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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

 

History of the Pilkington Prize

 

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 when he was called up in 1939, and he served with the Royal Artillery 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 (no family connection) in 1947, where he invented the 'float' method of glass-making, transforming 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.

He 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 took it upon himself to see that this was recognised. Largely as a result of his efforts, and 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 donation of £200,000 was made to the fund by the Cambridge Foundation, representing part of a legacy gift from the late Clifford Anthony Ingram.

 

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