Eliza Manningham-Buller, who read English at Oxford, joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1974. She was promoted to its Management Board in 1993 and, at various times, led the Service’s work on technical intelligence collection surveillance, finance, IT and Irish terrorism. She became Deputy Director General in 1997, in charge of the Service’s operations, before being appointed Director General in 2002. She retired in 2007.

Baroness Manningham-Buller was awarded the DCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2005 and became a Life Peer in 2008, sitting on the cross benches in the House of Lords. She is currently a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology. She is also Governor of the Wellcome Trust.

Baroness Manningham-Buller joined the College’s Council in 2009, becoming Chair of the Council and Court in July 2011. She stepped down in 2015 and becomes Chair of the Wellcome Trust from October 2015.

In 2014 HM the Queen made her a Lady of the Garter.