David Emms Bursary Fund

David Emms OBE was the inspirational and widely respected Master of Dulwich College from 1975 to 1986. David died on 21 December 2015, aged 90.

David attended Tonbridge School, served in the Royal Artillery through the last years of the Second World War, then went up to Brasenose College, Oxford. During his time at Oxford he was awarded two Blues for rugby and would go on to play for Northampton, Eastern Counties and the Barbarians. It was shortly after graduating that he married Pam, a devoted partnership and important factor of his later successes.

David’s career in education began at Uppingham School in 1951, where he rose to become Head of Modern Languages. He was appointed Headmaster of Cranleigh School in 1960, aged just 35, and ten years later assumed the same position at Sherborne School. He came to Dulwich in 1975.

Genial, generous and with apparently superhuman energy, David loved the College. He accentuated the positive and declared war on apathy. His encouragement to the young boys to ‘have a bash’ – to join in outdoor activities and societies – was genuine and it worked. It was during David’s tenure that the Edward Alleyn Theatre and Wodehouse Library were opened, and the Assisted Places scheme successfully introduced, replacing the local authority funding of places under the ‘Dulwich Experiment’.

David appointed a good number of women teachers, further extended the curriculum (including A Level History of Art, making use of links with Dulwich Picture Gallery), helped found the Alleynian Sailing Society and chaired the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference in 1984. During his last year as Master he served as President of the Alleyn Club and, in recognition of his continuing contribution to the life of Dulwich over three decades, he was elected a Fellow of the College in 2003. In honour of David’s lasting legacy to providing access to a Dulwich education to those who could not afford the fees, the Emms family have asked donations in his memory to be directed to the “David Emms Bursary Fund.” David’s named bursary will be a part of the College’s Bursary Appeal Fund.

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