His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, marked 30 years as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge by officially opening the Stephen Hawking Building on 17th April, 2007.
|The Stephen Hawking Building|
The £10 million student accommodation and conference building for Gonville & Caius College has been named after its most celebrated living Fellow, Professor Stephen Hawking.
Although Professor Hawking was unable to be at the opening in person, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Waseem Mirza was, and you can listen to his report by clicking on the link below:
|Image courtesy of Gonville & Caius|
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mick Le Moignan, the deputy development director of the college said: "It's a very special day for Gonville & Caius College. We're naming our wonderful new building in honour of our most celebrated living Fellow, Professor Stephen Hawking.
"The building is only here because of the massive generosity of nearly 2,000 benefactors who have given over £10 million to put it up."
The building, on West Road in Cambridge, has been in the planning stage for many years, and has taken two years to build. The stunning design is now home to 75 new student rooms all with en-suite accommodation, 8 fellow sets, three teaching rooms and a student common room, which will be used as a conference venue in the vacations.
|Gonville & Caius students|
Professor Hawking cut the first sod on the site over two years ago - the very site which housed his own student accommodation when he was first at the college.
And it's a grand design. The building is shaped like an 'S' when viewed from above. The common misconception is that the S stands for Stephen, but in truth, the building was designed this way in order to avoid three mature trees on the site. Cambridge City Council insisted that the trees must be preserved before building work could go ahead.
Speaking on pre-recorded video at the opening, Professor Hawking said: "I lived on this site for 15 years. I hope it will now provide accommodation for students for many years... the college supported me in the early years as a Research Fellow until I got a faculty position, and I'm very grateful to them for that."
You can listen to Professor Hawking's speech by clicking the audio link below: