The Hertford MCR is well connected with previous College members, mainly through the Hertford Society. If you are interested in learning more about the society, you can browse their history below. They also support the publishing and distribution of the Hertford College Magazine. The College website hosts many resources for alumni to stay in touch with College.
The Hertford Society
The Hertford Society had its genesis in a College Gaudy in 1960. One of those attending was William “Bill” Atkinson (1936 Physics). At that time, Gaudies were the only social contact between the College and its alumni. They were organised on a slightly erratic basis by one of the Fellows. There were only about ten Fellows in those days so they all had about three jobs in the College. I will also mention that in those days only MAs were invited as they were “on the books” of the College.
Bill went to the then Principal Dr. William Ferrar and suggested that a society should be set up to organise contact on a more structured basis and to support the College generally. The Principal readily agreed with Bill’s suggestion but told him that he and his friends would have to set it up. So it was that a pilot committee got to work during 1961 and the Hertford Society was officially launched in January 1962 at a reception in Lincolns Inn Hall in London.
Bill Atkinson was of course its first Chairman. The Society got to work quite quickly with a programme of social events in London and Oxford and also with various donations to the College for suitable projects. It has continued in that way ever since. A major change came in College with the setting up of the Development Office in the late 1990s. Since then, under a series of Directors and increasing assistant staff, it has provided a range of imaginative events for alumni and now holds about three Gaudies per year, for all alumni within a particular matriculation range of years.
The Society has worked in close collaboration with the Development Office all the way through and makes sure that Society events fit in with the calendar of events organised by the Development Office. The Society has been able to offer events that supplement College events. For example, Gaudies are always oversubscribed these days. This means that alumni cannot bring guests as that would deprive a former member of College of a place. The Society is able to offer members an opportunity of bringing a spouse or other guest to its functions in College. Our current routine is to have a black-tie dinner in Hall every three years and a buffet lunch in Hall in the intervening years. These have always proved popular. We have also arranged dinners in the House of Lords from time to time.
The Development Office deals with major appeals for large sums of money for such things as new buildings and founding new Fellowships. The Society since its founding has given smaller sums of money for small-scale projects which might otherwise “slip under the radar” as it were. These have included gifts to retiring members of staff, support for the JCR and MCR for their Freshers’ Weeks, and of course annual support for Simpkin in his lawful activities.
One slightly larger project undertaken by the Society a few years ago was the cleaning and restoration of about thirteen College portraits, mostly in Hall. I have been able to bring blushes to an older generation of alumni (i.e. men!) when I have told them that the initial inspection of the Hall portraits frequently reported “traces of food”! The Society looks forward to continuing working with the Development Office and with the JCR and the MCR.
— Graham Jones, Secretary of the Hertford Society.