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.
- William Lewin, University of Cambridge, 1570
- William Crowe, University of Oxford
- George Herbert, University of Cambridge (1620 to 1627)
- Thomas Kingsmill, University of Oxford
- John Victor Luce, Trinity College Dublin
- John Pinsent, University of Liverpool
- Isaac Wake, University of Oxford
- Colin Hardie, University of Oxford (1967 to 1973)
- "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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