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Cambridge college makes history with election of new head

Sonita Alleyne becomes 42nd Master of Jesus College Photo: PA

The fest ever black head of an Oxbridge college has just been elected.

Jesus College in Cambridge has chosen Sonita Alleyne as its next Master - and she becomes the first woman to lead the college in its 523 year history.

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She will take up the role from this October. She becomes the 42nd Master and first woman to lead Jesus College since its foundation in 1496.

Speaking after her election, she said:

“It is an honour to be elected to lead Jesus College and I’m looking forward to becoming part of such an energetic and innovative community. Having met many Fellows, students and staff in recent weeks, I was struck by the positive and forward-looking ethos shared across the College. In addition to the outstanding education, the cross-disciplinary work and evident passion for arts, culture and sport I have seen at Jesus is impressive. Supporting the work of the College to widen access and participation to all that it offers promises to be incredibly rewarding. I left Cambridge thirty years ago, but it never left me. I am delighted to be returning.”

– Sonita Alleyne

Ms Alleyne studied Philosophy at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. She then went on to a career in radio, eventually founding production company Somethin' Else.

She also started the Yes Programme, an online careers information scheme and among other roles is chair of the British Board of Film Classification and governor of the Museum of London.