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Former President Dr Desmond Hawkins passes away

Dr Desmond Hawkins 1989-93 sm 2

Hughes Hall is sad to announce the passing of Dr Desmond Hawkins, former President and Honorary Fellow.

As President of the College from 1989 to 1993 Dr Hawkins oversaw the doubling of the College population; having observed that the College could only ‘accommodate… one third of the present intake’, his term saw the College’s largest building project in 100 years, Chancellor’s Court. He also persuaded the Governing Body to increase the Fellowship by introducing the new category of Research Fellows. The College has greatly benefitted from this initiative ever since.

Dr Hawkins enjoyed a diverse and eminent career in medicine. Born in London of Irish ancestry he trained in Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital London during the Second World War and played Rugby Union for the Hospital and London Irish. One of his first active roles as a medical student was to treat injured servicemen from the Normandy D-Day landings. It was here on the south coast, whilst working in theatre, that he met his wife, Margaret. He was one of the first Allied medical personnel to enter Bergen Belsen Concentration camp following its liberation in 1945.

Following specialist training in Oxford and Manchester he was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists in 1959, and, after appointment as a Consultant in Cambridge, developed Neuroradiology and Interventional Radiology at Addenbrookes Hospital, pioneering the treatment of complex vascular lesions in the brain and receiving referrals from across the UK and Europe. He was a brilliant, generous and effective teacher. He subsequently played a pivotal role in medical education as the Clinical Dean of the University School of Clinical Medicine at Cambridge.

After retirement he took an MPhil in Archaeology, with a thesis on ‘The diagnosis of pituitary disease from human skeletal remains’. He will be remembered for his tireless dedication to the College and to the medical profession, for cycling into College well into his old age, and his good spirits.