Honorary Fellows

The title of Honorary Fellow is conferred upon a woman of distinction for life. Until the mid-1980s Honorary Fellows were chosen only from those who were already members of the College.

The year in parenthesis after each name is the year of election as an Honorary Fellow.

List of Honorary Fellows by year of election

Marin Alsop (2017)

Marin Alsop, BMus, MMus, Hon DMus

American conductor and violinist Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, recognised worldwide for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.

Her conducting career was launched when, in 1989, she was a prize-winner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and in the same year was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein. In 2007 she was appointed the twelfth music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the first female to hold such a position with any major American orchestra.

She is also the principal conductor and music director of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, arranging its 2012 European tour and first-ever appearance at The Proms in August 2012 and again in August 2016.

In 2005 she became the first conductor to receive a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship, a prize awarded annually to citizens or residents of the United States who have shown ‘extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction’.

In 2007 she was one of eight conductors of UK orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music manifesto, “Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st century”, which gave free entry to a classical music concert to all British schoolchildren as part of its drive to increase the presence of classical music in the UK.

Since August 2015 she has been Director of Graduate Conducting at the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University.

In 2016 she stood down as Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where for 25 years she had built a devoted audience for new symphonic music by living composers and worked to promote the careers of both prominent and up-and-coming composers.

In 2013 she became the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, repeating this in September 2015. In between these two appearances she conducted a September 2014 Proms concert of music by John Adams and by Gustav Mahler, at which event she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

She has served as principal guest conductor with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and with the City of London Sinfonia, as Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and appears most seasons with both the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

She was voted Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year in 2003, the same year she also won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s conductor’s award. She was the only classical musician in The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 women’ on the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011.

Marin has twice been Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre, and is currently Artist-in-Residence at Aldeburgh Music at Snape Maltings in Suffolk conducting the Britten-Pears Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from around the world. In 2017 she is delivering masterclasses in London for women conductors, and delivering a Women of Achievement Lecture at the University of Oxford at the invitation of the Vice-Chancellor.

Joan Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell (2016)

Joan Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell DBE, BA (NC 1951)

Joan Bakewell became nationally known as one of the strongest women’s voices of her generation at the BBC, from the 1960s to the present. She has presented arts coverage on Newsnight, was the chief presenter of the documentary series Heart of the Matter, has presented series on pornography and civil rights, and has long been regarded as a liberal intellectual contributor to national conversations.

She has been recognised by the awards of CBE (1999), DBE (2008), became a Baroness in 2011, has chaired the British Film Institute, and in 2008 was appointed by the government to be a voice for older people.

Joan Bakewell continues to be active as an author and a journalist, writing columns on the experience of old age, on the role of older women in the media, and other topics of current interest in, by turns, the Guardian, the Times and the Independent.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday (14 February 2014), she answered the question ‘What event that altered the course of your life and character?’ as follows: ‘Gaining a scholarship to Newham College, Cambridge in 1951. I owe it everything.’

Clare Balding (2014)

Clare Balding, MA, OBE (NC 1990)

Clare Balding is a graduate of Newnham in English (NC 1990). She began her presenting career with BBC National Radio in 1994 and made her debut as a television presenter in 1995. Her television work has encompassed five Olympic Games, two Paralympic Games and three Winter Olympics, Rugby League and the Grand National, as well as documentaries about sports history and about the suffragette Emily Davison. Amongst her many awards are the 2012 National Book Award for Biography/Autobiography of the Year and the 2013 BAFTA Special Award for her contribution to factual television over the course of her career. In 2013 she was awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting and journalism and Women’s Hour named her one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK.

Professor Dame Carol Black (2019)

Carol Black, DBE, FRCP, FMedSci

Professor Dame Carol Black is currently Chair of the British Library, the Centre for Ageing Better, and Think Ahead, the Government’s fast-stream training programme for Mental Health Social Workers. She chairs NHS England/Improvement’s Advisory Board on Employee Health and Wellbeing, and is Adviser to NHSI and PHE on Health and Work. She is also a member of RAND Europe’s Council of Advisers, and of the Boards of the Institute for Employment Studies and UKActive.

In 2019 she completed a seven-year term as Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, where she was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. She still sits on the University’s Strategy Board on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing. She is a Patron of the Women’s Leadership Centre in the Judge Business School.

Dame Carol has completed four independent reviews for the UK Government: of the health of the working-age population in 2008 as National Director for Health and Work; of sickness absence in Britain in 2011 as co-chair; of employment outcomes of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or obesity, in 2016; and on illicit drugs, demand, supply and treatment (Part I, for the Home Office, published in February 2020; Part 2 for DHSC imminent)

Professor Black is a past-President of the Royal College of Physicians, of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and of the British Lung Foundation, and past-Chair of the Nuffield Trust for health policy. The Centre she established at the Royal Free Hospital in London is internationally renowned for research and treatment of connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma. She has been a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Rt Hon The Baroness Boothroyd (1994)

The Rt Hon The Baroness Betty Boothroyd, OM, PC, HON DLitt

The Rt Hon The Baroness Betty Boothroyd, OM PC Hon DLitt is a renowned politician and first female Speaker of the House of Commons. Her early years in politics were spent as secretary and political assistant to various Labour MPs and Ministers. She had a two year term as a legislative assistant in Washington. In 1973 she was elected to Parliament, representing West Bromwich West until her retirement as Speaker in November 2000. From 1975-77 she was a Member of the European Parliament. In 1987 she became Deputy Speaker and was elected Speaker of the Commons in 1992. The motto on her Coat of Arms reads “I speak to serve”.

In 200l she was made a Life Peer and sits in the House of Lords as a Crossbencher. From 1994-2006 she was Chancellor of the Open University and was awarded an Honorary Degree as Doctor of that University. In 1994 she was awarded an Honorary LLM by Cambridge University, followed by an Honorary DCL from Oxford University in 1995 and an Honorary LLM from St Andrews University in 2001. She was conferred an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple in 2011. She was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2005, an honour in the personal gift of Her Majesty. She was President of the Monument to the Women of World War II which stands in the centre of Whitehall, unveiled by the Queen in 2004. She is President of the charity NBFA which provides free respite breaks for elderly people in need and Patron of a number of national and international charities.

Professor P Jane Brown (2003)

Professor P. Jane Brown, MA, PHD (NC 1951)

Professor Jane Brown is a pioneer in the field of using neutron scattering to investigate the structure of materials and in particular their fundamental magnetic properties, work of great importance in many areas of physics and materials science. She came up to Newnham from Roedean in 1951 and took her PhD in Physics in 1958. She was a DSIR Research Fellow from 1957-1960 and then moved to New York for a two-year appointment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1962 she returned to Newnham as a Fellow and College Lecturer in Physics, and as a Research Assistant and then Assistant Director of Research at the Cavendish Laboratory. In 1974 she was appointed Senior Scientist in charge of the Diffraction Group at the Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, and has held Visiting Professorships at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and at Loughborough University.

In 2001 Professor Brown was awarded the Halg/ENSA Prize for outstanding work in neutron scattering, with a long-term impact on scientific and/or technical neutron scattering applications. In 2002 Professor Brown was also awarded the Guthrie Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics, one of its three top awards and the first time any of them has been awarded to a woman. She has continued to research actively since her retirement 20 years ago.

Dame Antonia Byatt Duffy (1999)

Anne Campbell (1996)

Anne Campbell, MA, CStat, FRSA, PhD (Hon) (NC 1959)

Anne Campbell is a graduate of Newnham in Maths (NC 1959, MA 1965). After graduating she taught Maths in secondary schools before her appointment as a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology (now Anglia Ruskin University). She spent a year at the Department of Mathematical Statistics at ETH Zürich (1979-80) and in 1983 was appointed Head of Statistics and Data Processing at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, a post she held until 1992. She was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Statisticians and of the Royal Statistical Society in 1985.

That same year she was elected to Cambridgeshire County Council as a Labour Councillor, and in 1992 she was elected Member of Parliament for Cambridge, serving until the 2005 General Election. In 1996 she founded the charity Cambridge Online and in 1997 the social enterprise Opportunity Links, which later became one of the UK’s fastest-growing small companies.

She served as Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (2005-2012) and was elected Chair of the Fabian Society (2007/08). She is currently Chair of Governors at the Parkside Federation Academies and serving as a Commissioner at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The Baroness Coussins (2014)

Baroness Jean Coussins, MA, Hon FCIL (NC 1970)

Baroness Jean Coussins is a graduate of Newnham in MML (French and Spanish, NC 1970). After graduating she became Secretary of the United Nations Association (1973-75); was the Women’s Rights Officer of the National Council for Civil Liberties (1975-80), Deputy Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (1980-83), Senior Officer of the Inner London Education Authority (1983-88), Director of the Commission for Racial Equality (1988-96), Chief Executive of the Portman Group (1996-2006). Between 2002 and 2005 she was a member of the consultative council of the British Board of Film Classification; between 2003-09, a non-executive member of the Advertising Standards Authority; 2004-07, commissioner of the Better Regulation Commission. Since 2012, she has been President of the Peru Support Group and since 2013 the President of the Money Advice Trust.

Professor Patricia Easterling (1987)

Professor Patricia Easterling, MA, FBA (NC 1952)

Professor Pat Easterling (née Fairfax) read Classics at Newnham 1952-5, and worked on Greek manuscripts as a graduate student before joining her husband as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Manchester (1957-8). She came back to Newnham in 1958 as an Assistant Lecturer, and then as a Fellow and Lecturer (1960-87) and Director of Studies in Classics (1979-87); from 1969 she was concurrently a University Lecturer. She was Vice-Principal of the College 1981-86, and in 1987 elected an Honorary Fellow on her appointment as Professor of Greek at University College London.

In 1994 she was elected Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge, the first, and so far the only, woman to hold the chair, returning to Newnham as a Professorial Fellow until her retirement in 2001. She has been much involved in the work of societies that promote the Classics in schools and the wider public, including the Hellenic Society, the Classical Association and the Joint Association of Classical Teachers.

Her main research interests are in Greek literature, particularly tragedy, its performance and reception in antiquity, and its survival in later cultures. Since the 1960s she has been a General Editor of Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics, a series now reaching its hundredth publication. She has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Athens, Bristol, London (Royal Holloway), Uppsala and Ioannina, was elected an Honorary Fellow of UCL in 1997, and in 2013 associé étranger de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Institut de France, and Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Professor Dame Uta Frith (2008)

Professor Dame Uta Frith, DBE, PhD, FMedSci, FBA, FRS, ML

Professor Dame Uta Frith, DBE, PHD (London), FMedSci, FBA, FRS, ML is one of the world’s most distinguished developmental psychologists.

She studied at the Universität des Saarlandes and at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and spent the majority of her career at University College London. With her husband, she was the joint recipient of the 2009 European Latsis Prize, awarded by the European Science Foundation for outstanding and innovative contributions in a selected field of European research. Her influential research seeks to improve the quality of everyday life for those with development disorders.

Professor Dame Frith has a particular interest in increasing the profile of women in science, developing ‘Science & Shopping’, a support network to “encourage women to share ideas and information that are inspiring and fun” and co-founded UCL Women, a networking and social organisation for female UCL academic staff. She is a Member of High Table and has given lectures to Newnham’s graduate community and as a Henry Sidgwick Lecturer. She is currently Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Research Foundation Professor at the Faculties of Humanities and Health Sciences, University of Aarhus.

Rosalind Gilmore (1995)

Rosalind Gilmore, CB, MA, FRSA, Hon RCM (NC 1958)

Rosalind Gilmore has two degrees in history (UCL and Cambridge) but spent most of her working life in HM Treasury (26 years) on UK exchange rate and monetary policy, and the structure and regulation of the British financial sector. She has held non-executive directorships on numerous corporate boards, including nine years as an Associate Fellow of Newnham College, and heavyweight financial players such as Zurich Insurance Group, and also as Chairman of smaller companies. Public sector roles included Chairman of the Building Societies Commission through the housing market slump of the early 1990s (a very difficult time for mortgage lenders) and also a director of Moorfields Eye Hospital and of the Royal College of Music.

She has taken an active part in the 20th Century movement to support professional women as a founder member of the UK chapter of the Washington-based International Women’s Forum (IWF), and as an elected member of its board and President of its Leadership Foundation, which provided a programme for potential women leaders in member countries with modules at Harvard and Cambridge.

In 1965 Rosalind had accompanied her diplomat husband Brian on his posting to Washington, DC, where she took on a role in the Economics Department of the World Bank. They returned to London in 1968, where they now live. Rosalind was reinstated in HMT and continued the financial focus of her career. Most recently she has spent two years as an Independent Director of the Prudential Regulation Authority, a body corporate within the Bank of England.

Brian and Rosalind like music, theatre, languages, and swimming in warm seas (Rosalind has a half blue for women’s swimming and also played on the women’s squash team). They speak modern Greek, Spanish and French (very useful to Rosalind when she was on the Banking Advisory Committee of the European Union). They have a cottage in Barton village and very much enjoy coming to Newnham and Newnham events.

Jane Goodall (2019)

Dame Jane Goodall DBE (BA Newnham College 1961, Natural Sciences; PhD Darwin College 1964).

Jane Goodall is a world-renowned anthropologist, best known for her pioneering study extending over 55 years of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park. Her work has been hugely influential in the study of primates and their conservation in the wild.

She has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. The Jane Goodall Institute, founded in 1977, is widely recognized as a model for community-based conservation and development programs in Africa.  She founded the Roots & Shoots movement in 1991 with the goal of bringing together youth, from preschool to university, to work on environmental, conservation and humanitarian problems. Roots & Shoots has chapters in 140 countries with 8,000 local groups worldwide.

She has served on the Board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since 1996. She is an Honorary Member of the World Future Council, an independent body founded in 2007 to speak on policy solutions ‘that serve the interests of future generations.’

Dr Goodall’s honours include the French Legion of Honour, the Medal of Tanzania, and the Kyoto Prize. She was appointed by Kofi Annan to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002, and was appointed DBE in 2003. Time magazine named her as ‘one of the 100 most influential people in the world’ in 2019.

Dr Goodall holds Honorary Doctorates from nine universities, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge (2019).

The Rt Hon The Baroness Hayman (2008)

The Rt Hon The Baroness Hayman, GBE (NC 1966)

The Rt Hon The Baroness Hayman, GBE (NC 1966) read Law at Newnham and was President of the Union. She worked for Shelter from 1969 to 1971, and for the Social Services Department at the London Borough of Camden from 1971 to 1973. As a member of the Labour Party she was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, upon election being the youngest member of the House of Commons and one of only 27 female Members of Parliament. She became a Life Peer in 1996.

After the Labour Party won the 1997 general election, she served as a junior minister in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department of Health, before being appointed as Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in July 1999. She became a member of the Privy Council in 2001, but left office the same year to become chairman of Cancer Research UK. She has served on medical ethics committees, governing bodies in the National Health Service, health charities and regulators, and as a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

In 2006 Baroness Hayman was elected the first ever Lord Speaker in the House of Lords, a position she held until 2011. Like the Speaker in the House of Commons, she resigned party membership and outside interests to concentrate on being an impartial presiding officer. She was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 2012 New Year’s Honours for her services to the House of Lords. She is currently a member of the General Medical Council, chair of the board of Cambridge University Health Partners, and a Trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee, and has an increasing interest in health issues in developing countries.

Dame Patricia Hodgson (2012)

Dame Patricia Hodgson, MA, DBE (NC 1965)

Dame Patricia Hodgson is a graduate of Newnham College in History (NC 1965), and was Principal of the College from 2006-12. She is a Board member of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, the AI Council and the Science & Technical Facilities Research Council. She recently chaired Policy Exchange’s Commission on the Reform of Government. She was previously Chair of Ofcom, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and Senior Independent Non-Executive Member of the Competition Commission.

In her executive career, Patricia was a producer at the BBC, a main board Director, leading on strategy, policy and the BBC’s switch to digital, before becoming Chief Executive of the Independent Television Commission. She has served on the Statistics Commission, HEFCE, The Wellcome Trust and the Committee for Standards in Public Life.

Professor Brigid Hogan (2001)

Brigid Hogan, PhD, FRS (NC 1961)

Brigid Hogan is a graduate of Newnham in Natural Sciences (NC 1961, MA and PhD 1968), and former Associate, the recipient of the 1964 Caroline Turle Scholarship, 1965 Balfour Studentship, 1966 Bathurst Studentship and the Wheldale Onslow Prize.

After holding research fellowships first at Sussex University and then at MIT, she was appointed Lecturer in Biochemistry at Sussex University. She became Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, firstly at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and then at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research. In 1988 she was appointed Hortense B Ingram Professor at the Department of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical School and an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. During her time at Vanderbilt she organised a summer programme for Cambridge women undergraduates in biological sciences, mostly from Newnham, to carry out research projects.

In 2001 she was elected to Fellowships both of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of The Royal Society, London, and in 2005 was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences (US). She is currently the George Barth Geller Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, the first woman there to chair a basic sciences department. She received the sixth International Society for Transgenic Technologies Prize in 2008, and in 2014 delivered the Croonian Lecture at the Royal Society, the premier lecture in biological sciences.

The Baroness Mallalieu QC (1991)

Professor Brenda Milner (1990)

Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger (2016)

Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger DBE, BA, MA (NC 1969)

Baroness Neuberger, who was Britain’s second female rabbi and the first to have her own synagogue, is now a Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue.

She regularly appears on the Pause for Thought programme on BBC Radio 2 and is a published author. She read Oriental Studies at Newnham College (Associate 1983–96) and completed a Rabbinic Diploma at Leo Baeck College, London (Lecturer and Associate Fellow 1979–97).

She has chaired an NHS Trust, the Patients Association, the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity and the Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway for Dying Patients, been Prime Minister’s Champion for Volunteering and a Civil Service Commissioner, and was Chief Executive of the King’s Fund 1997–2004. She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster 1994–2000 and Bloomberg Professor of Divinity at Harvard in 2006.

She was appointed DBE in 2004 and she was created a Life Peer in the same year. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Cambridge in June 2015.

Professor Mary Beth Norton (2019)

Mary Beth Norton is an historian, specializing in America before 1800. She is a recipient of the Ambassador Book Award in American Studies for In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities, US & Canada and was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for History (1997).

She has received four honorary degrees and has held fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Mellon, and Starr Foundations, as well as from Princeton University and the Huntington Library. She has been elected a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

She served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions in the University of Cambridge in 2005-06.

She is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at the Department of History at Cornell University. Mary Beth serves as president of the American Historical Association in 2018. She is currently the president of the 12,000-member American Historical Association; and she has just completed writing a book titled 1774: Year of Revolution, which will be published by Alfred A. Knopf.

The status of Honorary Fellow was conferred upon Mary Beth Norton on 10 March 2019.

The Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve (2006)

Onora O’Neill, Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, MA, PhD, CH, CBE, FBA, FMedSci, HON FRS, (NC Principal 1992-2006)

Onora O’Neill combines work in political philosophy and ethics with public activities. She  was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992-2006, and  has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2000.  She has served as President of the British Academy, chaired the Nuffield Foundation and the   Equality and Human Rights Commission, and has served on the Medical Research Council and the Banking Standards Board. She publishes on justice and ethics, accountability and trust, human rights and borders, the future of universities and the ethics of communication.

Sue Owen (2017)

Sue Owen, CB, BA, MA, MSc Econ (Cardiff) (NC 1973)

Sue Owen read economics at Newnham before entering an academic career as research fellow and then lecturer in Economics at University College, Cardiff, focussing on women in the labour market. She entered the civil service in 1989, holding a number of economic adviser posts at HM Treasury before her appointment as Assistant Secretary for EU Co-ordination and Strategy in 1995.

In 1998 she advised on family policy for the Number 10 Policy Unit, introducing paternity leave, and the following year became Counsellor Economic for the British Embassy in Washington. From 2002 she was Director, EMU Policy, Euro Preparations and Debt Management for HM Treasury where she led on the decision not to join the euro, and on financing the national debt. She represented the UK as alternate member of the EU Economic and Finance Committee. From 2006-2013 she held three successive Director General posts: first for Corporate Performance (Department for International Development), then for Welfare and Wellbeing and for Strategy (both in the Department of Work and Pensions).

In October 2013 she was appointed Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the department responsible for the contribution of the arts, sport, tourism, creative industries and media. DCMS now covers the digital, data and telecoms sectors. She is also the Civil Service LGBT Straight ally Champion and the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Champion. She is the 27th woman to become a Permanent Secretary and the first from Newnham.

From 2006-2016 Sue was a Newnham Associate, an Associate Fellow (2011-2014) and President of the Associates (2014-2016). She is an Honorary Associate, and founder of the Newnham in Whitehall Group.

Dame Fiona Reynolds (2008)

Dame Fiona Reynolds, CBE, DBE, MA, MPHIL, HON FBA, Hon ScD (NC 1976)

Dame Fiona Reynolds is graduate of Newnham in Geography (NC 1976) and an MPhil in Land Economy (NC 1980), and is currently Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, having been elected in 2012, the first female Master in its 430-year history.

Prior to this, she was for twelve years Director-General of the National Trust, updating the structures, management and operations of one of the country’s best-known institutions, and leading it to a new, more welcoming approach to its four million members. She was previously Director of the Cabinet Office Women’s Unit (1998-2000), and Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (1992-98), one of the most active and effective environmental organisations in the UK.

In addition to her role as Master of Emmanuel College, Dame Fiona is a Senior Independent Director of the BBC Executive Board, a non-executive director of Wessex Water, Chair of the Green Alliance and of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden syndicate. Her considerable contribution to environmental politics has been recognised by the award of a CBE in 1998 and then by a DBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2008. She has also received a Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environment Programme (1990), which recognises and honours environmental and humanitarian achievement.

Joyce Reynolds (1984)

Joyce Reynolds, MA, FSA, FBA, Hon DLitt

Joyce Reynolds read Greats at Oxford, became a wartime civil servant in the Board of Trade, where she was involved in research and argument for the implementation of findings, and then Rome Scholar (1946-48), studying inscribed texts as sources of information on Roman history, collecting hitherto unrecorded inscriptions in Libya (Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania).

She was Lecturer in Ancient History at King’s College, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (1948-51), Director of Studies in Classics at Newnham (1951-83), a University Lecturer in Classics (1957-83), and from 1983 until retirement in 1984 Reader in the Epigraphy of the Roman World. Meanwhile, and after retirement, she regularly collected new texts in Libya, in Turkey, and occasionally elsewhere. Two of her collections, one from Cyrenaica in Libya and one from Aphrodisias, are now published online by King’s College, London, organised by one of her former Newnham students.

She has been President of the Society for Roman Studies, and of the Society for Libyan Studies, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (1953) and was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal in 2004, a Fellow of the British Academy (1982), an Honorary Doctor of Letters in the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1984), and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, as well as of Newnham. For her 70th birthday her old Newnham pupils published a volume, Images of Authority, as a tribute to her encouragement of their careers.

The University of Cambridge conferred the title of the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa upon her on 20 June 2018.

Professor Dame Alison Richard (2010)

Professor Dame Alison Richard, DBE, DL (NC 1966)

Professor Dame Alison Richard graduated from Newnham with a First in Archaeology and Anthropology in 1969, for which she received the College Prize. She completed her doctorate at King’s College London before moving to Yale University in 1972 to pursue her academic career. She was appointed Professor of Anthropology in 1986 and in 1990 received a joint appointment as Professor of Environmental Studies in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

In 1992 she became Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, one of the most important university natural history collections, and in 1994 was appointed Provost of Yale, the University’s chief academic and administrative officer.

She returned to Cambridge in 2003 as the 344th Vice-Chancellor of the University and the first female Vice-Chancellor since the post became full-time; she was elected a Professorial Fellow of Newnham College while she held the post. During her tenure as Vice-Chancellor she launched and completed a billion-pound fundraising campaign, the largest ever for a UK University. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen’s 2010 Birthday Honours for services to education.

Dame Alison currently serves on the Boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and of WWF International, and is an adviser to the Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Arcadia Foundation and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. For over thirty years she has worked collaboratively to establish and conserve a nature reserve in southwest Madagascar, to sponsor training and research by students from the region and elsewhere, and to enhance socio-economic opportunities for people living in and around the forest.

Professor Pat Simpson (2014)

Professor Pat Simpson, BSC, PhD, FRS

Professor Pat Simpson, BSC (Southampton), PhD (Paris VI), FRS was Professor of Comparative Biology at the University of Cambridge from 2003 until 2010 and Director of Research for 2010/11. She is now Professor Emeritus of Comparative Embryology. She was awarded the Silver medal of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1993 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000.

In 2008 she was awarded the Waddington Medal in developmental biology, her peers’ recognition of her outstanding research performance and her services to the scientific community. She held a Newnham Fellowship in Category D from 2000 to 2003 and again for 2010/11, and a Professorial Fellowship from 2003 until 2010. She was elected to the privileges of a Fellow Emerita by the Governing Body in 2011.

Dr Ali Smith (2019)

Ali Smith CBE FRSL

Ali Smith is a Scottish author, playwright, academic and journalist who is resident in Cambridge.

She took a joint degree in English language and literature at the University of Aberdeen 1980-85, coming first in her class in 1982 and gaining a top first in Senior Honours English in 1984. She then studied for a PhD in American and Irish Modernism at Newnham 1985-90.

In 1990, she was appointed a lecturer in Scottish, English and American literature at the University of Strathclyde, then returned to live in Cambridge in 1992 to concentrate on her writing. In 1995, she published her first book Free Love and Other Stories, which won the Satire First Book of the Year and Scottish Arts Council Book Award.

Since then, she has published a number of collections of short stories, plays and novels, including: Hotel World (2001), The Accidental (2005), both of which were shortlisted for the Orange and Man Booker Prizes; How to Be Both (2014), which won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Novel Award of the Costa Books Awards, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; and she embarked on the sequence of ‘seasons’ novels beginning with Autumn (2016), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2007, Ali Smith was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed CBE in 2015 for services to literature.  In 2015, she was elected Honorary Fellow by Goldsmith’s University of London, and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East Anglia.

Professor Elizabeth Thompson (2013)

Professor Elizabeth Thompson, MA, PhD, ScD (NC 1967)

Professor Elizabeth Thompson completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Newnham (BA 1970, MA, PhD 1974), holding many College prizes, scholarships and studentships. After postdoctoral research at Stanford University, she moved to King’s College firstly as a Research Fellow and then as a Fellow and Financial Tutor. She was appointed University Lecturer in the Statistical Laboratory from 1976, and in 1981 returned to Newnham as a Fellow and Director of Studies in Mathematics.

In 1985 she moved to the United States to take up a Professorship in the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, a department which she chaired from 1989-1994 and from 2011-2014. Her distinguished research in statistical genetics has been recognised by an ScD from the University of Cambridge (1988), the inaugural Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research from the National Institute for Statistical Science (2001), the Weldon Prize for contributions to Biometry from the University of Oxford (2001), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2002-3), a Rothschild Visiting Professorship at Cambridge (2006), and a National Institutes of Health MERIT award (2008-2017). She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the US National Academy of Sciences. She is currently (2015) President-elect of the International Biometric Society.

Dame Emma Thompson (1996)

Dame Emma Thompson DBE is a British actress, screenwriter, activist, author, and comedian. One of the UK’s most acclaimed actresses, she is known for her portrayals of enigmatic women, often in period dramas and literary adaptations, and playing matronly characters with a sense of wit. She is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, three BAFTA Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Thompson was educated at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, where she became a member of the Footlights troupe. After appearing in several comedy programmes, she first came to prominence in 1987 in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti and Fortunes of War.

In 1992, Thompson won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for the period drama Howards End. In 1993, she garnered dual Academy Award nominations for her roles in The Remains of the Day .Thompson scripted and starred in Sense and Sensibility (1995), which earned her numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, which makes her the only person to receive Academy Awards for both acting and writing, and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress.
Thompson is married to actor Greg Wise, with whom she lives in London. They have one daughter and one son. She is an activist in the areas of human rights and environmentalism and has received criticism for her outspokenness. She has written two books adapted from The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours by Elizabeth II for her services to drama.

Professor Janet Todd (2015)

Professor Janet Todd, OBE, PHD (NC 1961)

Professor Janet Todd (née Dakin) was a Newnham undergraduate (1961) who went on from her time here to become an internationally-renowned scholar of 18th-century literature. She describes herself as having spent ‘most of [her] life…in women’s education, beginning…at Newnham and concluding it at Lucy Cavendish’, becoming the seventh President of the latter College in 2008. She has studied in the UK and US, and taught in both countries as well as in Puerto Rico and in Ghana. She co-founded the MA in Life-Writing at the University of East Anglia and is an emerita Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen.

Her work has been particularly influential in shaping the study of women writers and the representation of women in literature. She compiled the first encyclopaedia of British and American women writers of the long eighteenth century and edited many individual authors; she has most recently been General Editor of the nine-volume Cambridge Jane Austen. She has written critical studies of feminist literary history and is the biographer of Aphra Behn and three linked women: the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, her tragic eldest daughter, and her eccentric aristocratic Irish pupils. She is the co-founder of the journal Women’s Writing and organiser of many conferences and festivals, most recently Women’s Word at Lucy Cavendish College and a celebration of the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice. She has been President of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and is a Patron of Chawton House Library. In 2013 she was awarded an OBE for her services to higher education and literary scholarship. She has two children and two grandsons. She hopes to write novels from now onwards.

Janet can be contacted via her Cambridge email on jt272@cam.ac.uk.

Sandi Toksvig (2016)

Sandi Toksvig, OBE, MA, Hon PhD

Sandi Toksvig is a Cambridge alumna who wrote and performed in the first all-women Footlights show. After she graduated with a first-class degree in Archaeology and Anthropology and Law, she performed at the famous Comedy Store in London before branching out into acting and presenting.

She has been a panellist on a number of TV quiz and game shows and has only recently stepped down from chairing Radio 4’s News Quiz. She will become the first female presenter of a mainstream TV comedy show when she replaces Stephen Fry on QI.

Sandi is also a columnist and has written very well-received plays, novels and stage shows. She has been involved with charities working for civil liberties, human rights and women’s education, and is currently Chancellor of Portsmouth University.

She jointly founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015, and is the current president of the Women of the Year.

Claire Tomalin (2003)

Claire Tomalin, MA, Hon LittD (NC 1951)

Claire Tomalin (née Delavenay) is a graduate of Newnham in English (NC 1951, MA 1960), recipient of the 1954 Basil Champneys Prize and a former Associate. After graduating she began a career in publishing, working as a reader for several years before becoming Literary Editor of the New Statesmen and later the Sunday Times.

She married Nicholas Tomalin in 1955, had four children and was widowed before publishing her first book in 1974, a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft which received the Whitbread First Book award. Her later works, all historical biographies, have been translated into many languages and won numerous awards, including the double achievement of winning both the 2002 Whitbread Biography prize and the Book of the Year prize for her biography of Samuel Pepys.

She has organised exhibitions on Wollstonecraft and the Regency actress Dora Jordan, and made a South Bank Show episode about Thomas Hardy. In 2013 a film was made from her book The Invisible Woman. She served on the Silver Jubilee Committee for the Disabled. She is a Vice-President of the Royal Literary Fund, the Royal Society of Literature and English PEN, is a Fellow of the Wordsworth Trust and served for ten years as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. She has received Honorary Doctorates from eight universities, including Cambridge (2007), and is married to fellow Cantabrigian Michael Frayn (Emmanuel, 1954). She hopes to keep writing to the end.

Professor Rosie Young (1988)

Professor Rosie Young Tse Tse is an Emeritus Professor and an Honorary Clinical Professor at the University of Hong Kong. The University of Hong Kong conferred an honorary doctorate upon Professor Young in 1995.

She is one of the world’s leading authorities in endocrinology, researching in diabetes mellitus, carbohydrate metabolism in liver disease, thyrotoxicosis and thyrotoxic periodic paralysis.

Professor Young holds an MBBS and an MD from the University of Hong Kong. In 1959, she became the first Hong Kong medic to qualify as a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and of Edinburgh (1959). In 1983, she became Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, the first woman to hold the position, and from 1985-1993, she served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Young was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1971, and awarded an OBE in 1987, CBE in 1996, GBS in 2002 and GBM in 2018.

Professor Froma Zeitlin (1988)

Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature, Emeritus.
Periods: Ancient, 20th century
Languages: Greek, Latin, French, Hebrew
Research Interests: Ancient Greek Literature & Culture, gender; visual culture; Holocaust Studies
Froma I. Zeitlin was born in 1933, educated at Radcliffe-Harvard (BA 1954) and Columbia University (PhD 1970), retired from Princeton University in 2010 as the Charles Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature in the Department of Classics and Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature. Additionally, founder and director of the Program in Judaic Studies from 1996–2005. She is a specialist in Greek literature from Homer to Late Antiquity, with particular interests in epic, drama and prose fiction, along with work in gender criticism, as well as the relations between art and text in the context of the visual culture of antiquity. Some of her publications also include essays on Holocaust literature, a topic she has taught regularly for the department of Comparative Literature

Deceased Honorary Fellows

  • Professor Jan Anderson, MSc, PhD, FAA, FRS, FDhc (2002)
  • Dame Margaret Anstee (NC 1944), DCMG, MA, BSC, DU, Hon LLD, Hon DSc (Econ) (1991)
  • Professor Beglan Birand Togrol, BA, MA, PhD (1992)
  • Sheila Browne, CB, MA, Hon DLitt, Hon LLD (1992; Principal, 1983-92)
  • Nora Chadwick, CBE, FSA, FBA (NC 1910) (1958)
  • Ruth Cohen, CBE, MA, Hon LittD, (1973; Principal, 1954-72)
  • Dame Myra Curtis, DBE (1954; Principal 1942-54)
  • Nora David, Baroness David, JP, MA (1986)
  • Professor Phyllis Deane, MA, FBA, Hon DLitt (1983)
  • Dr Rhoda Dorsey, MA, PhD, Hon LLM (1998)
  • E Valerie Eliot, Hon DLitt (1991)
  • Gertrude Elles, MBE (NC 1891) (1951)
  • Jean Floud, CBE, MA, Hon LittD (1983; Principal, 1973-82)
  • Professor Sylvia Frey (1999)
  • Dame Elisabeth Frink, CH, DBE, RA, Hon LittD (1986)
  • Dorothy Hodgkin, OM, Hon ScD, FRS (1981)
  • Florence Keynes (NC 1878) (1954)
  • Professor Dharma Kumar, MA, PhD (1992)
  • Dame Elizabeth Lane, DBE (1986)
  • Dame J. Iris Murdoch, DBE, MA, Hon DLitt (NC 1947) (1986)
  • Jessye Norman, BMus (Howard), MMus (Michigan), Hon DMus (1989)
  • Audrey Richards, CBE, FBA (NC 1918) (1966)
  • Dame Enid Russell-Smith, DBE, MA (NC 1922) (1974)
  • Dame Cicely Saunders, OM, DBE, FRCS, FRCP, FRCN, Hon LLD (1986)
  • Nancy Seear, Baroness Seear, PC, BA, Hon DLitt (NC 1932) (1983)
  • Lady Mary Stewart, MA, DLitt (1986)
  • Dr Grace Thornton, LVO, OBE, CBE, FRSA, PhD (NC 1932) (1982)
  • Jocelyn Toynbee (NC 1916) (1963)
  • Enid Welsford (NC 1911) (1967)
  • Margaret Weston, DBE, BscEng (London) FIET, FMA, FRSA, FIC, NNucl 
  • Professor Dorothy Whitelock, CBE, FBA (NC 1921, Professorial Fellow 1957-69) (1970)
  • The Rt Hon Baroness Williams, PC, MA, Hon LLD