Odds and quads - 21 November 2013

Images of pineapples can be found all over Wolfson College, Cambridge

November 21, 2013

Founded as University College in 1965 to accommodate research students, it acquired its present name in 1973 after a major donation from the Wolfson Foundation. In the same year, a wealthy Singaporean pineapple grower, Lee Seng Tee, brought his daughter to study there. When he was given a lift to the railway station by the college’s only tutor, plant pathologist Peter Lowings, Dr Lee started describing the terrible problems he was having on his plantation.

Dr Lowings sent some research students to take a look, and they discovered the plantation had been infected by bacteria transmitted by ants.

In gratitude for this invaluable help, Dr Lee donated funds to build an assembly hall, a new library and a garden. The pineapple connection is commemorated in a mural painted for the college’s 40th anniversary. The stone statue, however, predates Dr Lee and was probably bought from a garden centre by the previous owner.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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