Portal:University of Oxford

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Coat of arms of the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or "Oxford"), located in the English city of Oxford, is the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world and is regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions. Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two "ancient universities" have many common features and are sometimes collectively and colloquially referred to as "Oxbridge". For more than a century, Oxford has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates. (more about the university...)

The colleges of the university, of which there are 38, are autonomous self-governing institutions. All students and teaching staff belong to one of the colleges, or to one of the six Permanent Private Halls (religious foundations that admit students to study at Oxford). The colleges provide tutorials and classes for students, while the university provides lectures and laboratories, and sets the degree examinations. Most colleges accept undergraduate and postgraduate students, although some are for graduate students only; All Souls does not have students, only Fellows, while Harris Manchester is for students over the age of 21. All the colleges now admit both men and women: the last single-sex college, St Hilda's, began to admit men in 2008. The oldest colleges are University, Balliol, and Merton, established between 1249 and 1264, although there is dispute over when each began teaching. The most recent new foundation is Kellogg College, founded in 1990, while the most recent overall is Green Templeton College, formed in 2008 as the result of a merger of two existing colleges. (more about the colleges...)

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Selected article

Thomas Bodley

Bodley's Librarian is the head of the Bodleian Library, the main library at the University of Oxford. Both are named after the founder, Sir Thomas Bodley (pictured). The university's library was established in about 1320 but had declined by the end of the 16th century, so in 1598 Bodley offered to restore it. The first librarian, Thomas James, was selected in 1599, and the Bodleian opened in 1602. Bodley wanted the librarian to be diligent, a linguist, unmarried, and not a parish priest, although James persuaded him to dispense with the last two requirements. In all, 25 people have served as Bodley's Librarian, some less well than others: John Price (who held the post from 1768 to 1813) was accused of "a regular and constant neglect of his duty". The first woman, and the first foreign librarian, to run the Bodleian was Sarah Thomas (2007–13). The current librarian is Richard Ovenden. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray (born 1959) is an American lawyer and Democratic Party politician who has served since 2012 as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was a Marshall Scholar at Brasenose College from 1981 to 1983, and won his "Blue" in basketball. He later became Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review, and a law clerk for the U. S. Supreme Court. He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (1991–93) before he was appointed by the office of the Ohio Attorney General as the first Ohio State Solicitor. In 1994, Cordray left his appointed position to pursue private law practice before becoming Franklin County Treasurer in 2002, then Ohio State Treasurer in 2006. In November 2008, he was elected to serve as Ohio Attorney General starting January 8, 2009, for the remainder of the unexpired term ending January 2011. (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of University College

University College, founded by William of Durham in 1249, is one of the oldest of the Oxford colleges. Claims that it was founded by King Alfred the Great in 872 are no longer taken seriously by historians. It is one of the largest colleges in terms of student numbers, with about 420 undergraduates and 150 postgraduates. Univ, as it is generally known, has its main entrance on High Street, between Merton Street and Magpie Lane. The medieval buildings were replaced by the main quadrangle in the 17th century, after delays caused by the English Civil War. The Radcliffe Quadrangle was added in 1719. Women have been admitted as students since 1979. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley studied at the college but was expelled for writing The Necessity of Atheism; he is now commemorated by the Shelley Memorial. Two British prime ministers, Clement Attlee (student) and Harold Wilson (fellow) were members of the college, as were the American president Bill Clinton and the Australian prime minister Bob Hawke. Other alumni include the scientist Stephen Hawking, the writer C. S. Lewis and the poet Andrew Motion. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The dining hall of Balliol College was built in 1876–77 by Alfred Waterhouse, replacing an early 15th-century hall (which was then used as a library).
Credit: David Iliff
The dining hall of Balliol College was built in 1876–77 by Alfred Waterhouse, replacing an early 15th-century hall (which was then used as a library).

Did you know...

Articles from Wikipedia's "Did You Know" archives about the university and people associated with it:

David Lloyd George in 1911

Selected quotation

W. B. Yeats, aged 23, in a letter to Katharine Tynan (1888)

Selected panorama

Peckwater Quadrangle of Christ Church, built in the 18th century
Credit: Fritz Saalfeld
Peckwater Quadrangle of Christ Church, built in the 18th century

On this day...

Events for 29 March relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

More anniversaries in March and the rest of the year...