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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

College leadership

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    College governance

    Murray Edwards College was incorporated in 1972 by a Charter given by the Queen in Council. The purpose of the College is to provide excellence in the education of outstanding young women from all backgrounds. It also seeks to provide the opportunities through which young women can further develop their skills, experience and confidence in order to realise their chosen paths forward.  At both undergraduate and graduate level, we encourage and enable our students to develop as creative thinkers, as informed leaders and as insightful decision-makers, equipped to take on the challenges they will meet in life.

    Attached to the Charter are the Statutes, which provide for the constitution and government of the College. The ultimate governing authority in the College is the Governing Body which comprises official, supernumerary, professorial and research fellows.  

    The Council with oversight of the day to day running of the College consists of four ex officio officers, nine Fellows elected from the Governing Body and the Presidents of the JCR and MCR. It makes decisions which govern the College’s activities.  

    College officers

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    President – Ms Dorothy Byrne

    The President is elected by the Governing Body to preside over the College. She is responsible for the overall direction and management of the affairs of the College and presides at all meetings of the Governing Body and of the Council. The President has the power to make provision for the good government and discipline of the College within the limits of the Statutes and Ordinances.

    Ms Dorothy Byrne became the 6th President of Murray Edwards College in September 2021.

    Prior to joining the College, Dorothy was Editor at Large at Channel 4, a role that was specially created for her after she stepped down as Head of News and Current Affairs after 15 years.

    During her time at Channel 4, Dorothy was responsible for news and current affairs programmes that have had a national and global impact, winning her numerous international awards.

    In 2019, Dorothy delivered the prestigious MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival and was honoured with the Grierson Trustees’ Award at the 2019 Documentary Awards.

    In 2018, she was made a Fellow of The Royal Television Society for her ‘outstanding contribution to television’ and received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the RTS Journalism Awards in the same year.

    Born in Paisley, Scotland, Dorothy studied for her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Manchester University followed by a Diploma in Business Studies at Sheffield University. She is currently a Visiting Professor for the MA in Investigative Journalism at De Montfort University.

    Fellows page profile


    Vice President – Dr Rachel Polonsky

    The Vice President is elected by the Governing Body from among their own members. They support the President to build the College, and most particularly represent the Fellowship, taking any issues and concerns to the relevant people. They act as President when the President is temporarily unavailable. In addition, the Vice President leads the election process for a President or, should the need arise, for an Acting President.

    Having read English at Jesus College, Dr Rachel Polonsky changed to Russian Studies as a graduate student, first at Princeton University and later at Oxford University. Rachel returned to Cambridge as a Research Fellow at Emmanuel College in 1994. In 1998, Rachel moved to Moscow with her family where she worked as an independent scholar and freelance journalist for 10 years.

    Rachel has been a Fellow at Murray Edwards College since 2011 and was elected Vice President of Murray Edwards College in 2019.

    Fellows page profile

    Rob Hopwood
    Bursar – Mr Rob Hopwood

    The Bursar is responsible for the College’s finances and investments, estates strategy and general operations, human resource management, commercial conference business, regulatory compliance and for supporting the mission of the College as a place of learning, education and research.

    Mr Rob Hopwood joined Murray Edwards College as Bursar in 2018.

    He was educated at the University of Southampton and Geneva University in Switzerland. After graduating as a modern linguist, Rob specialised in Finance and Corporate Services roles, spending 14 years in Cambridge at Jesus College and then Trinity College, before serving for over 8 years as The British Academy’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

    Fellows page profile

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Senior Tutor – Dr Michele Gemelos

    The Senior Tutor is responsible for the environment of the College as a place of excellence for undergraduate and graduate learning, for overseeing the management and delivery of all College teaching and for the support and guidance of Directors of Studies and Tutors. As an academic leader, the Senior Tutor is a strong and credible advocate for the College within relevant intercollegiate and University forums.

    Dr Michele Gemelos became Senior Tutor and a Fellow of Murray Edwards College in June 2020. Michele was previously Deputy Senior Tutor and Deputy Admissions Tutor at St Edmund's College, where she was also Director of Studies in English.

    After undergraduate study at Skidmore College in New York, Michele completed an MPhil, DPhil and PGCE at the University of Oxford. Between 2005 and 2007 she was Wilkinson Junior Research Fellow and Assistant Dean at Worcester College.

    Her specialist research area is 19th and 20th century British and American literature. 

    Fellows page profile 

    Fiona Duffy, Director of Development
    Director of Development – Fiona Duffy

    The Director of Development takes responsibility for the College’s fundraising and alumnae relations. As part of the Officers’ Team, the Director of Development works closely with, and reports to, the President.  She will also work with other officers to develop and deliver the College’s Strategic and Business Plans.

    Ms Fiona Duffy joined Murray Edwards College as Director of Development in November 2013.

    Fiona has worked in higher education alumni relations and fundraising for over 20 years, including with institutions such as the London School of Economics, UCL, the University of Cambridge, the Imperial War Museum and Girton College. Significantly, she worked for The Women’s Library (then at London Metropolitan University, now at LSE) which is the national collection of women’s history.

    Fellows page profile