The position at Oxford University dates from 1564. The Public Orator at the University presents honorary degrees, giving an oration for each person that is honoured. They may be required to compose addresses and letters as directed by the Hebdomadal Council of the University. Speeches when members of the royal family are present may also be required. The post was instituted for a visit to Oxford by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566. The Public Orator, Thomas Kingsmill, gave a very long historical speech. Sir Isaac Wake addressed King James I similarly in 1605.
At the University of Cambridge, the title for the position changed from "Public Orator" to "Orator" in 1926. Trinity College Dublin in Ireland also has a Public Orator. There is no equivalent position in American universities.
List of Public Orators
- William Crowe,
- William Strode (lived 1602-1644)
- Thomas Kingsmill
- Isaac Wake
- Colin Hardie (1967 to 1973)
- Jasper Griffin (1992 to 2004)
- Richard Jenkyns (since 2004)
- John Pinsent, (1983 to 1987)
- Sir Ian Richmond, (1949 to 1951)
Trinity College, Dublin
- "Definition: public orator". Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. die.net. 1913. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Public Orator". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 341. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
- "Orator/Public Orator". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "John Victor Luce, Public Orator 1972–2005". Dublin, Republic of Ireland: Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Schilling, Bernard N. (June 1959). "The Public Orator and Gradum Honoris Causa". AAUP Bulletin 45 (2) (American Association of University Professors). pp. 260–271.
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