Professor Robert Lethbridge, Master of Fitzwilliam College, is to succeed Dr Gordon Johnson as Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Trustees have announced.
Professor Lethbridge, who has been Master of Fitzwilliam since 3 October 2005, will take up the post on 1 October 2010 during the Trust’s 10th anniversary year.
He has had a long and illustrious career at Cambridge. He obtained his PhD from St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1975, and his first academic post was as Leathersellers’ Teaching Fellow in French at Fitzwilliam. He was Senior Tutor there for the decade 1982-92. In 1994, he was appointed to the Chair of French Language and Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he was successively Head of Department, Dean of the Graduate School and Vice-Principal.
He has been a Life Fellow of Fitzwilliam since 1994. Before his recent return to the College, he was Director of the British Institute in Paris, now renamed as the University of London Institute in Paris. He has also held Visiting Professorships at the University of California at Santa Barbara and at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Alison Richard, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and chair of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “The Trustees are delighted with the appointment of Professor Lethbridge. Under the outstanding leadership of Dr. Gordon Johnson, the Gates Cambridge scholarships have become an integral part of Cambridge life, offering brilliant students from around the world the chance both to pursue their academic interests and to develop their leadership skills. The talent, idealism, and energy of current Gates scholars are formidable, and former scholars are already starting to make their mark on the world. I can think of no finer person than Professor Lethbridge to lead this remarkable programme into its second decade.”
The Gates Cambridge Trust was established in October 2000 as the result of a $210 million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The benefaction created an international scholarship programme to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. The scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding intellectual ability, leadership skills, a good fit with Cambridge and a desire to use their knowledge to improve the lives of others.
Since the inaugural class of Gates Scholars in 2001, there have been 911 Gates scholars from 91 countries. There are usually about 250 Gates Scholars in residence at any one time who are studying the full range of disciplines across the University and who are members of each of the 31 Cambridge Colleges.