New support announced for LGBTQ+ life at St Catharine’s

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Seven years to the day after it became the first Cambridge College to fly the Rainbow Flag, St Catharine’s is delighted to announce the appointment of an LGBTQ+ Fellow to enhance the visibility of the support available for students, staff and Fellows on LGBTQ+ issues. The appointment is one of a range of steps that the College is taking in response to the findings of the Out at Cambridge report1 and the recommendations of the Cambridge University Student Union’s Care+ campaign.

Dr Caroline Gonda will be the first Fellow to take up the position, which has been specially created by the College’s Governing Body to provide a designated contact who can be approached informally about LGBTQ+ issues. In this role, she is also responsible for convening a new LGBTQ+ Care Group of students and staff representatives, which will consider how to continue to nurture an environment that values diversity. As a founding member of the College’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, Dr Gonda has already been helping to encourage and support efforts to strengthen mutual respect and fairness across all aspects of College life.

Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s, commented, “The appointment of an LGBTQ+ Fellow at St Catharine’s represents a lasting and heartfelt commitment to fostering an environment where all students, staff and Fellows are able to thrive. I am enormously grateful to Dr Gonda for taking on this important role and establishing our LGBTQ+ Care Group as a new forum for strengthening the practical, everyday support that we offer LGBTQ+ members of our community.”

Dr Gonda commented, “While a lot has changed in the 25 years that I have been at St Catharine’s, it is important that we recognise the work remaining to ensure that all members of our diverse community feel a sense of belonging. Flying the Rainbow Flag is just one of the many ways that the College has let LGBTQ+ students, staff and Fellows know we are welcome and celebrated. I am very pleased that St Catharine’s is taking these steps and I look forward to working with others to build on these activities in ways that reflect the different experiences and intersectional identities represented by the LGBTQ+ members of our community.”

Frey Kalus, postgraduate student at St Catharine’s and LGBTQ+ Officer for the College’s MCR, added, "I am delighted that St Catharine's will be one of the first colleges in Cambridge to respond to the Care+ campaign. Catz has always had a welcoming atmosphere, and now we have the opportunity to formalise this good practice, and to reflect upon what we can do to make our community even more supportive of LGBT+ students, staff, and Fellows."

St Catharine’s first flew the Rainbow Flag on 16 June 2014 to celebrate the return of alumnus and Honorary Fellow Sir Ian McKellen to the College, prior to his honorary doctorate being awarded by the University of Cambridge in a ceremony on 18 June 2014. Since that time, the College has flown the Rainbow Flag to mark different national and international days of significance. From this summer, the Progress Flag will be flown above St Catharine’s on these occasions to include traditionally marginalised LGBTQ+ communities.

Pictured: The College first flew the Rainbow Flag on 16 June 2014 to welcome back Sir Ian McKellen; our new LGBTQ+ Fellow Dr Caroline Gonda.  

1. lgbtQ+@​cam. Out at Cambridge. Available online: