Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Lord McDonald takes up new role as master of Christ’s College, Cambridge





Lord (Simon) McDonald has become master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, succeeding Professor Jane Stapleton whose tenure finished at the end of August.

Lord (Simon) McDonald of Salford with his wife Olivia. Picture: Keith Heppell
Lord (Simon) McDonald of Salford with his wife Olivia. Picture: Keith Heppell

Born and raised in Salford, he read history at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He then joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and, early in his career, served in Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn and Washington DC.

Simon was British ambassador to Israel (2003-06) and to Germany (2010-15), and in September 2015, he became permanent secretary at the FCO and head of the Diplomatic Service. He left the FCO in autumn 2020 and was then nominated for a cross-bench life peerage.

Simon says it feels “exciting” to be in the role, adding: “The process of getting the job was the longest interview process I ever endured, taking eight months in 2021, and by the end of it I knew more than anything else that I really, really wanted the job.”

He reveals that he is most looking forward to “working with the students” and has nothing but praise for the college. “Christ’s is a great college - this is obvious to anyone who steps through the great gate,” he observes. “It’s more than 500 years old and has a wonderfully distinguished record, so my hope is to add incrementally to that.”

[Read more: Christ's College appeals over rejection of student flats plans]

Lord (Simon) McDonald of Salford with his wife Olivia. Picture: Keith Heppell
Lord (Simon) McDonald of Salford with his wife Olivia. Picture: Keith Heppell

On what he will be concentrating on during his tenure, Simon says: “The green agenda, sustainability – every crisis these days is touched by climate change, and I think universities have to show a lead in adopting solutions and in researching new solutions.

“Second, I really hope to keep the college international. My whole career was on the international stage and international connectivity I think is vital to progress in every field, and third I hope to work on the college’s diversity.

“For the last few years, Christ’s has been top of the league tables – not that there are league tables anymore – of academic achievement, which is wonderful. I believe that this talent is everywhere in the United Kingdom so I hope that we can increase the number of undergraduates from unexpected parts of the country.”

For more information on Christ’s College, Cambridge, visit christs.cam.ac.uk.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More