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Hatfield College


The importance of a sense of belonging is at the heart of the famous Hatfield spirit. Once a Hatfielder, always a Hatfielder. Year on year our graduands go out in the wider world enriched by the Hatfield spirit to join the network of Hatfield alumni. Our alumni are an important part of the College community and, through the work of the Hatfield Association and the Hatfield Trust, they continue to make an active contribution to College life.

Since 1846 when it was founded, Hatfield College has produced a large number of alumni who have embodied the College motto "Vel primus vel cum primis" in their achievements:

  • Will Carling, former England rugby union Captain;
  • Will Greenwood, former England rugby union player;
  • Tony Laithwaite, the man behind the world's largest wine mail order company, encompassing Bordeaux Direct and The Sunday Times Wine Club;
  • David Shukman, Environmental & Science correspondent for the BBC;
  • Tim Smit of the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan;
  • Andrew Strauss, Ashes-winning England cricket captain;
  • Jeremy Vine, broadcaster.

... and the women are yet to come! Until 1988 Hatfield was an all male College but since then female students have grown in number to represent currently more than half the student body. They have extended the range of sport, music and community activities within College, as well as raising academic standards. Famous alumnae are out there making their mark ... watch this space ...

Poppy Adams - The Behaviour of Moths

Poppy came to Hatfield 1990, read Natural Sciences, and played lacrosse for the University. She graduated in 1993. Her debut novel, The Behaviour of Moths, was published on 1st May 2008 by Virago, Little Brown and has been superbly read by Stephanie Cole on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime.

"A powerful novel about family secrets, loss and moths" BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime.

Oliver Balch - India Rising: Tales from a Changing Nation

Former history student, Oliver Balch who graduated in 1998, will have his third book, Under the Tump: Sketches of Real Life in the Welsh Borders, published on 19 May 2016 by Faber & Faber.

Oliver's second book India Rising: Tales from a Changing Nation uses the lives of everyday Indians to show how this populous nation is changing. It takes the reader off the tourist trail and into the homes, offices and streets where 'New India' is being born. Published by Faber & Faber in May 2012.

His first book 'Viva South America! A Journey Through a Restless Continent' was published by Faber & Faber on 19 March 2009.

For more details see:

Katherine Ford

Former student, Katherine, who graduated in 2010, is the first Scot, and remains the youngest British female, to officially complete the 3000 mile Race Across America, from her ride in 2008. In 2017 she became the first ever British rider to attempt the 12 and 24 hour Track Cycling World Records, to raise awareness of epilepsy stigma.

Katherine Preston - Out With It

Katherine came to Hatfield in 2002, read History, and graduated in 2005. Her memoir, Out With It (How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice) is published by Simon & Schuster and was released on 16 April 2013.

Rosa Rankin-Gee - The Last Kings of Sark

Former student, Rosa, has published her first novel. It's called The Last Kings of Sark, and it's being published by Virago. It's now a novel, but in an earlier iteration it was a novella, which won the first international Paris Literary Prize.

For information about the book, see this stunning review in The Guardian.

David Shukman - An Iceberg as Big as Manhattan

As Environment and Science Correspondent for the BBC News since 2003, David Shukman has reported from locations as diverse as the Artic, the Antartic and the Amazon. His most recent book An Iceberg as Big as Manhattan, was published in July 2011 by Profile Books, and tells of his extraordinary adventures.