Wallace Watson was a student at St Catherine’s College at the time of his death in 2001. In his memory, his family established two awards for students of St Catherine’s, to celebrate Wallace and what he stood for: the Wallace Watson Award and the Wallace Watson Career Scholarship. Find out about Wallace and these two awards below.

About Wallace Watson

Wallace Watson was a Chemistry student at St Catherine’s at the time of his death in 2001. He loved a challenge and adventure, and if it involved mountains, being somewhere remote or exotic, then even better.

He was someone who embraced life and was constantly seeing how far he could push its boundaries. When he set his mind to anything he would do so with utter determination and yet with a sensitivity to others. His mischievous sense of humour was always showing up in that wry smile he had. He was wise beyond his years: an old soul. He was successful and yet had none of that arrogance that so often accompanies success. He had an extraordinary strength of character

‘Wallace was a one-off and, quite simply, larger than life. His enthusiasm for life was infectious… he was comfortable and confident enough in himself to go through life without excluding anyone. He never tried to be anyone different: he believed in himself and knew, with a quiet certainty, what he could achieve.

‘He had no trouble sticking up for what he believed in and people respected him for that… beneath that incredible sense of fun was a steadfast loyalty that shone through those wonderful brown eyes. Wallace is a legend.’

The awards

There are two awards established in Wallace’s name available to students at St Catherine’s.

The purpose of both is to encourage and enable the development of young people, with an emphasis on targeting tomorrow’s potential leaders and with the long-term aim of creating a group of people that will become a force for good in wider society.

Applications are open to current students of St Catherine’s in Hilary term each year. More details can be found here on the application page.

The Wallace Watson Award

This was set up for students with the same zest for life that Wallace had. It encourages and enables students to undertake expeditions or travel of a challenging nature in a remote and/or mountainous region anywhere in the world.

The Wallace Watson Career Scholarship

This was established to support students wishing to further their studies abroad.

Previous Winners

Every Hilary term, the winners of the Wallace Watson Award give a lecture on their experiences. On the same night, the next year’s winners are announced.

The winners also detail their adventures to the College’s annual magazine, The Year.

2021: Millie Brunton and Ross Jenkinson
Biserica, Bucegi and bear prints: a 700km pilgrimage through the Carpathians (p 30)

2019: Oliver Vince
Return to Vatnajökull Expedition: the story of packing a lab into a sledge (p 32)

2018: Matteo Broketa
Tracing the Huella Andina by foot (p 36)

2017: Alexander Langedijk & George Todd
Lake Malawi: 1000km through the warm heart of Africa (p 26)

2016: Angus Young
Mechanical nomad: across Central Asia by bike (p 26)

William Hartz
Spitsbergen retraced (p 28)

2014: Tom Gaisford
The winner of the 2014 Wallace Watson award reminisces on his trip to Zimbabwe (p 26)