Robinson College News
August 2020

What's happening at Robinson and how you can join in


Admissions 2020

The Robinson community’s concern for the difficult situation in which our offer holders have found themselves this year has been very clear, and the messages we've received articulating the positive impact of Robinson on the lives of our alumni have been extremely moving. 

We have done our best to respond to these messages individually, outlining the situation as transparently as possible. Our Admissions Tutors were also in regular contact with offer-holders and their schools, ensuring that all relevant information was gathered and the offer-holders were well informed.

Ultimately there were 22 individuals impacted by the revision to A level grades and, upon receiving formal confirmation of the revised grades, 14 met the conditions of their original offer, while 8 students unfortunately missed the required grades. The latter group still have the opportunity to sit the examinations in autumn and if they successfully meet the grades then they will be guaranteed a place in 2021.

As a College, we were very pleased to be able to offer a place for all 14 of the successful offer-holders for 2020. However, a small number of medicine students were asked to defer by the department (and have agreed to do so). There were around a dozen medics across the whole University in this position, and in deciding places for 2020 the Central Admissions Office prioritised any individuals with disabilities or a Widening Participation case.

Overall, Robinson have confirmed a slightly larger intake than normal, with 120 freshers scheduled to arrive in 2020. We are very much looking to welcoming these students to the College and have been working very hard to ensure that the College environment meets all safety requirements.

We extend our thanks once again to Robinson's wider community for their support.

A portrait photograph of Suzanne Jacob

Graduation Day, virtually different

No gowns, no procession down to the Senate House, no group photos and no sandwiches and cakes in the summer glory of Robinson's gardens. This year our graduating students celebrated the end of their student life in Cambridge in the safety of their homes surrounded by their families. For the first time in the history of our College, Graduation Day was celebrated online with live addresses from the Warden, the Senior Tutor and the Robinson College Student Association. A recording of these live addresses can be watched via YouTube here. The Class of 2020 recorded a farewell song I Know I'll Miss You Robinson, which can be watched here. As soon as it's safe to do so the College will welcome our graduands back to Cambridge to say a postponed goodbye in person. Until then we wish them all the very best of luck as they embark on their bright futures.

Honorary Fellow Dr Ondrej Krivanek has been awarded the 2020 Kavli Prize for Nanoscience, "for sub-ångström resolution imaging and chemical analysis using electron beams". Read more about Dr Krivanek's work on electron microscope imagining here
Third Year History undergraduate, Owen Dowling, has won The Peter Peckard Memorial Prize. The Prize is awarded every year by Magdalene College for an essay or a similar composition on "some egregious form of human exploitation in the world today and the actions needed to eliminate it". Owen has been recognised with the first prize for his submission entitled 'The Political Economy of Super-Exploitation in Congolese Mineral Mining'.

Owen Buchan, a Fourth Year Engineering undergraduate, has been awarded the prestigious ISTAT Foundation Scholarship for 2020. This schlarship is awarded annually to academically-qualified students pursuing an aviation-related degree. Please read more here.

Tiara Ataii, a Fourth Year MML undergraduate student, has been named as a finalist for The Undergraduate of the Year Award for Impactful Social Action 2020 with Clifford Chance. The final will be held virtually with Rachel Riley as host on Friday 4 September. Good luck Tiara! Please read more here.

A group of students sitting in the room looking at the camera
Robinson Access and Outreach: A Year in Review
Robinson's Access and Outreach team has faced uprecedented challanges in the 2019-20 Academic Year. Unable to carry out face-to-face events our Admissions team has worked very hard to ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds received complete and comprehensive support. This support is vital in encouraging those students to apply to Robinson and Cambridge. Read more about Robinson's Admissions mission here.
A portrait photograph of Reverend dr Simon Perry looking at the camera
Robinson's College Chaplain vs. COVID-19
With the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing Lockdown, the work and the working environment of Robinson College Chaplain did not stay unaffected. Reverend Dr Simon Perry had to remodel his face-to-face support to the College community into a virtual engagement. The usual pastoral support now focused on families and friends, or other members of the College, rather than students. With the situation still unclear what may and may not be possible in terms of Chapel Services during the forthcoming Michaelmas term, the Chaplaincy needs to adjust to these new circumstances. Read more here.
Travel Essay Prizes for 2018-2019
Each year the College invites its students to take part in the Travel Essay Competition. Students submit their accounts of their real or fictitious journeys in space and time, and some of the stories are truly out of this world! In 2018 - 2019 the judges awarded two prizes to Drew Chateau (Law, 2018) for The science behind travelling alone as a black woman, and to Tiara Ataii (MML, 2016) for Across Border Lines: A Long weeknd in Lebanon. Enjoy reading them!

Getting ready for Michaelmas 2020 issue

The current Easter 2020 issue of Bin Brook, featuring stories of Law at Robinson and beyond, is available on-line. The Michaelmas 2020 issue will be devoted to the performing arts in College life and in the lives of our alumni community. If you would like to share your experiences of being invloved with theatre, film or music at Robinson, or if you have pursued a career in the field since then, please get in touch via email to .

A group of student callers from the 2019 Telephone campaign standing on the bridge over the brook in the college gardensRobinsonians from around the world rally to support #RobinsonPeople
In June the Warden wrote to Robinson alumni and friends asking for their help to support Robinson’s people during the Coronavirus crisis. The response has been incredible, and so far the Appeal has raised a fabulous £143,013 in donations and pledges which will help Robinson lessen the impact of this pandemic on its students and staff. We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of our donors - thank you! Every gift makes a difference, but there is one particularly exciting donation: an anonymous Robinsonian wanted to make a difference to our Appeal and has very generously offered to match the first £1,000 of every donation to the Emergency Fund, up to a total of £31,000. Gifts to projects that support students are also eligible for matched funding from the Harding Challenge Fund, so that the University can do even more for all undergraduates in need. It's not too late to contribute to the appeal, and if you haven't yet done so you can make a gift here.

Robinson calling!

The the Annual Telephone Campaign is a key date in the College's calendar and over the years the Campaign has raised in excess of £1m. 2020 is a year like no other, but despite logistical constraints, our team of 13 students are looking forward to speaking to our alumni and friends between the 14th and 28th September, sharing experiences of life at Robinson and asking for their support. 

This year the focus of the fundraising will be on student wellbeing. The Coronavirus pandemic has had serious repercussions on our students, both on their finances and and on theri mental and physical health. Donations received during this campaign will enable us to expand the work that we are doing to support our students so that they can make the most of every opportunity a Cambridge education offers. 

For more information on the Campaign and to meet the 2020 Calling Team, please follow this link.


Beyond COVID-19: The Future of Medicine. 4-5pm on Saturday 26 September

As part of our virtual alumni reunion, Robinson is hosting a live webinar on Saturday 26 September at 4pm. Beyond COVID-19: the Future of Medicine will bring together a panel of three speakers who read Medicine at Robinson. Professor Wendy Barclay, Professor Adam Fox and Professor John O'Brien will be talking to our host Dr Judith Richards about life at Robinson and their respective careers in infectious disease, dementia and old-age depression, and paediatric allergy. The panel discussion forms part of the University's Alumni Festival, and you can find out more about this event and register to participate here.

On 19th September two Robinsonians will be presenting as part of the Alumni Festival:

Read more about the Festival here.

Our programme of events has been postponed temporarily owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government restrictions and recommendations. Please keep an eye on the events pages of our website, and on your email inbox, for further news.

Be sure to add our email address to your address book so our emails get to your inbox: or update your personal details.

With very best wishes from all at Robinson,

Sarah, Catherine, Norbert and Helen
Robinson College Development Office