Onassis Foundation Funds Classics Scholarship at Cambridge University

Renowned Cambridge classicist Dame Mary Beard hails the new scholarship, thanks to a generous gift from the Onassis Foundation.


Historian Dame Mary Beard has said she is “over the moon” that a fully funded Classics scholarship has been established at Newnham, her Cambridge University college, to secure her legacy following her retirement at the end of next year, after almost 40 years of teaching.

The fellowship, to be known as the Onassis Classics Fellowship, is the result of a joint fund-raising campaign between Newnham College and Cambridge University’s Faculty of Classics. Donations have been made by Newnham alumnae, anonymous donors and what was described as “a large gift” from the Onassis Foundation.

The Cambridge academic has herself funded two scholarships to support students from under-represented groups, leaving 80,000 British Pounds to the University as a “parting gift.”  

“Classics is a subject that is as much about the future as it is about the past, and we need it now more than ever,” said Beard who has brought Classics to an audience of millions across the world through numerous history documentaries for the BBC, media appearances and published works.

“I am over the moon that this will be able to continue and thank those who have made it possible from the bottom of my heart,” she said.

“We are happy to be supporting the exceptional, internationally-acclaimed, and long-standing work being done in Classical Studies at the University of Cambridge,” said the President of the Onassis Foundation, Anthony S. Papadimitriou.

Beard, whose many books include the 2002 study The Parthenon, was appointed as a trustee of the British Museum last year despite the UK government blocking her nomination. She is known to be an outspoken supporter for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures held in the British Museum.


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