Our alumnæ

St Anne’s reputation, and its contribution to wider society, is not defined simply by those who currently study or work here - it is defined, too, by those who have passed through the College and achieved success in their chosen walk of life.

Alumnae vs alumni

On 17 June 1979, in the nervous time when the first male Fellows had been elected, and the first male students admitted though they had not yet arrived, a note from the Dean to Governing Body asks hesitantly “Would Governing Body wish ‘he’ (or  ‘he/she’) to be substituted for ‘she’ throughout the College Regulations?”  Eventually the question was answered (or perhaps avoided) with the following carefully worded statement which still stands in the preamble  to our Regulations : “words importing the feminine gender shall include the masculine and vice versa, where the construction so permits and the Regulations do not otherwise expressly provide”.

In fact the custom that was agreed on at St Anne’s, and continues to this day, is that contrary to usual English-language rules, feminine forms are used as the default where College  members being referred to could be either female or male. This custom honours the College’s origins as a female-only  institution and does not seek to marginalise  men. So it is that we have an Alumnae Relations Officer even though many of our honoured alumnae are, strictly speaking, alumni.