Dr Karen Ottewell presented as first ever Proctor for Lucy Cavendish College

16 May 2018

Lucy Cavendish College has presented Dr Karen Ottewell as its first ever Proctor for the academic year 2018-2019. She is only the 13th woman to hold the office at the University, as it was restricted to men until the 1970s and the Sex Discrimination Act.

Karen is currently Tutor and Senior Treasurer of the Boat Club at Lucy Cavendish College and Proctor Designate at the University. She is Director of Academic Development and Training for International Students at the Cambridge University Language Centre and was awarded a Pilkington Prize for excellent teaching in 2016. She will hold the new role of Proctor for a year from 1 October 2018.

Of her new role Karen said:

"I feel very privileged to be elected to serve as a University Proctor, and in particular, as Lucy Cavendish’s first Proctor. Learning the ropes, so to speak, this past year as Junior Pro-Proctor has been tremendous. I have not only become part of an over 800-year-old tradition at the University, but I have become part of a tremendous team and the role the office of Proctor plays provides an invaluable insight into how the University works."

Proctors have been involved in University life for the past 800 years. They are responsible for ensuring good order and discipline in the University, including overseeing examinations, serving on a number of University bodies, committees, and boards, attending discussions of University business at meetings of the Regent House, administering the registration of University Societies and their presence is essential at Congregations of the Regent House, the University's governing body, for the conferring of degrees. They host a Proctors' Surgery at 3pm on the Wednesdays of Full Term, open to junior and senior members of the University who wish to consult them.

The first woman to hold the full office was Marie Axton of Newnham in 1979 although Margaret Smith and Jenny Teichman seem to have held the office of Special Pro-Proctor for Motor Vehicles in 1976/7 for short periods.


1. Karen is pictured on the far right in her new ceremonial gown.

2. With the other Proctors at Marshal's Office

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