Leading University academics, business leaders, and fellows, students and staff of Christ’s College gathered there on Saturday for the official opening of the Yusuf Hamied Centre.


The new theatre with its associated public rooms incorporating bar, music practice room and gym is the result of a generous donation by Dr Yusuf Hamied who’s recently been elected an Honorary Fellow of the College in recognition of his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and his provision of affordable drugs to developing nations.

The event provided an opportunity to showcase some of the activities that will benefit from the new theatre. Guests were treated to a mini-performance from the Christ’s Amateur Dramatic Society performing scenes from the Importance of Being Earnest while members of the College Choir and Music Society performed a selection of pieces, including a string quartet by Handel and works by Tallis, Bruckner and Vaughan Williams. Ms Helen Mort, alumna and prize-winning poet read a new poem and Professor Jim Secord, a Fellow of Christ’s gave a talk on Darwin.

The performance was followed by a dinner in the Hall with guests including Dame Sandra Dawson, Professor Jeremy Sanders and personal friends of Dr and Mrs Hamied including Dr Mary Archer and Lord Bilimoria.

The Yusuf Hamied Centre occupies the same site as the old College theatre, but the venue has been completely rebuilt and is now a real asset to college life providing a modern space for lectures, film, concerts and drama with easy access by lift to the function room and bar below.

The Master of Christ’s, Professor Frank Kelly (pictured right) said: ‘We owe a debt of gratitude to Yusuf Hamied. He has contributed to the College’s life in many ways and is a wonderful friend to those who know him personally. The presence of so many of his friends here today, together with students, staff and fellows of Christ’s, pays tribute to a warm, kind-spirited man, who works hard for the greater good.’

Dr Hamied (pictured left) said: ‘There is a real bond between myself and Christ’s. Two Christ’s men, above all others, are singularly responsible for my being here today and for directing my life and shaping my future – Dr Lucan Pratt and Lord Alexander Todd’.

Dr Hamied matriculated at Christ’s in 1954 to read Natural Sciences and is still very appreciative of the support he received in his six years at Christ’s. He is also a major supporter of the University. He is now Chairman and Managing Director of Cipla – a major pharmaceutical company in India which provides affordable drugs for millions of people throughout the world. Dr Hamied is a member of the Cambridge India Partnership Advisory Board and of the Cambridge Society, Bombay.



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