St Edmund’s celebrates its transatlantic ties


19 years ago, Professor Michael Principe, a former visiting Fellow of St Edmund’s College, had an idea to give his students at William Paterson University (WPU) in New Jersey the chance to experience life in a Cambridge College during their summer vacation. This year, for the first time, Dr Principe in collaboration with the St Edmund’s Development Office has organised a reunion for his former summer students to take place here in Cambridge and we are really excited to welcome them back to the College.

Students who participate come from a variety of backgrounds, they represent a real diversity of academic discipline, race, gender, and personal circumstances. For a good few it is their first time in Europe, and for some their first time out of the US. During their brief time at Cambridge they are of course exposed to the pleasures of punting, formal dinners, and the beautiful buildings that make Cambridge the city it is, but this is no holiday. Professor Principe puts these students through a rigorous course of study combining class work with independent reflection. Looking back on the nearly two decades since he first started this programme, Michael is convinced that the experience is transformative, and some of his former students must think so too. In organising this reunion, former students were encouraged to make donations to St Edmund’s and in so doing have contributed £10,000 to the College.

Students of the 2018 Principe Group

The Principe groups over time have contributed more than financially to the College however. Each summer, staff and students alike are warmed by the positive energy these students bring to the College during a quieter time of the year, and by the friendships that come out of interaction between the students of St Edmund’s and of WPU.

Today (14 August 2018) Master of St Edmund’s Matthew Bullock unveiled a plaque to mark the College’s gratitude to those WPU alumni who have donated (video below). We await with excitement the return of Michael’s former students later this week, and we wish the 19th year who have just returned home all the best for their futures. We look forward very much to one day seeing them again too.