St Mary’s Principal to be replaced by current Josephine Butler Principal


The Principal of Josephine Butler College, Professor Adrian Simpson, is stepping down from the role he has held for 16 years to take over as Principal of St Mary’s College. 

He will take over the St Mary’s Presidency from Rev’d Professor Maggi Dawn, who is stepping down as Principal after three years in the role to expand on her work as professor in the Theology department, and to take on a “substantial writing contract”. 

In an email to Josephine Butler students, Professor Simpson explained that he was “stepping down, having been asked [to] take up another role in the University ”. He went on to say “my love for this community and the values for which it stands will remain with me for as long as I live”.

His move to St Mary’s was confirmed in an email seen by St Mary’s students, with Professor Dawn saying that, “I am happy to tell you Professor Adrian Simpson is going to transfer to Mary’s from Josephine Butler, where he has served with great distinction for 16 years, to take over from me as Principal here.

“Professor Simpson and I will work together to achieve a smooth transition so that Mary’s will continue to flourish, and I am immensely glad to be able to place the College in his very capable hands”.

“Especially now, as the world around us is full of fresh uncertainties, I am grateful to belong to this community”

Rev’d professor Maggi Dawn

In her email, Professor Dawn spoke of her “mixed feelings” about stepping down, before going on to praise the way that the college pulled together during the pandemic, which dominated much of her time in the role.

She said: “The college pulled together in extraordinary ways through the unusual circumstances of the pandemic: staff, students, SCR and alumni worked to reinvent our modus operandi so that we remained open for business throughout, and despite some difficult days. Mary’s proved as strong and caring as ever. And especially now, as the world around us is full of fresh uncertainties, I am grateful to belong to this community.”

The new Principal for Josephine Butler College is yet to be announced with Karen Langdon, the current Vice-Principal of the college taking on the role of acting principal in the interim. Langdon previously held the role in 2020-2021 when Professor Simpson went on research leave.

Professor Dawn will be the second person to step down from a high-ranking role at college this year, as it was announced in February that Professor Thomas Allan, the master of Grey College, would be stepping down to fulfill a full-time role in the department of Law. 

Image: International Office, Durham University via Flickr

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