Photograph of Sonita Allleyne
Photo: Damian Paul Daniel

Ms Sonita Alleyne


Sonita Alleyne became the Master of Jesus College in October 2019.

Degrees obtained

  • MA, Philosophy, Cantab.

Awards and prizes

  • Fellow of the Radio Academy (FRA).
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts (FRSA).


Sonita Alleyne is the 41st Master and first woman to lead Jesus College since its foundation in 1496.

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, and brought up in Leytonstone, East London, Sonita attended a comprehensive school before going to Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. A career in radio followed, and she founded production company Somethin' Else which she led as Chief Executive from 1991 until 2009.

Sonita also worked as a journalist and broadcaster, hosting and contributing to weekly shows for Greater London Radio, BBC Four and BBC Five.

Sonita has worked extensively as a non-executive Director in both the private and public sector. Board roles have included Artsline, a disability arts access charity; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the National Employment Panel; the London Skills and Employment Board; Chair of the Radio Sector Skills Council; a board member of the Local Radio Company as well as newspaper group Archant. She was also a member of the Court of Governors at the University of the Arts London.

Sonita also founded The Yes Programme, a unique online service helping primary pupils connect what they learn in the classroom with jobs in the real world. She is Patron of the Red Hen Project, a Cambridge charity helping children to thrive at home and in school. Sonita is Chair of the Kettle’s Yard Committee and holds a number of external and non-executive board roles.

Sonita is an Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College and has honorary doctorates from the University of the West Indies and the University of Aberdeen. She is a Fellow of The Royal Society of the Arts and the Radio Academy, and in 2003, was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting. Sonita won the Carlton Multicultural Achievement Award for TV and Radio in 2002.

Other interests

Creative writing, painting, music, filmmaking, walking, cooking, and Peaky Blinders!

Hear from our students