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Robinson College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridgemarker.

The college was founded after the British philanthropist Sir David Robinson offered the university £17 million to establish a new college in Cambridge; this is still one of the largest donations ever accepted by the university. Robinson later gave his college another £1 million on the occasion of its official opening. The first graduate students and fellows joined the college in 1977. Undergraduates (20 of them) were first admitted in 1979, but significant numbers only began arriving the following year. The college was formally opened by The Queen in May 1981.

Robinson is the newest of the Cambridge colleges, and is unique in being the only one to have been intended, from its inception, for both undergraduate and graduate students of either sex. Despite maintaining some Cambridge traditions, such as Formal Hall, the college has tended to avoid others: for example, it is one of the few colleges that allows its students to walk on the grass in the college gardens. Robinson is in general less formal and traditional than most of the older colleges in the university.

Designed by the Scottish architectural firm Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, Robinson's main buildings are distinctive for the generous use of red bricks in their construction (one and a quarter million of them). The College was recently named 5th 'most inspiring building' in Britain. Of particular note are the library and chapel, the latter with stained-glass windows designed by John Piper. Located a ten minute walk west of the city centre, behind the University Librarymarker, near the science buildings in West Cambridgemarker and the arts faculties on the University's Sidgwick Sitemarker, the college stands on a wooded site noted for its historical and horticultural interest. Within its grounds are Thorneycreek House and Cottage, the Maria Björnson outdoor theatre and extensive gardens through which flows Bin Brook, which once supplied water to the Hospital of St John (now St John's Collegemarker). Robinson owns a number of houses on Adams Road and Sylvester Road adjoining the main college site, which it uses for student accommodation. A number of graduate students live in college owned accommodation elsewhere in Cambridgemarker, consisting of a terrace of six houses ("Romsey Terrace") off the city's Mill Roadmarker as well as a single house on Mill Road itself (currently let out to Anglia Ruskin students).

The main entrance to the college is via a drawbridge-like ramp which is accessible to wheelchair users, and there are also some special facilities for those with physical or visual disabilities.

The Needham Research Institutemarker is also located within the college grounds.

Three new artworks have been added to the College courts and gardens in the summer and autumn of 2008, "Sailing into the future" by Philip de Konig, "Conversing Figures" by Christophe Gordon-Brown and "Finback" by Ben Barrel.


With its modern facilities and comfortable accommodation, Robinson is also one of Cambridge's most important conference centres, and always hosts a number of conferences during the summer months when the undergraduate students are away on their long vacation. Robinson also has a purpose-built conference centre, twenty miles west of Cambridge at Wybostonmarker on the border with Bedfordshire, which is used both for one-off meetings and for regular events such as the annual conference of the Association of Business Psychologists. Unlike some of the older colleges, Robinson does not own large amounts of land which can be used as a source of income; thus the ability to host conferences represents an important financial resource.

Student life

Students of the college are represented by the Robinson College Students' Association, or RCSA , headed by a President, with members of the college elected into positions on the RCSA committee every year. Politically, Robinson is liberal, but its reputation normally places it amongst the more apathetic of Cambridge colleges, unlike King'smarker or Claremarker, which have a more radical left-wing reputation. Nonetheless, Robinson has supplied a large number of Green Officers to the Cambridge University Students' Union in recent years and was recently judged the most environmentally friendly college in Cambridge . Similarly, the RCSA is currently supporting a campaign to become an official FairTrade College. Despite its alleged apathy, several College members have played major roles in University politics, including CUSU president 2006-2007, and Union Society President for Easter 2009.

Like other colleges, Robinson provides its students with recreational facilities such as a JCR/MCR, TV room, art room and bar. As a result of its other role as a conference centre, the college is equipped with two auditoria that are available for student use during term; the larger one in particular being frequently used by the college's film society and "Brickhouse Theatre Company" (dramatic society) . There is also a purpose-built party room ("The Bassment"), dedicated to hosting college "bops" and other entertainments. Musical talents are catered for by way of a music room, CD library and chapel. A wide range of college-based societies are on offer for Robinson members, and there are also several sports teams, covering most major sports: everything from water polo and cricket to rowing and rugby union. Robinson also has a strong record in Cambridge college pool and darts leagues; having been Pocket billiards champions 8 of the 10 years from 1999/2000 to the 2008/2009 season, and winning the darts league 4 consecutive times from 2005/2006 to 2008/2009.

Notable alumni

See also :Category:Alumni of Robinson College, Cambridge

Notable fellows

See also :Category:Fellows of Robinson College, Cambridge

See also

External links


  • College website and links followed within, particularly the "college information" section:


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