Provost Orchard goes to Oxford

It is with a mixture of pride and regret that we have learned that our fourteenth provost, Andy Orchard, has been elected as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford, and that he will be leaving the College at the beginning of the next academic year.  The Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair, which was established in 1795, is the oldest in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies, and the most famous former holder is J. R. R. Tolkien; it is associated with Pembroke College, and Andy’s office will be situated in rooms in the entrance-tower at Pembroke previously occupied by Samuel Johnson, whose Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755, is notorious for the same kind of robust good humour that we have come to recognize in Provost Orchard’s public utterances. We are proud that he leaves us to take up such a distinguished appointment, but at the same time sad to see not only him leave, but also Clare and Ellen and Oscar, who have contributed so much to so many events in College. We wish them all well.

Provost Orchard comments in his own inimitable style as follows: “For me, this is a bittersweet Casablanca-moment: of all the jobs in all the joints in all the world, the R&B chair at Oxford is the only one that could have tempted me to leave Trinity, and say ‘Play it again’ to working at one of my old almae matres. While I have always thought of myself as more rock ‘n’ roll than R&B, I am honoured that Oxford, now that elvish has left the building, should see fit to put me in Tolkien’s place; I am somewhat less flattered that somehow Samuel Johnson, a famously fat, malodorous, white-haired Englishman with terrible teeth should also make them think of me. I have loved greatly my thirteen years at UofT, my twelve years at Trinity, and especially my six years as Provost here: Trinity and Toronto have been good to me and mine, and we shall all miss staff, students, fellows, and alums alike. We have been lucky to meet and live among such wonderful people, and to have made so many friends: thanks to all for their warmth and support.”