What is the Pilkington Prize?
The Pilkington Prize awards were inaugurated in 1994 and endowed by Sir Alastair Pilkington to acknowledge excellence in teaching. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. There are twelve prizes awarded each year, with nominations made by each School. The prizes are awarded annually by the Vice-Chancellor.
Sir Alastair Pilkington studied Mechanical Sciences at Trinity College from 1938, winning Blues for tennis, squash and Rugby Fives. His studies were interrupted by World War II, where he served in the Western Desert, before being taken prisoner after the fall of Crete. He later returned to Cambridge to finish his degree.
Sir Alastair joined the Pilkington glass making company in 1947, where he invented the 'float' method of glass making, which transformed the industry throughout the world.
His involvement with the University and higher education was one of Sir Alastair's main interests. As Chairman of the Cambridge Foundation he used all his experience to establish and steer the University's development policy.
Sir Alastair believed passionately that the quality of the teaching was a crucial part of the University's ability to continue to attract undergraduates of the highest calibre and he took it upon himself to see that this was recognised. Largely as a result of his efforts, supported by a personal donation of £50,000, the Pilkington Prizes Fund was created in July 1992 and the first prizes were awarded in 1994.
More recently an additional £200,000 was donated to the fund by the Cambridge Foundation, representing part of a legacy gift from the late Clifford Anthony Ingram.