St John's College Alumni eNewsletter - November 2023

College and Alumni News for November 2023

Putting Evolution into Reverse

New findings from Professor Nick Harberd and Professor Jason Schnell, together with colleagues from Oxford and China, suggest a general mechanism for the evolution of the specific protein-protein interactions that drive life. 

These findings are important because they show how evolution shaped a protein-protein interaction that enhances the regulation of plant growth in response to environmental change. 

Read more about the research here

College News

Calling all previous members of St John's Choir

If you sang in the choir during your time at St John's we want to hear from you. We're compiling a full list of previous members and want to hear about the impact being in the choir had on you. 

Professor Whittaker: retirement conference

In September St John's hosted a conference to mark Professor Simon Whittaker's retirement. The event also honoured  his scholarship in the field of comparative law. The papers will be revised and published in 2024. 

£1m AHRC Award to Kafka Project

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded over £1m to support the project 'Kafka's Transformative Communities' led by Oxford Professors Carolin Duttlinger, Katrin Kohl, and St John's Fellow in German Professor Barry Murnane. 

Professor Harrington appointed a director at MPI-CBG

Professor Heather Harrington has joined the team of directors at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. Professor Harrington has also been appointed as honorary professor at the Faculty of Mathematics at the TU Dresden. 

Alumni News

Thank you from Duveen scholars

A huge thank you to every alumnus who welcomed our Duveen scholars during their time in North America. If you are interested in hosting a scholar next year let us know.


Gessienne Grey (2020, PPE) and her fellow St John's alumni housemates recently celebrated Halloween by carving pumpkins - one with the St John's college crest!

Oxford University Society for West Sussex

If you live or work in West Sussex, you might be interested in joining the OU Society for West Sussex, which has a thriving social and networking programme for Oxford alumni of all ages. For more information please contact 

Information about other Oxford alumni groups can be found here.

Alumnus joins Board of the Orwell Foundation

Sameer Padania (1993, English and Modern Languages) was recently invited to join the Board for the Orwell Foundation, a charity which exists to perpetuate the achievements of the writer George Orwell (1903-1950). 

Alumni Events

Gaudy 1981-1982

Friday 15 March 2024

Gaudy 1994-1995

Friday 22 March 2024

Professor Carolyne Larrington's Retirement Dinner - SAVE THE DATE

Friday 5 April 2024

Gaudy 2010-2011

Friday 21 June 2024

Gaudy 2014-2015

Friday 28 June 2024

President's Lunch - SAVE THE DATE

Wednesday 3 July 2024 

Alumni Publications

George Hodgkinson (1963, Jurisprudence)

A History of Ship Launches and their Ceremonies (Pen and Sword, 2023)

Dr Chris Locke (1977, Modern History)

GPs, Politics and Medical Professional Protest in Britain, 1880-1948 (Routledge, Studies in Modern British History, 2023)

Alumni Guest Room Bookings

Alumni can check availability, book and pay for rooms within Alumni House online. The booking system can be found on the Alumni Benefits page of our website.

To make a booking, you will need to enter a promotional code to identify yourself as an alumnus/a and this can be found in the monthly e-newsletter.

Please click here to find answers to frequently asked questions, along with further details about the Alumni Guest Rooms.

Alumni Common Room - Opening Times

Just a reminder that the opening times for the Alumni Common Room are:

Monday to Friday: 9.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-5pm 

To gain entry please ring the bell for the office.

Please note that the Alumni Common Room is closed at weekends, on Bank Holidays and between Christmas and New Year.

Personal Information Form

In the New Year we will be sending a Personal Information Form (PIF) to most of the College alumni to ensure the details we hold on you are up to date. Do keep and eye out for this, and let us know if you have any questions.