Welcome from the Acting Principal

11th January 2022

Welcome from the Acting Principal, Dr Georgina Paul, MA, DPhil (Oxon)

St Hilda’s is a very remarkable place. We are a lively community of intellectually curious, talented and engaged people from many different backgrounds who collectively model something rare and wonderful: cohesion and mutual respect in diversity.

Community, mutual respect and consideration have become all the more essential over the last challenging months of the Covid-19 pandemic and I’m proud of the way in which the College has pulled together. All have demonstrated the will to support each other as well as the wider community of which we are a part during this time. Students and staff have shown great determination to pursue their learning and their research objectives even under these most difficult conditions, and our examination results from the last two years are a tribute to our students’ extraordinary dedication and resilience. These are qualities for life!

It was very good to be able to return to in-person teaching last autumn and to welcome our students back to College – or celebrate their arrival here to start their first year – under circumstances that felt more like pre-COVID normality, even if some precautions remained. At the start of the 2020-21 academic year, the first students were able to move into the new College accommodation provided in the Anniversary Building, though at that time our builders were still on the site putting the finishing touches to the new porters’ lodge and St Hilda’s tower. In autumn 2021, having celebrated the formal opening of the Anniversary Building and our riverside Pavilion in grand style, we were able to experience our transformed College site in all its glory, enjoying the wonderful views across Oxford from our roof garden or up and down the river from the vantage point of our beautiful riverside walkway. St Hilda’s College is a college with broad horizons!

You may perhaps be reading this as someone who is thinking of applying to study at Oxford and not yet sure about which college to apply to. If so, take a look around our website, or even better come and visit us on an Open Day, to see if St Hilda’s is the college for you. We think of ourselves as having a quite special atmosphere, forward-looking, forward-thinking, rigorous in our studies while also being sociable, hospitable and supportive where support is needed. We want the College to provide the best possible environment in which to live and work so that you can achieve your best here.

St Hilda’s tutors pride themselves on recognising potential and welcoming students from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, abilities, and nationalities into our community. Coming to study here therefore means becoming part of a College where you learn to get along with very different kinds of people, testing your views against those of fellow-students with quite different life experiences and perhaps coming from quite different cultures. It is an intellectually stimulating environment and one that prepares you for making a successful career in a diverse world.

St Hilda’s has also always had the ethos of seeking to support the development of the whole person. So we are as proud of our students’ achievements in music, literature, sport, politics, humanitarian ventures and community support as we are of their prowess in their research and their learning. Wherever you look in the world, you will find strong-minded, independent, spirited, critically engaged St Hilda’s people at work. And as a St Hilda’s person you become part of that world-wide community for life.

As a St Hilda’s person through and through myself, I feel very privileged to be serving as Acting Principal for the period before our Principal-Elect Professor Sarah Springman takes up office on 1 February 2022.