Prof Rogerson’s tenure saw various controversies hit Caius, in a term which also spanned the Covid-19 pandemic.Rosie Bradbury

Professor Pippa Rogerson announced her retirement on Wednesday (17/01) as Master of Gonville & Caius.

After a 7-year stint in the role, the Professor said she is looking forward to resuming full-time teaching and research in private international law.

Before her appointment as Master in 2018, Prof Rogerson was a solicitor and academic, studying the conflict of laws and company law, as well as being a member of the university’s council.

Prof Rogerson’s tenure saw various controversies hit Caius, in a term which also spanned the Covid-19 pandemic.

In October 2022, she was one of several Cambridge dons who criticised the scheduled visit of Dr Helen Joyce, a controversial critic of the transgender rights movement.

Prof Rogerson, alongside senior tutor of Caius, Andrew Spencer, sent an email to students of the College declaring they could not “stay neutral” and would be boycotting the talk, saying Dr Joyce’s views on transgender people were “offensive, insulting, and hateful to members of our community”.

Prof Rogerson then wrote to alumni stating that free speech was “fundamental” after the college’s donors considered pulling funding in response.

The event sparked a free speech row which would continue to haunt the college, with Prof Rogerson being accused of blocking an academic from promoting an event with Professor Arif Ahmed, the Government’s free speech tsar, in November of the same year (11/22).

Upon succeeding the chemist Sir Alan Ferscht as Master in 2018, Prof Rogerson declared her intent to “hand the college on in better shape than I received it”. Despite enduring culture wars, Rogerson remained an important figure for many as the college’s first female Master in its 670-year history.

Professor Peter Robinson, the President of the College, stated in an email to students that the college “hope[s] to identify Professor Rogerson’s successor by the summer”.


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“She guided the College through the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, led the acquisition of new property forming the largest expansion of the College’s site in central Cambridge since mediaeval times. She has also served more widely in the University, including chairing the search committee for the new Vice-Chancellor,” he said.

One Caius second year said of Master Rogerson: “Pippa was a lovely Master. She’s had to handle a lot, but I think Caius’ reputation has bounced back significantly during her tenure. I’ve always felt that she has cared more about her student’s experiences in college compared to other masters.”

Professor Rogerson will step down at the end of the 2024-25 academic year.