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Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College elects a new Master

The Fellows of Corpus Christi College are delighted to announce that Professor Christopher Kelly was elected the 52nd Master of the College at a meeting of the Fellowship on 12 July 2017.  Professor Kelly, currently serving as President of the College, will follow Mr Stuart Laing who retires in August 2018.

“For more than twenty years”, observed the Senior Tutor, Dr Marina Frasca-Spada, “Christopher has been a major intellectual presence in Corpus as a Fellow, as Director of Studies in Classics, as a supervisor, as a member of key College committees, as Senior Tutor in the past and currently as President.  He is passionately committed to Corpus, to the welfare and academic success of both students and Fellows, and to the continued excellence of our collegiate University. I shall be honoured to work with him as Master.”

“This is fantastic news, not just for Professor Kelly but also for Corpus,” said Flis O’Toole, immediate past President of the JCR and a 2017 graduate in Classics. “Professor Kelly was an incredibly kind and supportive Director of Studies during a tough final year, and having also worked with him as JCR President I know he always has the College’s best interests at heart. I look forward to seeing how well he gets on in his new job.”

A Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Cambridge, Professor Kelly’s research focuses on the culture, religion and institutions of the later Roman Empire through to the “decline and fall” in the West and the emergence of Byzantium in the East. He is currently editor of the Journal of Roman Studies and President of the Cambridge Philological Society. He is a past Chairman of the Faculty of Classics; and, while chair, was also responsible for the Faculty’s submission to REF2014 – Classics in Cambridge was ranked first in the country.

Professor Kelly is keenly aware of the challenges that face Cambridge colleges in the next decade. He reflected: “I firmly believe that it is important for Corpus to promote academic excellence at all levels and to underwrite that success by increased access and outreach initiatives, and by securing additional support against the rising costs of undergraduate and graduate education.  The Master is essential to the public face of the College in fostering and encouraging a wider sense of the Corpus community, especially amongst Old Members, and in ensuring that the College plays a prominent role both within and beyond the University.”

Professor Kelly and his wife, Shawn Donnelley – who is a Guild Fellow of the College – look forward with great enthusiasm to promoting and strengthening Corpus over the next decade. Professor Kelly remarked: “We are both very much looking forward to telling the Corpus story. The story of the College’s unique town foundation in 1352 – Corpus is neither a royal nor a religious house. The story of a College that houses and cares for the Parker Library, one of this country’s greatest heritage treasures. The story of a small, tightly-knit College rightly prized for its friendliness amongst students, Fellows and staff, its broad range of achievement (cultural, social, sporting, academic), and its strong sense of mutual support.”

Professor Kelly summed up: “Corpus is a great college. I cherish this opportunity to serve and support its community – and to work hard to take the College forward.”