Chetana Nagavajara

The Library Fitzwilliam College


The visit to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge on September 15, 2012, gave me and my friends a chance to think about the rapid progress made by the College since our graduation in 1961.
The recent lists of students who have graduated with First Class Honours are amazingly long. Fund-raising has gone very well, and new bulidings have come up. Three of the bulidings are architecturally award-winning. From whichever corner of the college you might be looking, it was worth taking a photograph. Music and sports have since become our other achievements.

As we look back to our history, the attainment of full collegiate status in the 1960s was carried through mostly by the masters and fellows who were not Cambridge graduates. We did not have the prestige to attract the best of Cambridge graduates, but so many first-rate scholars produced by OTHER UNIVERSITIES around the world have willingly joined us. My Director of Studies and Supervisor for French, with whom I remained in close contact until his death 5 years ago, was among the first “outsiders” to be recruited by Fitzwilliam. He graduated (of course with First Class Honours) from Leeds and went to do his doctorate in Lyon. The past 3-4 Masters have been distinguished professors who were trained elsewhere and were selected to fill the various chairs in the University of Cambridge.

So my friend and I naively came to the conclusion that we had moved so fast because we had stayed clear of INBREEDING.



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