St Edmund's College, Cambridge
|Colleges of the University of Cambridge
St Edmund's College
|Founders||Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk and Baron Anatole von Hügel|
|Named after||Edmund of Abingdon|
|Previously named||St. Edmund's House|
|Admission||Men and women aged 21 or over|
|Master||Prof. J Paul Luzio|
|Sister college||Green Templeton College, Oxford|
|Per Revelationem et Rationem
(Latin, "Through revelation and reason")
|Boat Club website|
Saint Edmund's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is the second oldest of the four Cambridge colleges oriented to mature students, which only accept students reading for either Masters or Doctorate degrees, or undergraduate degrees if they are aged 21 or older, the oldest being Hughes Hall, and the others being Wolfson College and Lucy Cavendish College (additionally, Darwin College and Clare Hall admit graduate students only). Over three-quarters of St Edmund's students are studying towards higher degrees, usually the PhD, MPhil or LLM degrees. The college is named after St Edmund of Abingdon (1175–1240) who was the first known Oxford Master of Arts, and Archbishop of Canterbury 1234–1240.
The college, affectionately referred to as Eddie's, is located about 15 minutes' walk northwest of the centre of Cambridge, near Lucy Cavendish and the other hill colleges. Its campus is a garden setting on the edge of Roman Cambridge, with housing for over 300 students.
History and Buildings
St Edmund's House was founded in 1896 by Henry Fitzalan Howard, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, and Baron Anatole von Hügel as an institution catering for Roman Catholic students at the University of Cambridge. After Catholic Emancipation, in particular after the repeal of Test Acts in 1873, students who were Roman Catholics were finally admitted as members of the University. In its early days the college functioned predominantly as a lodging house, or residential hall of residence, for students who were matriculated at other colleges. Most of the students, at that time, were ordained Catholic priests who were reading various subjects offered by the University.
Attempts to make St Edmund's House into a fully-fledged constituent college were made at various times after foundation, but were met by continuing hostility by the predominantly Protestant body of Cambridge MAs, graduates of the University who had the right to vote in the Senate House. These occasions often involved masses of MAs (who otherwise had only a tenuous connection with the University) congregating to Cambridge to scupper any attempt to uphold what they believed was a "papist" institution. One of the insider jokes, referring to an unsuccessful attempt by St Edmund's to get official recognition from the University, ran as follows: Two Cambridge MAs meet on a train. One of them asks: "Where are you going?" Answers the other: "I'm going to bury St Edmund's!"
Meanwhile, the development of the college continued. The Chapel was consecrated in 1916. A new dining hall was constructed in 1939. The membership of the college increased steadily. The college was now a recognized "House of Residence" in the University.
In 1950 the University decided to establish several colleges catering primarily to postgraduate students. St Edmund's House was accepted as one of the graduate colleges in the University, although today it also admits mature and affiliated undergraduates. The college was finally permitted to matriculate its own students, and new Fellows were elected. In 1975 it acquired the status of "Approved Foundation", in 1986 the name was changed from "St Edmund's House" to "St Edmund's College", and in 1996 it finally received full Collegiate status. The College was granted its Royal Charter in 1998. The college now accepts students of all faiths and none; the Catholic character of the foundation is, however, still reflected in the Chapel, which is unique amongst all Colleges of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in following the historic Roman Catholic tradition.
The College continues to grow. In 2000 a new block of residential buildings housing 50 students was opened, named after Richard Laws, one of the former masters. In 2006, two new residential buildings, including rooms for 70 students as well as accommodation for married couples, were opened; these were named after the then Master of the College Sir Brian Heap and the Vice-Master Geoffrey Cook. These are among the most attractive student residences in Cambridge.
Character and Features
St Edmund's is among the most international colleges of the university, with students from over 70 countries (2008-2009 academic year). The full spectrum of academic subjects is represented in the college. The Fellowship of the college (academic staff) represents many academic disciplines, spread across arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, and veterinary medicine.
The college boasts two research institutes: the Von Hügel Institute founded in 1987 to carry out research on Catholic Social Teaching; and the Faraday Institute which explores the relationship between religion and science. The Von Hügel Institute is another link with the Roman Catholic origins of the college.
The college is less formal than many of the older, more traditional colleges of the university. Although Fellows at most colleges dine at a 'High Table' (separately from the students), St Edmund's has no such division, and undergraduates, postgraduates and Fellows mix over dinner and other social activities.
The College has a sporting tradition, and a Boat Club. In recent years members have competed in varsity teams representing Cambridge University in a wide variety of sports, most notably, at The Boat Race and The Varsity Match.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Chancellor Emeritus of Cambridge University, is an Honorary Fellow. He officially opened three new college buildings on Monday 8 October 2007.
Professor Sir (Robert) Brian Heap CBE FRS is a biologist who was the Master of the College from 1996 until 2004. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989, and held the post of Royal Society Vice President and Foreign Secretary from 1996 to 2001.
Norman St John-Stevas, Baron St John of Fawsley legal scholar, former master of Emmanuel College, and Leader of the House of Commons under Margaret Thatcher was a resident at St Edmund's House for his undergraduate studies in late 1940s and early 1950s. During his time he was the president of the Union Society.
Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, historian, and great-grandson of Lord Acton
Archbishop Peter Smith, Metropolitan Archbishop of Southwark (London) is an Honorary Fellow.
- Garret Sweeney, St Edmund's House, Cambridge: The First Eighty Years, Cambridge, 1980 (ISBN 0-9507177-0-3)
- Michael Walsh, St. Edmund's College, Cambridge. 1896-1996: A Commemorative History, Cambridge, 1996 (ISBN 0-9507177-1-1)
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