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Chris Hamnett becomes Fellow of King's College London

Posted on 08/01/2013
Professor Chris Hamnett

The recognition Professor Chris Hamnett's many distinguished contributions has culminated in the awarding of Fellow of King's College London.

The Fellowship of King's College London (FKC) is the most prestigious award the College can bestow. The award of the Fellowship is governed by a statute of the College and reflects distinguished service to the College by a member of staff, conspicuous service to the College, or the achievement of distinction by those closely associated with the College.

Professor Hamnett says of this honour, "I am delighted to receive this award from the College which is a recognition of the work I have done over the last 10 years on a variety of college committees including Council, the Audit Committee, chairing the Postgraduate Research Students committee and, most recently, the Research Degrees Exam Board which has oversight of the appointment of examiners, the examination process and the award of research degrees across the College. The award will give me the opportunity to maintain links with the College for many years to come."

The proposal to establish a fellowship of King’s was first considered by the Council of King’s in 1847, and the Revd John Allen, a former chaplain of the College, was the first fellow of King’s. Initially the Council decreed that each fellow should pay two guineas for the privilege – although the exaction of the fee soon ceased (from 1850).

From the beginning, a wide variety of people were elected as College fellows. Among those elected between 1847 and 1863 were Alfred Barry (Principal of King’s 1868-83); James Edwin Thorold Rogers (former King’s student, Professor of Economics at King’s, later Liberal MP for Southwark and Bermondsey); John Simon (later Sir John, Professor of Surgery at King’s, first Medical Officer of Health for the City of London); the Hon Edward Stanley (later Earl of Derby, Foreign Secretary under Disraeli); William Stebbing (for nearly 30 years Assistant Editor and Leader Writer of The Times); Robert Bentley Todd (founder of King’s College Hospital); Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes, army and political officer in India; William Burges (architect and designer who oversaw the Great Exhibition of 1851) and Robert Swinhoe, diplomat and ornithologist. 

The varied backgrounds and achievements of the early fellows established a precedent for the range of distinctions which have been recognised by the fellowship and honorary fellowship more recently. The list of recent fellows includes Nobel Prize-winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir James Black and Professor Maurice Wilkins; drama directors Lord Attenborough and Sir Richard Eyre; writers Mario Vargas Llosa, Sir Arthur C Clarke, Michael Morpurgo, Hugh Whitemore, Anita Brookner, Susan Howatch and Susan Hill; military historians Sir Michael Howard and Sir Max Hastings; composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle; conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner; the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks; satirist and King’s alumnus Rory Bremner; former Chief of the Defence Staff General Lord Guthrie; banker Baron David de Rothschild; designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi, Vice-Chairman of the College Council since 2003; founder of MORI Sir Robert Worcester and diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

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