Annual telethon reconnects with alumni

The 2021 Merton Telethon took place from 6 to 20 April. This year was like no other. The whole campaign, including recruitment, training and the call room, were all held virtually, with callers participating safely from their rooms in College or at home. Regrettably we were forced to cancel the 2020 Telethon so it was with great excitement that we received a record amount of interest in the role from students, who were keen to connect with Merton alumni again, both within the UK and throughout the world! 

Throughout the Telethon, callers were in high spirits and we were able to keep them motivated during the long (and late) calling sessions, by playing a variety of games, including quizzes and team competitions. On the last evening we all arrived for our final Zoom call wearing a piece of headgear. A good laugh was had by all and this further emphasised the wonderful team spirit during the Telethon.

Our aim for the Telethon was two-fold: to connect with alumni and share experiences from days gone by; and to raise funds for the College to be able to continue providing a world-class education and support to our students.

We are thrilled to share that we raised £222,000; a remarkable achievement thanks to our amazing student callers and dedicated alumni, who so generously gave of their time. The Telethon funding has been able to support an array of projects, from scholarships to buildings, as well as unrestricted funds for the College to use where the need is greatest.

This year, we were extremely excited to launch, at the start of the Telethon, a second matching gift for the Michael Baker Tutorial Fellowship in Physics. Stephen Quake (1991, DPhil Theoretical Physics), has generously made £100,000 available in matched funds. This meant that all one-off donations made to this Fellowship during the campaign were doubled, while the value of regular donations was matched for the first year. For further information on how you can still make a gift to the Michael Baker Fellowship please visit

In total, our students were able to connect with just under 400 alumni, with more than 50% making a gift. This is a wonderful result which we couldn’t have achieved without the incredible support from alumni. On behalf of the Warden, Fellows, staff and students, we thank all those who were able to talk to our callers, share valuable experiences and many humorous anecdotes. Your commitment to Merton was evident in the feedback given by our callers, who ended the Telethon feeling motivated and inspired to be the best they can be. We are hugely thankful.