Portal:University of Oxford

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The University of Oxford Portal

University of Oxford coat of arms
The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University", or simply "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

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (born 1925) is a British Labour Party politician and the current President of the Stop the War Coalition. He was educated at New College and served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War before entering politics. With his successful campaign to renounce his inherited title of Viscount Stansgate, Benn was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963. Later, in the Labour Government of 1964–1970 under Harold Wilson, he served as Postmaster General and later as a notably 'technocratic' Minister of Technology. When the Labour Party was in opposition, Benn served for a year as the Chairman of the Labour Party. In the Labour Government of 1974–1979, he returned to the Cabinet, initially serving as Secretary of State for Industry, before being made Secretary of State for Energy. During the Labour Party's time in opposition during the 1980s, he was seen as the party's prominent figure on the Left, and the term "Bennite" (a term never actually used by Benn himself) has come to be used in Britain for someone of a more radical, left-wing position. Tony Benn, second only to John Parker as Labour's longest serving Member of Parliament, has come top in several polls as one of the most popular politicians in the UK. (more...)

Selected college

Coat of arms of St Peter's College

St Peter's College became a college in 1961, having existed as "St Peter's Hall" since 1929. It is on New Inn Hall Street, on the site of two of the university's oldest academic halls, New Inn Hall and Rose Hall, founded in the 13th century. St Peter's was founded by Francis Chavasse, Bishop of Liverpool, who was concerned at the rising cost of education in British universities. His aim was to enable students who might be deterred by the costs of other colleges to obtain an Oxford education. Its buildings include an 18th-century rectory, which houses the college's entrance and library, and the Church of St Peter-le-Bailey, built in 1874, which is used as the college chapel. There are about 350 undergraduates and 130 graduates. Alumni include the former President of Ghana Edward Akufo-Addo, the Revd W. Awdry (creator of Thomas the Tank Engine), the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the author Mike Carey. Mark Damazer, a former Controller of BBC Radio 4, has been the Master of St Peter's since 2010. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The War Memorial Garden of Christ Church
Credit: Bob Collowan
The War Memorial Garden of Christ Church

Did you know...

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

Clement of Dunblane

Selected quotation

It could not be real, he thought. It was a fragile city spun out of dreams, so small that he could have held it on the palm of his hand and blown it away into silver mist. It was not real. He had dreamed of it for so long that now, when he looked down into the valley, the mist formed itself into and towards spires that would vanish under the sun the moment he shut his eyes... He shut his eyes, opened them, and the towers were still there.

Elizabeth Goudge, from Towers in the Mist

Selected panorama

A view from the tower of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin: to the left, Brasenose College, with the spire of the chapel of Exeter College behind; in the centre, the Radcliffe Camera; to the right, All Souls College with the tower of St Peter-in-the-East (now the library of St Edmund Hall) behind
Credit: Laemq
A view from the tower of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin: to the left, Brasenose College, with the spire of the chapel of Exeter College behind; in the centre, the Radcliffe Camera; to the right, All Souls College with the tower of St Peter-in-the-East (now the library of St Edmund Hall) behind

On this day...

Events for 11 July relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

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

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