US Petreans

There are currently over 300 Petreans resident in the USA and the association between Peterhouse and North America is of very long standing. When the Mayflower sailed to the New World in 1620, the leader of the Pilgrim Fathers was a man called William Brewster (c1566–1644).  Brewster had matriculated in Peterhouse in 1580 and in 2006 one of his direct descendants followed his example and also became a Petrean.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century George Washington's great-uncle, the Revd Godfrey Washington (1670-1729) was both Fellow and Bursar of Peterhouse.  It is said that the family coat of arms - stars and stripes surmounted by an eagle - provided the inspiration for the American flag. The coat of arms can still be seen in Little St Mary's.

In more recent times, Peterhouse been enriched by distinguished scholars from the U.S.A. who have been Fellows: the philosopher and political scientist Edward Shils; the historian Henry Steele Commager; the economist Richard Goodwin; the historian Niall Ferguson to name but a few.  A substantial proportion of our graduate students are also from the USA including a number of Gates Scholars.

We are always delighted to welcome returning Petreans and to show them the developments that are taking place in the College.  Most recently, a number of US-based Petreans clubbed together to name a room in the Whittle Building after William Brewster and their names are listed beside the door.