"I take a great deal of pride in our accomplishments, which were built together as a collegiate Cambridge community"Louis Ashworth/VARSITY

Professor Stephen Toope has announced that he will step down from his role as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge at the end of September 2022, after five years.

Toope referenced the challenges of the pandemic as contributing to his decision to end his term in office:

“I take a great deal of pride in our accomplishments, which were built together as a collegiate Cambridge community. I am especially proud of our joint leadership across collegiate Cambridge to deliver on our dual mission of education and research through the unprecedented COVID crisis. We kept the university on track and safe during its hardest years since World War II.”

Toope continued: “But at the same time, the upheaval of COVID has led me to reassess my own years ahead from a personal perspective. As an expat living far from home, being separated from my children and grandchildren by closed borders has been hard. Being near my own family and friends is more important than ever.”

He went on to state that his term as Vice-Chancellor had been an “extraordinary experience” and “a tremendous honour” and he is “proud and enthusiastic to continue for another full year.”

The Deputy Chair of the University Council, Mark Lewisohn, remarked that the Council was  “deeply grateful” to Professor Toope and his “profound impact” on the University. He described Toope as having made the University “more transparent” and “robust in its processes” by launching “new and exciting research and teaching initiatives”. 

Lewisohn commented: ”Stephen’s focus on sustainability, which has led to the creation of Cambridge Zero, will be an important part of his legacy, as will his efforts to make Cambridge more accessible to students from all backgrounds. We look forward to working with Professor Toope in the year ahead as we continue to make progress on our agreed priorities.”

Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, stated that Professor Toope’s decision to step down from the role is not one he “will have made lightly”, adding that he can finish his time in office “in the knowledge that he has left his mark on the University, and contributed to making it an even better place to study, work and undertake research.” 

Toope concluded: “There is still much to do through our programme of recovery from the pandemic. [...] The leadership transition next year will not detract from my commitment to the important work we have underway this year. The strength of our senior leadership and all our University community, the guidance of the Council, and the eventual choice of a highly able successor will allow me to pass the baton without missing a beat."