New scholars to be greeted at welcome dinner

  • September 30, 2010
New scholars to be greeted at welcome dinner

Dr Gordon Johnson hands over the role of Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust at a welcome dinner for new scholars tonight.

New Gates scholars arriving at Cambridge will be welcomed at an official dinner given by the new Provost this evening.

The 78 new scholars, from 22 countries ranging from El Salvador to China, will be greeted by both the departing Provost Dr Gordon Johnson and the incoming one, Professor Robert Lethbridge, at the first ever new scholars dinner.

Professor Lethbridge, who hopes the dinner will become an annual event, also plans a valedictory event for departing scholars, which he says will serve “to contextualise what it means to be a Gates scholar”. 

The dinner takes place tonight at Fitzwilliam College where Professor Lethbridge is Master. It will mark the official handing over of the role of Provost. Dr Johnson, who will also be standing down as President of Wolfson College this month, has been Provost since the scholarship programme was founded in 2000 following a $210 million endowment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The first 150 scholars from 50 countries came into residence in 2001.

Ten years later there are nearly 1,000 Gates scholars from 90 countries.

The Vice-Chancellor Alison Richard paid tribute to the programme, saying: “I would like to take this opportunity to both welcome Robert and thank Gordon for his dedication to the Gates scholarship programme over the past 10 years. We now have a network of exceptional Gates alumni spread across the world. Many are wonderful ambassadors for both the University and the Trust and are doing work which reflects the scholarship’s aim to encourage exceptionally able students who want not only to reach the highest level in their studies but to transform the world for the better.”

In his speech at the dinner, Professor Lethbridge will stress that the continuities and future development of the Gates Cambridge Trust are grounded in the founding labours of Dr Johnson.

He will also use the occasion to thank others whose work for the Trust is coming to an end: Anne Lonsdale and Baroness Onora O’Neill, Trustees since the beginning; Executive Officer Hilary Perrot and Honorary Treasurer Nicholas Branson.

Dr Johnson, an expert on the history of India, will devote the next two years to his role as President of the Royal Asiatic Society and to writing a book on contemporary Cambridge as well as to his research.

*This year’s new intake of scholars include: Alexander Vail, Yen-Chun Chen, Lucy Burgchardt, Mohammed Ghassemi and Matthew Tasker, all of whom are featured in case studies on this site.

Latest News

How can we strengthen political legitimacy in a polarised world?

Three Scholars debate how we can strengthen political legitimacy in a polarised world in the latest episode of the Gates Cambridge podcast, out today. Promise Frank Ejiofor [2022] who is doing a PhD in Development Studies, Ayala Panievsky [2018], a journalist and PhD student in  Sociology and political neuroscientist Leor Zmigrod explore the psychological and […]

Towards better public service delivery in Pakistan

Rafi Kakar [2024] is keen to contribute to better public service delivery and development outcomes in Pakistan by employing a research approach that blends theory with the realities of public policymaking. He believes that the devolution of social sectors to the provinces in 2010 has created both challenges and opportunities for governance reforms and improvements […]

Using virtual reality in the service of stroke recovery

Brielle Stark [2012] is pioneering new ways of approaching the language problems faced by stroke patients. She was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research in Australia, starting in Spring 2025. She will be moving to Australia to work with her long-time colleague Dr Lucy Bryant at the University of Technology Sydney on […]

The ethical implications of AI

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars address the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence and the need for ethics to keep up with the pace of change in AI in the fourth episode of the Gates Cambridge podcast, So, now what? out today [30th May]. The episode, featuring Andreas Vlachos, Kerry McInerney and Richard Diehl Martinez was hosted […]