Meet the Master of Magdalene
Sir Christopher Greenwood, Master of Magdalene
Dear Members and friends,
It is a great pleasure to introduce myself since I assumed office as Master last week. As many of you know, I was an undergraduate and postgraduate at Magdalene, then a Fellow for many years. I am delighted to be back at the College. Under Rowan’s leadership Magdalene has gone from strength to strength both academically and in all other fields of endeavour. Only a global pandemic stopped the first boat from going head of the river in the Mays!
You will appreciate that the first priority at present is coping with the COVID-19 crisis and the rapidly changing regulations about that which we can and cannot do in the way of teaching and social gatherings. Many of you will have seen in the press that there was a dramatic change of position by the Government regarding the A-level results. The consequence was that significantly more offer-holders met the requirements of their offers than is normally the case. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the admissions team and the bursary staff, however, we have been able to admit all of those whose predicted grades met the standard required and to find them accommodation in College. It is a matter of pride that we have not had to ask anyone to defer admission to next year (though a few have chosen to do so) and we have been able to welcome the largest intake Magdalene has ever had (128 first year undergraduates).
COVID-19 regulations on social distancing meant that welcomes could not take the normal form. The Matriculation Dinner and the dinner for new postgraduate students had to be postponed and the Master’s welcome talk had to be repeated nine times so that students did not gather in numbers exceeding the permitted levels. Our students – new and returning – have been wonderful in accommodating themselves to these restrictions and together I hope we can overcome the challenges which the pandemic has presented.
University lectures this term will be online and supervisions will be a mixture of in person and online teaching. That will enable us to make the best use of the resources which we have and avoid, for example, the impossibility of trying to teach languages when everyone is required to wear a mask in the supervision room! I hope that this way we can combine a proper regard for everyone’s safety, compliance with the law and the highest standards. I remain determined to ensure that we give all our students the best Magdalene education and community life that is possible in the circumstances.
Sadly, COVID-19 also precludes us from holding any reunions or other in person alumni events this term but we hope to resume them as soon as possible and I very much look forward to welcoming Members back to Magdalene in the near future. It will be a particular pleasure for me – and for my wife – to see old friends and old students again. When that time comes, I promise that you will find Magdalene as warm and welcoming as ever.