Female graduates posing for a photo in the College's Front Quad
-A +A

Celebrating 3000 Women at St Edmund Hall

In October 2015, the 3000th female student joined the St Edmund Hall community, and officially became a member of the University at the matriculation ceremony on 17 October.

The dynamics of the Hall have changed considerably since the first female student joined in 1978, with the College's first women undergraduates matriculating in 1979. Today, over a third of our alumni and Fellows, and almost half of our current students, are women. To mark this milestone, St Edmund Hall recognised the achievements and influence of our alumnae with a number of events and initiatives throughout the 2015-16 academic year, led by the Development & Alumni Relations Office, alumni volunteers and current students.

Honorary Fellows

We are also delighted to announce the election in 2015 of the College's first female Honorary Fellows: Faith Wainwright, MBE FREng (1980, Engineering) and the Hon Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth (1984, BCL).

Women Inspire

Over the summer of 2015, we invited nominations of inspirational women with a connection to St Edmund Hall, who would be represented in a series of portrait photographs. Twenty women, including alumnae and staff, were chosen by a committee of alumni, staff and current students - not only for their professional accolades, but also because of impressive achievements in their personal lives. These portraits were unveiled in Hilary term 2016 and exhibited in the Wolfson Hall for the rest of the year.

Click here to view an accompanying brochure to the exhibition


During Michaelmas Term 2015, Alice Hart-Davis (1982, Modern History) became the first female speaker in our series of alumni 'Teddy Talks'. She spoke on the topic of “The Beauty Industry: more than just Lipstick and Lycra”.

Undergraduates at the Women's Formal
Undergraduates at the Women's Formal (photo by Emily Winn)

On Wednesday 3 November, there was a celebratory student-led Women's Formal Hall, with a number of female alumnae as guests, including Faith Wainwright who was also in attendance so that she could be officially sworn in as an Honorary Fellow.

Current Students

We have also been discussing issues related to female students – including women’s sports, welfare and career opportunities – to try and determine ways in which we can better support them. A committee, made up of current undergraduates and postgraduates, led on these initiatives. One example is the 'Big Sister' scheme, which runs on similar lines to the College families system but pairing up MCR (postgraduate) students with a 3rd or 4th year JCR (undergraduate) member to act as mentors. We hope this will help women at the Hall get advice and friendship in all kinds of areas, including further study and job applications. Throughout the year there will be special 'Big Sister' events for participants to meet up with all the 'Sisters' of the Hall.

Infographic about women at St Edmund Hall