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

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

John Marshall Harlan
John Marshall Harlan (1899–1971) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1955 to 1971. Harlan was a student at Upper Canada College, Appleby College, Princeton University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and as Special Assistant Attorney General of New York. In 1954 Harlan was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and a year later president Dwight Eisenhower nominated Harlan to the Supreme Court. Harlan is often characterized as a member of the conservative wing of the Warren Court. He advocated a limited role for the judiciary, remarking that the Supreme Court should not be considered "a general haven for reform movements". In general, Harlan adhered more closely to precedent, and was more reluctant to overturn legislation, than many of his colleagues on the Court. Harlan is sometimes called the "great dissenter" of the Warren Court, and has been described as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the 20th century. (more...)

Selected college or hall

The college coat of arms

Corpus Christi College, founded in 1517, is one of the smallest Oxford colleges in terms of student numbers. It is located on Merton Street, between Oriel College and Merton College, in the centre of the city. It was founded by Richard Foxe, the Bishop of Winchester, who intended the college as lodgings for monks from St Swythun's Priory in Winchester; however, the college moved away from this initial plan and became dedicated to the study of the classics, a subject in which it still has a strong reputation. The pelican sundial in the main quadrangle was added in 1581. John Rainolds, Corpus's seventh President, was involved in the inception and translation of the King James Bible, published in 1611. Former students include John Keble (a leader of the Oxford Movement, later to be commemorated by the foundation of Keble College), the philosopher Isaiah Berlin and the British Labour Party brothers and politicians Ed and David Miliband. The college won the 2009 series of the BBC television quiz programme University Challenge, under the leadership of Gail Trimble, but were later disqualified for fielding an ineligible player. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The High Street facade of Brasenose College, founded in 1509
Credit: Tony Hisgett
The High Street facade of Brasenose College, founded in 1509

Did you know...

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

Aiguilles de Peuterey seen from Val Veny

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street
Credit: Oliver Woodford
Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street

On this day...

Events for 25 August relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

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