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Four new Honorary Fellows welcomed on Candlemas

In the evening the four joined Provost Lord Mendoza CBE and other distinguished guests at a special dinner commemorating Candlemas.

The Provost congratulated the Honorary Fellows on their achievements in a speech after the meal and said it is a privilege to welcome them to the collegiate community.

The Governing Body of Oriel College resolved to appoint Linda, Damon, Abi and John over the two years to 2024.

Linda has been the Provost of Trinity College Dublin since August 2021, and had previously served as the university’s Dean and Vice-President of Research.

“This was a very special experience with such an intimate and beautiful ceremony,” Linda said. “The links between Oriel and Trinity are so important and it is wonderful to have opportunities like this to exchange visits.

“I was delighted to welcome Scholars from Oriel to Trinity recently for the Scholars’ Ball, and I am looking forward to returning the hospitality we have enjoyed on this trip when colleagues from Oriel visit us for our Trinity Monday celebrations in April.”

Damon is the Vice-Chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). He is New Zealand’s first VC of Samoan heritage and committed to ensuring talented young people from every background have access to a world-class university education.

“The young people of Aotearoa New Zealand are a most precious responsibility, and we cannot afford to waste the talents of a single one of them,” said Toeolesulusulu.

“AUT strives to be a place where talent meets opportunity. We are unique due to our focus on world-ranked excellence and equity — offering real-world education and research opportunities to the most diverse range of students in the country.”

Abi is the Nuffield Professor of Economics and Associate Head of the Department of Economics, University of Oxford. She also brings expertise to the UK Parliament Equalities Select Committee, and in 2018 won the ESRC Outstanding Impact in Public Policy Award.

A chess Grandmaster, John is the reigning world over-65 chess champion, a former world solving champion and a chess writer. In 1970 he was the youngest University of Oxford matriculand since 1520.

“Returning to Oriel after a long absence was an exciting if rather intimidating prospect,” said John, “but as soon as I stepped through the gate I was greeted by a reassuring sense of familiarity.

“I was delighted to meet the Provost and Fellows, some of whom showed an unexpected knowledge of the chess world.”