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Sir Michael Marshall (1932-2019)

It is with great sadness that the College learns of the death of alum Sir Michael Marshall CBE DL (1952), on 27 July 2019. A steadfast friend and supporter of the College, he will be much missed in Cambridge and beyond.

Sir Michael came up to Jesus to read History in 1952 after completing his national service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. An outstanding oarsman, he was stroke of the Jesus first eight when it was head of the river in the 1953 Lent Bumps and 1955 May Bumps, as well as in many other competitions. He rowed in the 100th Boat Race in 1954 and was awarded a Rowing Blue the same year, going on to represent Great Britain in the European Championships in 1955.

Upon graduating he joined the family business and was appointed Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Marshall (Cambridge) Limited in 1964. He led the company as Group Chairman and Chief Executive from 1989 to 2011, stepping down as Chief Executive but remaining Chairman until 2016.

Awarded a CBE in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours and a knighthood in the 2010 New Year’s Honours, Sir Michael’s tireless philanthropic and voluntary work was widespread and renowned. His outstanding generosity towards the College was recognised in 2007 when he was admitted to the Society of St Radegund.

In 2009, the Sir Arthur Marshall Visiting Professorship of Sustainable Urban Design was endowed with a gift of £1million by the DG Marshall of Cambridge Trust in honour of Sir Michael’s father, himself a College alum. Based at the University’s Department of Architecture, the Professorship includes a Fellowship at Jesus College, supporting each holder to make the most of their time in Cambridge.

Links between the Marshall family and the College can be traced back to 1912, when Sir Michael’s grandfather relocated his growing business close to the College on Jesus Lane. After vacating the site, the generosity of the family led to the buildings being taken over by the College. Now named Marshall Court, the fine houses contain both a study centre and comfortable accommodation for postgraduate students. The Marshall name can also be found in the heart of the College, with the Marshall Room used as a communal space by the College community.

Sir Michael was a frequent and always welcome visitor to Jesus. His last visit just a few weeks ago was to look at plans to redevelop the former Marshall garage building in the College grounds as part of a major kitchen development project. 

The thoughts of the College community are with Lady Marshall and Sir Michael’s family and friends.

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