Portal:University of Oxford

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The University of Oxford Portal

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

John Wallis

The university's position of Keeper of the Archives dates from 1634, although its records pre-date this, and Oxford claims to have one of the longest continuous record-keeping traditions in Britain. Records were initially kept in the Priory of St Frideswide, moving to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in the 14th century. The archives were left in considerable disarray by a burglary in 1544, and remained in chaos until Brian Twyne was appointed the first Keeper of the Archives in 1634 as a reward for his work preparing new statutes for the university. Under Twyne and his successor as Keeper (Gerard Langbaine), the archives were moved into one of the rooms in the Tower of the Five Orders in the Bodleian Library; three of the wooden presses that were built at that time to store them are still in use. The third to hold the position, John Wallis (pictured), prepared an index of the collection that was still used in the 20th century. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Lionel Palairet

Lionel Palairet (1870–1933) was an English amateur cricketer who played for Somerset and Oxford University. A graceful right-handed batsman, he was selected to play Test cricket for England twice in 1902; an unwillingness to tour during the English winter limited his Test appearances. For Somerset, he frequently opened the batting with Herbie Hewett. In 1892, they shared a partnership of 346 for the first wicket, an opening stand that set a record for the County Championship and remains Somerset's highest first-wicket partnership. In that season, Palairet was named as one of the "Five Batsmen of the Year" by Wisden. Over the following decade, he was one of the leading amateur batsmen in England. He passed 1,000 first-class runs in a season on seven occasions, and struck two double centuries. After 1904, he appeared infrequently for Somerset, though he played a full season in 1907 when he was chosen to captain the county. He retired from first-class cricket in 1909, having scored over 15,000 runs. Contemporaries judged Palairet to have one of the most attractive batting styles of the period, and his obituary in The Times described him as "the most beautiful batsman of all time". (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of Wolfson College

Wolfson College, in north Oxford on the banks of the River Cherwell, is a college for postgraduate students (about 600) and fellows. It was established in 1965 as Iffley College with grants from 12 other colleges, but it did not have any premises initially. The college was renamed in honour of Sir Isaac Wolfson, in recognition of his financial contribution to the construction of the college under its first President, Sir Isaiah Berlin. The main building, designed by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, was completed in 1974 and were given Grade II listed building status in 2011. There are three quadrangles: the central quadrangle (known as the Berlin Quad), the Tree Quad built around established trees, and the River Quad into which the Cherwell has been diverted to form a punt harbour. Unlike many other Oxford colleges, there is no separate High Table or Common Room for the fellows, and the students and fellows eat and associate together. Alumni include the astronomer Richard Ellis, the novelist Iain Pears and the mathematician Nigel Hitchin. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.  Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.
Credit: Harshil Shah
The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.

Did you know...

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

Charles Ranken

Selected quotation

George Robert Parkin, The Rhodes Scholarships, 1915


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