Master’s round-up of the year

The Master, Professor Kersti Börjars, reflects on the 2021-22 academic year at St Catherine’s:

I started as Master of St Catherine’s College in January 2020, so this has been my eighth term. However, because of the strange times we have had, this year has been one of many firsts for me: my first Catz Night, my first Foundation Scholars’ Dinner and my first Parents and Freshers’ Lunch.

We have also been able to have some catch-up events. I hosted freshers’ drinks for those who were freshers in 2020, and we finally had a leavers’ event for those who finished their degrees in that year.

In February, the Catz Ball was held, with 1,800 tickets sold. Even though it had both Covid testing and storm Eunice to contend with, it was a great success; a very impressive achievement by the organisers.

Another first in my time as Master is that we have a Cameron Mackintosh Professor appointed: Adjoa Andoh. Though she does not formally start until Michaelmas, she has already held a very successful event in College.

A good year for sports

It has been a good year for sports: the winning Oxford men’s boat crew included our DPhil student Angus Groom, and three Catz students played in the women’s rugby Varsity team.

We had a fantastic footballing year. We had three women and two men in the winning Varsity teams, and within Oxford, the men’s first team won the Premier Division, the men’s third won their league and both the men’s second and the women won their respective Cuppers. These achievements were particularly welcome for a Manchester United fan, who had little else in the line of football success to celebrate this year.

Summer Eights was also a success for Catz, with two teams, women’s first and men’s third, getting blades. In terms of breadth of participation, we did well in the Town and Gown 10km run, where we had a team of 96 – including students, colleagues and alumni – running in striking Catz t-shirts.

No ‘catz’, just puppies

In the Lodgings, the final term of this year has been exciting since it has seen an expansion of its inhabitants, by Catherine the College Dog giving birth to four puppies. Three of them will stay in College: one in the Lodgings, one with Maria from the College Office and one with our Head Chef Tim.

These are of course only a selection of the fantastic things that have been happening in Catz. There have also been amazing achievements academically of course, but also in music, in charity work and in many other areas.

It has been a lovely and lively year in Catz, and I look forward to next year being even more normal in terms of what we can do and how we can interact.