On August 1st the Courtauld became a free-standing College of the University of London, like King’s, LSE, UCL or Imperial. This is a momentous change. Before, the Institute formed part of the central University and was entirely responsible to it (without even our own cheque book, as Nicholas Goodison has long lamented). We are now responsible for our own finances, academic and other planning, fund-raising and maintenance, though like all the colleges we remain part of the University for co-operative purposes and the conferring of degrees.

With the increased prominence and control of its finances which comes with the change, the Courtauld is well-placed to raise further endowments and donations to enable it to undertake its most cherished plans. These include a Graduate Research Centre, re-housing the Witt and Conway Photographic Libraries, and increasing space for the Book Library (all three interdependent projects), as well as converting, in conjunction with the Somerset House Trust, the first floor of the South Building to display our works of art from the Impressionists onwards, including the world-class new loan collection of paintings and sculptures from the Fridart Foundation.

This achievement would not have been possible without the unstinting support in time, money, imagination and energy of a large number of people. The Courtauld consequently owes a huge debt of gratitude to those, especially the J. Paul Getty Trust, Lisbet Rausing and the Garfield Weston Foundation, who have, among other things, provided the endowments needed to achieve college status; to those, especially Jacob Rothschild, Nicholas Goodison and Nick Ferguson, who steered us through the interim process and knew where to look for help; to the members of all the boards, trusts and committees involved, especially the Advisory Board, the Governing Board in waiting, the Samuel Courtauld Trust and the Vice-Chancellor’s Steering Group; the staff of the University of London, especially Graham Zellick, John Davidson, John Morgan, Lee O’Callaghan and many others; to King’s College, who were unfailingly supportive whether we were talking to them about merger or independence; to the consultants McKinsey and AEA; and finally to the Institute, those in administration in particular for completing two years’ work in six months, and all staff and students, past and present, who together have given the Courtauld its reputation as a centre of excellence in the history, conservation and display of works of art.