In an announcement on 23rd January, St Catherine’s College Master, Professor Kersti Börjars, revealed her decision to retire at the end of Trinity Term 2024. Börjars first assumed this role in January 2020.
Professor Börjars made history as the first female Master of St Catherine’s College, coinciding with the celebration of “50 years of women at Catz” in the same year she will step down. Coeducation was introduced at St Catherine’s in 1974.
Among the notable achievements during her four-year tenure, Börjars steered St Catherine’s College through challenging times, including the unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the discovery of RAAC throughout the College site.
In September, The Oxford Student revealed an email from Börjars stating “risk assessments” were to take place due to RAAC concerns. Access was restricted to certain parts of college and second years were rehoused amid the crisis.
In addition to crisis management, she oversaw significant initiatives such as a comprehensive review of the College’s Statutes and By-Laws, reaffirming the institution’s “commitment to the traditional Oxford model of academic self-governance”.
The College administration expressed its gratitude for Professor Börjars’ contributions and announced that arrangements are underway to appropriately commemorate her service. Meanwhile, it was confirmed that she will continue in her role until 23 July 2024, facilitating a “smooth transition”.
The College will soon initiate the search for her successor, who will be tasked with leading a significant fundraising campaign for the institution over the next decade.
Reflecting on her time as Master, Professor Börjars stated, “Being Master of St Catherine’s College has been the greatest privilege, and I very much look forward to remaining part of the Catz community and serving the College in any way I can”.