly. I will reflect on why we are where we are now and the steps the University and College have taken. I hope to write with a breath of hope but also a critical eye to where we can do more and do better. Until next time, I hope you join with me in applauding our health care workers for all that they have done and will do.’

With very best wishes,

Dame Sally Davies (e2019)


We may not be able to bring you our usual range of events and opportunities to meet up with your fellow Trinity alumni in person right now, but one way that you can stay in touch is via Trinity Members Online (TMO).

TMO is an online platform, exclusively for Trinity alumni, where you can search a directory of fellow alumni, send messages, or take part in e-networking and e-mentoring. Over the coming weeks, we will be uploading plenty of new content – such as the Master’s weekly letter, alumni stories, digital event information, and how-to guides on mentoring – to the platform on the ‘digital library’. We also hope to be sharing some photo galleries of past Trinity events.

Simply visit to log back in (if you’ve forgotten your password, please use the ‘Forgot Password?’ link). If you’re not one of our near-2000 members, you can sign up by visiting the same page and following the joining instructions. We look forward to welcoming you to TMO!


The Alumni Relations and Development Office team are now working remotely, but it is business as usual and we are working to to keep you connected to the College and to one another. The processing of mail and responding to enquiries may take a little longer than usual, but please rest assured that we will get back to you. If you wish to get in touch, please contact us via email and we will get back to you as soon as possible, including to arrange a call for those alumni who need to speak to us.

Until we are able to resume our physical events, we are making future plans for the events we have had to postpone, and we are working hard on plans for virtual events and more online engagement.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, the College Facebook page, and by checking our website.

Cambridge University scientists are taking a leading role in a major £20 million national effort to help understand and control the COVID-19 infection. You can discover how researchers and experts across Cambridge are responding to the pandemic via the University website. Read.

Four Trinity students who nominated their teachers for the College’s Inspirational Teachers’ Awards 2020 have paid tribute to their dedication, inspiration and hard work. Read.


We have been so impressed with the innovative ways that Trinity alumni are keeping creative, sharing their talents, and finding fun ways to keep in touch with the wider world. Just some of the activities we have heard about include pianist Christina Lawrie (1994) and her husband, violinist Marcus Barcham Stevens (Clare College), giving live concerts from their living room. Hannah King (2012) and Owain Park (2013) have organised a virtual pub quiz on Friday nights, and on 25 March Mel Giedroyc (1987) made a live ‘inside’ broadcast for the BBC’s The One Show from inside her wardrobe!

We would love to hear what you have been doing to make the best of the great indoors. Do share your ideas, creations, photos or social media posts with us so that we can share them with your fellow alumni, provide a little isolation inspiration, and do what we can to bring some cheer. Follow us and post on Twitter and Facebook or email us.

  • If you’re in need of something to soothe the soul, transport yourself to the Chapel in the company of the Trinity College Choir with this video of the Nunc dimittis from an Evensong service filmed at the beginning of March. Watch.


Dr Roger Dawe (e1963), 1934-2020 – Trinity Fellow and classicist, best known for his work on the Greek text of Sophocles. Read.

Professor Freeman Dyson FRS (1941), 1923-2020 – theoretical physicist, mathematician and Trinity Honorary Fellow. Read.

Further obituaries for Professor Dyson can be found on the alumni website.

Dr Ken Shibata (1960), 1932-2020

‘I am very sad to share with you that on 28 February 2020 our Trinity in Japan founding member and board member Dr Ken Shibata passed away in Nagoya. Ken was one of Japan’s most distinguished geologists, one of the pioneers and leaders of radio dating, and he systematically dated a large number of rocks and greatly advanced the understanding of the geological history of Japan. Ken spent many happy hours with us, always travelling from Nagoya, and he will be greatly missed by all. If you would like to discover more details about Ken’s amazing life, I have written a tribute to our friend on the Trinity in Japan website.’  Dr Gerhard Fasol (1978), Co-Founder and Chair, Trinity in Japan.


The Institute of Education (ICE) is offering Cambridge alumni a 25% discount on their courses, including online courses. CAMCard holders are eligible for a 25% discount on course fees for ICE-owned and managed courses. This offer includes Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, as well as day schools, weekends, weekly classes, online courses and summer programmes. Apply through the ICE website. To activate your 25% discount you just need to fill in your CAMcard number on the application form.


If you have a recent or forthcoming book and you haven’t shared the details with us yet, please get in touch.

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