Saturday, 5 December 2015


Barrister Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR
One of the many achievements of the University of Cambridge is that University of Harvard is named after one of its old students, John Harvard. This is in addition to the university producing the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, Robert Walpole, and thirty other foreign Heads of State and Presidents, including Presidents of India, Ireland, Zambia, South Korea, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, along with Prime Ministers of India, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Poland, Australia, France, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malta, Thailand, Malaysia, and Jordan. Many of the former students of the university that have made names in history apart include Emily Davies, founder of Girton College, the first residential higher education institution for women, John Haden Badley, founder of the first mixed-sex school in England; and Anil Kumar Gain, prominent 20th century mathematician and founder of the Vidyasagar University in Bengal.

The three signatories to the United States Declaration were former students of the University of Cambridge. This is in addition to at least nine monarchs, including Edward VII, George VI, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Sofía of Spain. The university has also educated Charles, Prince of Wales among other world famous royals.

Beyond the previous record of number one in the world, the University of Cambridge was again in 2001 and 2008 ranked number one by the UK Government Research Assessment Performance. In 2005, the university again was reported to have produced more PhDs per year than any other British university and specifically 30% more than the University of Oxford.

The university is also closely linked with the development of the hightech business cluster in and around Cambridge, which forms what is known as Silicon Fan or ‘Cambridge Phenomenon.’ With over 300 active companies, Silicon Fan was reported to have the second largest venture capital after Silicon Valley. In 2006, Cambridge Silicon Fan maintained over 7 billion US dollars.

The Wikipedia has on record a very vivid account of how events played out in the historic University of Cambridge, especially in the famous Economic and Greek departments. It is impressive to see that the great professor of economics, John Maynard Keynes, of the famous Keynes Theory of Perfect and Imperfect Market, was also a product of the university. It was only in recent times that scholars developed such a theory to include internalisation of firm resources in the Theory of Specificity.

The famous writer, Professor Desiderins Erasmus, of the sixteen century also inaugurated Greek studies at the University of Cambridge. Great Professor of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell, is also on the university’s list.

According to Wikipedia, “In the humanities, Greek studies were inaugurated at Cambridge in the early sixteenth century by Desiderius Erasmus during the few years he held a professorship there. Seminal contributions to the field were made by Richard Bentley and Richard Porson. John Chadwick was associated with Michael Ventris in the decipherment of Linear B. The eminent Latinist, A. E. Housman, taught at Cambridge but is more widely known as a poet. Simon Ockley made a significant contribution in Arabic Studies.

Distinguished Cambridge academics in other fields include economists such as John Maynard Keynes, Thomas Malthus, Alfred Marshall, Milton Friedman, Joan Robinson, Piero Sraffa, and Amartya Sen, a former Master of Trinity College. Philosophers Sir Francis Bacon, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Leo Strauss, George Santayana, G. E. M. Anscombe, Sir Karl Popper, Sir Bernard Williams, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal and G. E. Moore were all Cambridge scholars, as were historians such as Thomas Babington Macaulay, Frederic William Maitland, Lord Acton, Joseph Needham, E. H. Carr, Hugh Trevor-Roper, E. P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, Niall Ferguson and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr, and famous lawyers such as Glanville Williams, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, and Sir Edward Coke.

Religious figures at the university have included Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and many of his predecessors; William Tyndale, the pioneer biblical translator; Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley, all Cambridge men, known as the “Oxford martyrs” from the place of their execution; Benjamin Whichcote and the Cambridge Platonists; William Paley, the Christian philosopher known primarily for formulating the teleological argument for the existence of God; William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, largely responsible for the abolition of the slave trade; leading Evangelical churchman Charles Simeon; John William Colenso, the Bishop of Natal who developed views on the interpretation of Scripture and relations with native peoples that seemed dangerously radical at the time; John Bainbridge Webster and David F. Ford, theologians of significant repute; and six winners of the Templeton Prize, the highest accolade for the study of religion since its foundation in 1972.”

In Literature, famous English poet, John Milton studied at the university. Professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria also made the list of famous scholars of the William Churchill College.
Wikipedia also records important writers who studied at the university to include the prominent Elizabethan dramatist Christopher Marlowe, his fellow University Wits Thomas Nashe and Robert Greene, arguably the first professional authors in England, and John Fletcher, who collaborated with Shakespeare on The Two Noble Kinsmen, Henry VIII and The Lost Cardenio and succeeded him as house playwright of The King’s Men. Samuel Pepys matriculated in 1650, ten years before he began his diary, the original manuscripts of which are now housed in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College. Lawrence Sterne, whose novel Tristram Shandy is judged to have inspired many modern narrative devices and styles, was admitted in 1733.

In the following century, the novelists W. M. Thackeray, best known for Vanity Fair, Charles Kingsley, author of Westward Ho! and Water Babies, and Samuel Butler, remembered for The Way of All Flesh and Erewhon, were all at Cambridge. Ghost story writer M. R. James served as provost of King’s College from 1905 to 1918. Novelist Amy Levy was the first Jewish woman to attend the University. Modernist writers who attended the university include E. M. Forster, Rosamond Lehmann, Vladimir Nabokov, Christopher Isherwood and Malcolm Lowry. Although not a student, Virginia Woolf wrote her essay A Room of One’s Own while in residence at Newnham College. Playwright J. B. Priestley, physicist and novelist C. P. Snow and children’s writer A. A. Milne were also among those who passed through the university in the early 20th century.

They were followed by the postmodernists Patrick White, J. G. Ballard, and the early postcolonial writer E. R. Braithwaite. More recently, the university has educated the comedy writers Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe and Howard Jacobson, the popular novelists A. S. Byatt, Sir Salman Rushdie, Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith, Robert Harris and Sebastian Faulks, the successful action writers Michael Crichton, David Gibbins and Jin Yong, and contemporary playwrights and screenwriters such as Julian Fellowes, Stephen Poliakoff, Michael Frayn and Sir Peter Shaffer. (nationalmirror)

N.B: To get Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim’s lecture series, which is a compilation of lectures delivered by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim at different places on wealth creation, especially how he conquered poverty and became a multibillionaire at a record age of 36, click on the link below: