On December 5, 2009, nearly 600 Cambridge alumni and friends, including many distinguished visitors from Cambridge itself, joined Cambridge in America in New York City to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge at a festive black tie gala at Gotham Hall.
During the cocktail hour, the Choir of Clare College sang while guests enjoyed conversation and good company before being seated for dinner and a very special program of entertainment.
Just before dinner, the 800th Anniversary Light Show, featuring quotes from notable Cantabrigians narrated by Katherine Upton (Girton College 2006) and a recording of Spem in Alium by the King’s College Choir, was projected on the massive walls of Gotham Hall.
Sir David Frost (Gonville & Caius College), Master of Ceremonies, welcomed guests and introduced the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard (Newnham College), who invited all guests to stand for a specially composed grace sung by the Choir of Clare College.
During dinner, a view of a sunrise over Cambridge was also projected onto the walls of the former bank building, in one of New York City’s most breathtaking interior spaces.
After dinner, alumni were treated to a wonderful panoramic multimedia program celebrating Cambridge in words, music, and film. The presentation featured Sir David Frost; a reading of ‘The Bridge in Motion’, written by Arthur Sale (Magdalene College) and read by Hermione Thompson (Clare College 2009); a performance by Over the Bridge, the Clare College a capella group; a short 800th Anniversary film highlighting the many faces of Cambridge; a lively and comedic performance by Stephen Fry (Queens’ College), and a dazzling finale by the Cambridge University Dancesport Team.
An additional 100 alumni joined the festivities after the program to enjoy live music, dancing, open bar, and dessert buffet. The evening concluded with a lively rendition of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ performed by the Clare College Choir and The Bob Hardwick Sound orchestra.
Alumni waved Cambridge pennants and were dazzled by an indoor fireworks display by the Grucci Brothers, a fitting end to a remarkable celebration. Departing guests enjoyed a dramatic view of the nearby Empire State Building soaring overhead, illuminated in Cambridge blue.
To read the full text of 'The Bridge in Motion', click here (PDF).
To see the full text of the light show narration, click here (PDF).
A celebration worthy of 800 years
Dr. William H. Janeway and Mrs. Weslie R. Janeway
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Cawthorn
Mr. Charles S. Craig
Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian and Mrs. Jamie W. El-Erian
Mr. Marc Feigen and Ms. Sheri Levine
Mr. Gurnee Hart and Mrs. Marjorie Hart
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lacovara
Mr. and Mrs. Hamish Maxwell
Mr. David J. R. Oston
Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Weller
Dr. Ruth Whaley
Mr. James M. Wilson and Mrs. M. Jane Wilson
Anne H. Wolff and Pieter C. Knook
Frank M. Yusuf
Mr. and Mrs. Morris E. Zukerman
800th Anniversary Gala Committee
Sir David Frost
Mr. Stephen Fry
Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Sir David Hare
Mr. Eric Idle
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Salman Rushdie
Sir Peter Shaffer
Ms. Zadie Smith
Mr. Chris Weitz
Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States of America
Sir Nigel Sheinwald
Her Majesty's Consul General, New York
Sir Alan Collins