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We are delighted to announce the new Spirit of Somerville Award, which has been initiated by Aaron Maniam (1998, PPE) in honour of Pat Harris, a porter at the Lodge during Aaron’s time as an undergraduate.
Like many of you, Aaron loved his undergraduate years at Somerville. He felt that a big part of that was because of the wonderful and inimitable Pat Harris. As you know, the Porters take care of a mix of things in College life: discipline, security and safety, welfare and watching over the "Lodge" at the entrance of each college. Pat did so much more than that though: she took her pastoral role seriously and really took care of everyone -- students, and even College faculty and staff. She made sure College was a home away from home. Every December, without fail, students found a little slip of paper in their pigeonholes (these were the days before pervasive email!), with one of Pat's original rhyming couplets wishing them a happy Christmas.
This new award fits well into the College’s ethos. As Aaron has said, ‘Somerville was always a space where one could be deeply academic, but also where non-academic qualities like kindness, perseverance, teamwork and tenacity were valued.’ It celebrates the positive citizenship of our students, and the legacy of Pat, and is awarded to current students who are chosen by an award selection committee. We are now looking to endow this initiative for generations of future students!
The first recipients were selected in June - Emily Louise (History 2017) and Aleksandra Rutkowska (MSt History of Art and Visual Culture, 2017). Emily was nominated by Steve Rayner, Senior Tutor. She chose to apply to Somerville after the 2016 Somerville Roadshow visited her school, with Steve noting that ‘Emily is now putting energy and dedication into encouraging other prospective students from non-traditional backgrounds to choose Oxford and Somerville. We are very proud of her.” Alek was nominated by Connor Scott, president of the MCR, who stated that she was a key member of the MCR, providing essential welfare support to its members. (L-R: Alek, Pat, Emily & Aaron)
The award selection committee felt that both Emily and Alek had made such a strong contribution to Somerville this year that they could not choose between them, and decided to make a joint award, with the two students receiving £300 each.
We are delighted to have received funding to cover the award for the next few years, but we need YOUR help to fully endow it for future generations, which will cost in the region of £13,500. All donations are greatly received and will help us celebrate the positive impact of students over the coming years. Thank you so much to those of you who have already supported the project!
Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat or on your blog! The more people that know about the campaign, the more we can raise to celebrate the Spirit of Somerville! If you have any questions, please contact Heather in the Development Office for more information [firstname.lastname@example.org]. To sponsor the project, please click the ‘Sponsor Button’!