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

Sir Christopher Wren

The university's position of Savilian Professor of Astronomy was established in 1619. It was founded (at the same time as the Savilian Professorship of Geometry) by Sir Henry Savile, a mathematician and classical scholar who was Warden of Merton College and Provost of Eton College. He appointed John Bainbridge as the first professor. There have been 21 astronomy professors in all; Steven Balbus, the current professor, was appointed in September 2012. Past professors include Christopher Wren (1661–73) (pictured), architect of St Paul's Cathedral in London and the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford; he held the professorship at the time of his commission to rebuild the cathedral after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Three professors have been awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society: Charles Pritchard (1870–93), Harry Plaskett (1932–60) and Joseph Silk (1999–2012). The two Savilian chairs have been linked with professorial fellowships at New College since the late 19th century. The astronomy professor is a member of the Sub-Department of Astrophysics at Oxford. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Davis Tarwater

Davis Tarwater (born 1984) is an American swimmer who won gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London for his contributions in the heats of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. He grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and began competitive swimming at age seven. During high school, he set three state swimming records and was named High School Swimmer of the Year in 2002. He attended the University of Michigan, where he was a three-time NCAA national champion and won a Big Ten Medal of Honor for being the school's top student-athlete. Tarwater has represented the United States in the World Championships three times, winning a gold medal as part of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay team in 2009. He has won three individual and five relay national titles, and set an American record in the 200-meter butterfly in 2011. In 2004, 2008 and 2012, he narrowly missed making the Olympic team in the 200-meter butterfly. After failing to make the Olympic team in 2008, he retired from swimming and obtained a Master's degree in Latin American Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, returning to swimming full-time in 2010. (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

St Antony's College coat of arms

St Antony's College is a college for graduate students and researchers only, specialising in international relations, economics, politics, and modern international history. The college was established in 1950 by gift of Antonin Besse, a merchant of French descent; students were first admitted in 1953 (women in 1962) and it became a full member of the university in 1963. It is named after St Antony of Egypt. The college buildings, a former Anglican convent built in the 1960s, are to the north of the city, with Woodstock Road to the west, Bevington Road to the south and Winchester Road to the east. Libraries on the site include the Middle East Centre Library, the Latin American Centre Library, the Bodleian Japanese Library and the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Library. The Warden is the Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan; former Wardens have included the social theorist Ralf Dahrendorf and the diplomat Marrack Goulding. There are about 400 students; alumni include the historians C.A. Bayly and Richard J. Evans, the journalists Anne Applebaum and Thomas Friedman, the American Senator Gary Hart and the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The chapel of Mansfield College. It opened in 1886 as the first non-conformist college in Oxford, although it only achieved full college status in 1995.
Credit: Brett Arnold
The chapel of Mansfield College. It opened in 1886 as the first non-conformist college in Oxford, although it only achieved full college status in 1995.

Did you know...

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

Detail of the Scots American War Memorial

Selected quotation

Geoffrey Chaucer, the opening lines of "The Miller's Tale", one of The Canterbury Tales

Selected panorama

Oxford looking south from the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in the centre of the city – the spire on the left is Christ Church Cathedral and Tom Tower is on the right.
Credit: David Iliff
Oxford looking south from the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in the centre of the city – the spire on the left is Christ Church Cathedral and Tom Tower is on the right.