Welcome from the Principal

Professor Sir Gordon Duff, MA MD PhD FFPM FRCP FMedSci FRSE was Principal of St Hilda's College until 31 July 2021. Professor Sarah Springman, CBE FREng will take up the post of Principal from 1 February 2022. 

Professor Sir Gordon Duff's welcome message is below.

I feel very honoured to welcome you to St Hilda’s College. I was very happy to return to Oxford, where I was a medical undergraduate at St Peter’s College. I was especially delighted to come to St Hilda’s, a College with an inspiring history and a sparkling future, when I was appointed as Principal in 2014.

It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the St Hilda’s luminaries, pioneers of access for women to the highest levels of scholarship and scientific achievement in this ancient university. Now a fully mixed College, we take pride in our historical legacy and in our continued dedication to promoting broad-reaching inclusivity. St Hilda’s is a real community, based on common goals and shared values. It is a welcoming, supportive, tolerant and happy place with a uniquely beautiful location on the banks of the river Cherwell, overlooking the spires and towers of our world-class university.

All undergraduates and graduates at St Hilda’s contribute to our exciting academic community. I continue to be hugely impressed by the College’s capacity for great achievement across so many important fields of international scholarship and research. We take a ‘big picture’ view of education and preparation for leadership. Our students maintain academic excellence, while also performing superbly in music, drama, sport and charitable activities that serve the local community as well as the wider world. Meanwhile our Fellowship not only teaches our students at the highest level, but also carries out ground-breaking research on a wide range of topics. In any important sphere of discussion, you are likely to find leading participation from St Hilda’s.

My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that all of our students have the best possible support in developing the hallmarks of an Oxford education: love of the intellectual life; tireless curiosity; rigorous intellectual honesty; tolerance; and a drive to make the world better for all. These qualities last a lifetime and prepare our students to take their places at the highest levels in their chosen fields. Students remain part of our College community long after graduation. Our alumnae crop up in the most illustrious circles, using the abilities honed during their time at St Hilda’s to go on with confidence to extraordinary careers and lives.

On reaching St Hilda’s 125th anniversary in 2018, we began a major programme of investment that will 'redefine' St Hilda's. We will transform our accommodation and study facilities, maintain our high levels of support for students, and continue to invest in research. We will ensure that our students’ experience here is second to none. Our aim is to continue to attract the brightest minds to St Hilda’s and to enable them to realise their full intellectual and creative potential, whatever their background. By doing so, we will further strengthen and consolidate St Hilda’s international reputation for outstanding academic performance and leadership across the domains. Our ethos can be summed up as ‘excellence and equality’. I believe that St Hilda’s College, based on our strong heritage, is now very well positioned to pursue and achieve these goals over the decades to come.


Professor Sir Gordon Duff, Principal of St Hilda's College