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1975 Reunion

In recent years there have been a series of successful and enjoyable reunions of members of the College who decided to celebrate the anniversary of their matriculation in a special way. A 35 Year Reunion was held on Sunday 19th September 2010 for a group of Caians who matriculated in 1975 and their partners.

The programme included:

  • Welcome back
  • Buffet lunch in Hall
  • Tour of the Archives and visit to the Library
  • Champagne Reception in the Master's Lodge
  • Celebration Dinner in the Fellows' Dining Room

The reunion was celebrated by the establishment of a fund to raise £300,000 to endow a 1975 College Lectureship. The 1975 year group is currently half way to achieving their target. The excerpts from Stephen Barter's speech below give further information about the importance of College Lectureships. If you would like to support the Lectureship, please contact the Development Office on +44 (0)1223 339574 or click here to make a gift.

Stephen Barter's speech

Welcome back to Caius, 35 years on. The first thing you notice is that the College hasn't really changed that much. The trees in Tree Court are a little bigger, Harvey Court is at last getting a new roof – and ensuite bathrooms, The Whim has become something else, but bicycles are still here, and the Gardenia is still producing its unique variety of international cuisine. It's also clear that the College is still producing success – possibly more success than when we were here.

What's clear from talking to each of you today is that while everyone's had their ups and downs, on the whole you've enjoyed successful and happy lives and many of you have had outstanding careers. You'll forgive me for saying that while we've all probably reached an age where we're still very much looking forward, we can now occasionally look back a bit, and reflect on the things that made the difference.

If there was one aspect of Cambridge teaching which for me made the most lasting difference, I would have to say it was the supervision system - the weekly ritual of discussions on each principal subject of the course - how much you thought you knew as you read the books, how little you realised you knew when the questions came. My own experiences are deeply engraved – 'you didn't mean to say that did you' one supervisor would witheringly observe, or 'do you have any evidence for that?'

Yes, it was supervisions that made the difference, and they are the distinctive feature of the Oxbridge method. Unlike lecturers, supervisors are not funded by the University but by the College, and so their survival depends entirely on the College's own investments and external donations.

So this made me wonder whether we, to mark the 35th anniversary of our admission as members of this College, could do something collectively to help. To endow a College Lectureship (the formal title of a supervisor) requires £300,000 of capital to generate sufficient annual income. Our Class of 1975 numbered about 130, and so, divided between as many as could help, and with the benefit of Gift Aid, it wasn't such a daunting prospect. The College also very kindly agreed to allow the payments to be spread over a number of years, which, alongside Gift Aid, makes quite a difference to the net cost to the donor.

Dr Anne Lyon, Director of Development, had told me that there was already precedent for such an appeal. The Classes of 1956, 1958 and 1969 have all had successful appeals with the same objective. So with the College's encouragement, I wrote to everyone in our year, inviting them to this dinner tonight and suggesting our own appeal.

The response to the Appeal has been terrific, even in these difficult economic times, and we are almost half way towards our total of £300,000 from the pledges already received. I'm delighted that so many have already committed and a big thank you to those who have done so. Some I know have already donated to the College in recent years, so the extra effort is much appreciated. The aim must be to involve as many as possible from across our year, with everyone giving at their own level, so that it really is a Class of 1975 College Lectureship endowment. We all have a role to play in achieving the second half of our target.

We haven't specified the new College Lecturer's subject, as it seemed better to let the College decide that from time to time based on need. All being well, our endowment will be able to maintain the post in perpetuity.

We all have the privilege to be members of Caius College for life. Let's try to make the difference for future generations of Caians, and so protect and enhance the reputation of both the College, and Cambridge, around the world.