The staff and greater community of the Isaac Newton Institute are greatly saddened by the death of Samantha Skehel, who has been taken from us far too early.
Sam joined the Isaac Newton Institute in June 2015. She oversaw and developed INI’s administrative functions, reshaping and building a strong team to support the Institute’s visitor research programmes. She was instrumental in shepherding through many major projects at INI such as the conversion of the (largely unused) library into the Admin Suite as it is now; launching the INI Green Impact initiative which led to the achievement of bronze, silver and gold awards for sound environmental practice; and helping to develop the Newton Gateway into a major force in maths impact. Following the 2019 announcement of additional funding to support the mathematical sciences community, her insight was essential in managing the many new projects and opportunities created as a result.
Sam’s background covered multiple sectors – ranging from industry to charitable bodies, local government to higher education – and included organisations such as Cambridge’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, STARS Children’s Bereavement Support Service, and Marks and Spencer. Within the University of Cambridge she took up two secondment opportunities, one to review the methods of providing internal audit, and the other as Audit and Regulatory Compliance Officer, co-ordinating Risk Management, and providing administrative support for both Internal Audit and the Audit Committee. Sam held an undergraduate degree in English Literature and an MBA. Her passion outside of work was riding, and she owned two horses during her time at INI, most recently a mare called Goldie.
Alongside her always professional approach, Sam brought style, laughter and warmth to her work. She nurtured the careers of many colleagues at the INI and across her wide University network. Many of us, whether here at INI or in new ventures, will feel grateful for her support and guidance. She was immensely loyal to the Institute and its staff, and proud of the work she oversaw. The warmth, effervescence and energy that infused the working culture of the Institute will leave an indelible mark. She will be very much missed.
Our sincerest condolences go to Sam’s family and friends at this difficult time.
We will be opening a book of condolences for those who wish to send messages, further details will follow.
Samantha Skehel, 1967-2024