New name for New Hall

19 June 2008

Katie Spenceley

News Editor

New Hall is set to change its name to Murray Edwards College following a massive £30 million endowment.

The donation, made by Cambridge-based entrepreneurs Steve and Ros Edwards (née Smith), herself a New Hall graduate, marks the largest ever gift to a Cambridge College by a British couple.

But the College has not only received a monetary gift; it has also now been awarded a permanent name. When it was built in 1954, ‘New Hall’ was chosen as a temporary name that would remain only until a donor was able to endow it.

More than 50 years on, the name ‘Murray Edwards’ has been chosen in recognition of both the Edward’s donation, as well as the achievements of the College’s founder, the late Dame Rosemary Murray, who began the College with only one shilling and dreamt of seeing the College named permanently with a proper endowment.

Now her ambitions have been realised, the College’s President, Anne Lonsdale, said: “We are thrilled. The money will transform the experience of those at the College for generations to come. We were set up to provide the best education to able women from all backgrounds.

“All our students are special – but they may not be rich. Now we can allocate further financial help where it is needed and build on our teaching strengths.”

The College will keep its 1972 shield featuring the heraldic dolphin, or ‘Angry Fish’, as it is affectionately called. But it now also has the Murray Edwards College ‘spark’, which is based on the inside design of the College’s celebrated Grade II listed Dome.

With their donation, the Edwards hope to set a precedent, to encourage more university alumni to give to their own universities.

“We need to fund our universities so that they can compete with richly-endowed ones in the United States,” Mrs Edwards said.

“Britain is a value-added country, we live by our brains. And Cambridge provides a world-class education which is our life blood.

“However, Cambridge can only continue to provide the high standard of education if we are able to compete on an equal footing. This is why we are giving something back to my old College. We hope that other alumni will feel able to do the same for their colleges and universities.”

New Hall will not actually be legally re-named until next year, after the University has signalled no objection and the Privy Council has given consent to a change in its Statutes.

Until 1st May 2009, Murray Edwards will be the College’s trading name.