Tribute to Polly Friedhoff, 1941 – 2022

Polly Friedhoff: 18 March 1941 – 2 December 2022 

Professor Roger Goodman remembers Polly Friedhoff, St Antony’s first-ever Public Relations and Development Officer, always affectionately known by its initials as PRADO.

Polly arrived in 1991 and there will be few students, staff members, senior members, academic visitors or Fellows who passed through the college during the following 15 years, who did not get to know and appreciate her. She was in many ways the living heart of the college who had time for everyone and who rejoiced in introducing people who she knew would get on. Generations of College members have had reason to be grateful to her. 

Polly was one of life’s great organisers. During her time as PRADO, she organised some of the biggest events in the College’s history: Bill Deakin’s eightieth birthday Gaudy, the College’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations, the inauguration of the Founder’s Building attended by the Princess Royal, as well as numerous visits from world leaders including Kofi Annan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Tony Blair. 

Polly always claimed that fundraising was not part of her role but in being such a brilliant friendraiser for the College she became a de facto fundraiser. Indeed, much of the success in raising funds that the College has enjoyed in the past two decades can be traced back to projects which Polly initiated. It was also Polly who established the St Antony’s College Newsletter as well as an annual College Record, which together have become our archive of activities over the past three decades.  

Polly was a one-off who was loved by all who came into contact with her. This is evidenced by the huge number of Antonians who kept in touch with her long after her retirement. At her farewell event in 2006, she asked us to join her in a toast that her Scottish father used: ‘Here’s tai us, wha’s like us, damn few, mair’s the pity!’. She could not have summed up better how we feel about her now. She will be dreadfully missed.

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