Dr. David Fyfe
“When asked to reflect on the impact Cambridge and Sidney have had on my life, I often turn to a film I watched a number of years ago called Sliding Doors. Some of you may not have seen it, but for those who have, please indulge me as I run through a very brief synopsis. At its outset the lead character, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, bids her partner who is ill in bed farewell as she leaves for work. In one version she just manages to squeeze through in the doors of the underground train and gets to work as planned. In a parallel version she just fails to get on the train and decides to work from home that day. Upon returning home she finds her partner remarkably recovered and cavorting with another woman and her life is irreparably changed. The point of the film is that every day in our lives we encounter sliding doors, some of minor consequence but some of major, life-altering, consequence.
For me, being admitted to Cambridge, and having the benefit of its rigorous education and subsequent association, was both life enhancing and life changing. I came from a state grammar school in Newbury, England, a school that sent someone to Oxbridge perhaps every ten years or so. Would I have had the same success in life had I not had been educated at the best University in the world? Unlikely. Would I have had the same self-confidence that comes from knowing one was able to hold one’s own in such company? I suspect not. It was an experience for which I will be grateful for as long as I live. It is that gratitude that drives my giving to Sidney and is the reason why I decided to leave a bequest.
In addition to my annual donations, which have funded projects such as a summer school for pupils of state schools that have not had a strong record of applications to Cambridge and, most recently, a staff position in Sidney Sussex’s development office itself—generated by statistics showing a very high return in giving from such additional resources, I have bequeathed a percentage of my estate. It is my hope these funds will be used to establish a graduate studentship at the Cambridge Judge Business School for a science or engineering student from Sidney or from another University but who would become a member of the College. We live in a world increasingly dominated by technology but with too many companies run by leaders who do not have technological insight or by technologists with no formal business training. In my view the combination of science/engineering skills and business training is a powerful one for leadership in a technological world and one to be encouraged.
As Cambridge embarks on a new, ambitious, fundraising campaign, consider reflecting on the sliding doors of your own life and evaluate how large a part Cambridge has played. Please contemplate including your College or the University when putting in place your estate plans.”
— Dr. David Fyfe (Sidney Sussex 1963)
Cambridge in America board member