New Year Honours for Honorary Fellows

Wednesday 19 January 2022


2022 got off to a great start for St Catharine’s as we are celebrating the achievements of two alumni and Honorary Fellows who have been recognised in the New Year Honours List:

  • David Harding (1979, Natural Sciences; Honorary Fellow 2013) was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to Philanthropy, and
  • Professor Sarah Springman CBE (1983, Engineering; Honorary Fellow 2015) was appointed a Dame Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire (DBE) for services to Engineering and to International Sports Administration.

Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s, commented:

“On behalf of everyone at St Catharine’s, I am delighted to congratulate David and Sarah on their well-deserved High Awards in the New Year Honours List. They both made waves in their respective fields remarkably soon after graduation and they have distinguished themselves by the opportunities they have created for the next generation across research and sports. Their honours are particularly notable because only 42 High Awards (encompassing Companions of Honour, Knights and Dames) were included in this year’s list.”

Sir David Harding and Professor Dame Sarah Springman
Sir David Harding and Professor Dame Sarah Springman

Sir David Harding

David graduated from St Catharine’s in 1982 with a first class degree in Natural Sciences specialising in Theoretical Physics. He embarked on a career in the city, jointly founding Adam, Harding and Lueck (AHL) in 1987, a futures trading investment manager, subsequently absorbed into the MAN Group, and later in 1997, Winton Capital (now Winton Group).

David has made significant donations to many charities and is a strong supporter of both the University of Cambridge and St Catharine’s: he endowed the University chair for the public understanding of risk in 2005; he gave £20 million to endow the University’s Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability in 2010; and he donated £100 million to fund the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship Programme in 2017. A significant proportion of the Harding Scholars are based at St Catharine’s (15 postgraduate students since October 2021).

David has been very generous to St Catharine’s during its recent campaigns. He and the David and Claudia Harding Foundation have made gifts over the years in support of our students, our estate and the Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catharine’s (BioRISC) Initiative.

Professor Dame Sarah Springman

Dame Sarah is one of the world’s most accomplished academic geotechnical engineers and a pioneer in the study of soft soil mechanics, ground improvement and mass movement of slopes, renowned for research, teaching and academic leadership. Since 1997, she has been Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and was appointed Rector of ETH Zurich in 2015. On 1 February, she is due to return to the UK to take up her new appointment as Principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

She is also an acclaimed international triathlete, representing Great Britain between 1984 and 1993. She won the European championship in 1985, 1986 and 1988 while completing her PhD at St Catharine’s. She is a former President of the British Triathlon Federation and has served as Vice President of both European and World Triathlon. She is credited with a pivotal role in campaigning for the inclusion of triathlon in the Olympic, Commonwealth and Paralympic programmes and was awarded the CBE for services to sport in 2012.

Dame Sarah said, “I was almost speechless when I learned from the Cabinet Office that I was to be awarded a DBE. I am astonished that someone who was in ‘overseas service’ in academia has been identified and recognised in this way – naturally I am delighted! When I joined Catz in 1983, I wanted to be part of a community that welcomed and celebrated both academic effort and sporting performances, and I have appreciated the support received from the College throughout my professional and triathlon careers. I am particularly proud to have been able to represent the College alongside national and international competitions for the University of Cambridge and for English and British National Teams.”