St Cross College, Oxford

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St Cross College
Blackwell Quad
St Cross Coat of Arms
Blazon: Argent a Cross Potent Purpure a Quarter counterchanged; and for the Crest upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Purpure an Armillary Sphere upon a Stand Or thereon a Dove with wings elevated and displayed Argent holding in the beak a Sprig of Mulberry fructed and leaved proper mantled Purpure doubled Argent[1]
University University of Oxford
Location St Giles'
Coordinates 51°45′24″N 1°15′37″W / 51.756528°N 1.260311°W / 51.756528; -1.260311Coordinates: 51°45′24″N 1°15′37″W / 51.756528°N 1.260311°W / 51.756528; -1.260311
Latin name Collegium Sanctae Crucis Oxoniae
Motto Ad quattuor cardines mundi
Established 1965
Named for St Cross Road and St Cross Church[2]
Sister college Clare Hall, Cambridge
Master Carole Souter CBE
Undergraduates 0
Postgraduates 492 (2011/2012)
Boat club Boat Club shared with Wolfson College Boat Club
St Cross College, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
St Cross College, Oxford
Location in Oxford city centre

St Cross College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It is an all-graduate college with traditional-style buildings on a central site in St Giles', just south of Pusey Street. It aims to match the structure, life and support of undergraduate colleges, with the relaxed atmosphere of an all-graduate college.[3] Founded in 1965, the college is the fourth youngest of Oxford's 38 colleges.

In May 2016, it was announced that the Fellows of St Cross College had elected Carole Souter CBE, Chief Executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, as the next Master of the College. In September 2016, she succeeded Sir Mark Jones, who had been Master of St Cross since 2011.[4]


St Cross College was formally set up as a society by the University on 5 October 1965; it was to admit its first graduate students (five in number) in the following year. The establishment of the college, together with that of Iffley (now Wolfson College), arose out of pressure on the University during the early 1960s to solve the related problems of the increasing number of faculty and graduate students who lacked a college affiliation.

The early location of St Cross was on a site in St Cross Road, immediately south of St Cross Church. The college was named for its proximity to these places. In 1976 negotiations began between the college and the members of Pusey House over the possibility of moving the college to the St Giles site. The negotiations were successful, and in 1981 the college moved from St Cross Road into a site owned by Pusey House for a leased period of 999-years. The old site on St Cross Road continued to be used, initially by the Centre for Islamic Studies (at that time an Associated Centre of the college), and then subsequently in the early 1990s the site was developed by the college in collaboration with Brasenose College. The site now houses two residential buildings, which were opened in 1996.

On 18 November 2010, it was announced that Sir Mark Jones, previously Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, had been elected as the next Master of the college; he took up the post in September 2011.[5] Unlike every other college head (except the President of Kellogg), the Master of St Cross is appointed not by the college's governing body but by the University Council.[6] Therefore, the election has only the character of a recommendation to Council, albeit one which is constantly followed.


The college is located on St Giles near to the Ashmolean Museum, and immediately north of Blackfriars. It is also within metres of the Classics faculty and the Oriental Institute. Regent's Park College, one of Oxford's Permanent Private Halls, is also nearby.

The Pusey House buildings date from the period of 1884 to 1926 and are mainly the work of the architects Temple and Leslie Moore and Ninian Comper. Discreet internal alterations were made when St Cross moved in by Geoffrey Beard and the Oxford Architects Partnership. Among these was the conversion of a cloister and store rooms into the Saugman Hall (now the Saugman Common Room) named after Per Saugman, a former Director of Blackwell Scientific Publications and a former fellow of the college. The first quadrangle was named the Richard Blackwell Quadrangle in honour of Richard Blackwell (another former fellow); both Saugman and Blackwell played a crucial part in securing for St Cross the large Blackwell benefaction for the college. Most students, however, refer to the Richard Blackwell Quadrangle by its nickname: 'the Quad'.

Behind the main buildings to the west, and through the 'four colleges arch' (named after the four colleges which had contributed especially generous capital and recurrent funding to St Cross: Merton, All Souls, Christ Church, and St John's), lies a large open garden bordered by medieval boundary wall. It should be noted that 'Four Colleges Arch' is referred to by most students as 'that arch'. This has offered the college the possibility of expanding its buildings and erecting a second quadrangle. Work has so far been completed on one new wing, containing a hall and kitchen, with bar, function room and games room below, and study bedrooms above. The final sections of the western quadrangle, otherwise known as the West Quad, were set to be completed in time for the college's semicentennial in 2015.[7] However, planning permission for the new building was rejected, as it required the demolition of a medieval boundary wall, an action which the council qualified as 'unjustifiable'.[8] Planning permission was subsequently granted following an appeal,[9] and the West Quad is now due to be completed in October 2016.[10] The new West Quad will include 50 new student bedrooms, a new lecture theatre, a library with a garden room, and several new seminar rooms.[11]

Additional buildings, that are run by St Cross College as student accommodation, include the St Cross Annexe, located near the Law Faculty, Bradmore Road House, Stonemason House, and the Wellington Square houses.[12]


St Cross has just under 500 graduate students at any one time, studying for degrees in all subjects.[13] There is a strong emphasis on international diversity, with 70% of the students coming from outside the UK. This is reflected in the college motto Ad quattuor cardines mundi, meaning ‘to the four corners of the earth’. The fellowship is similarly diverse and represents a broad range of academic disciplines in the sciences and the arts. Unusually for an Oxford college there is a founding tradition of sharing social facilities between fellows, members of Pusey House, the Common Room and students, with no separate high table or Senior Common Room. This gives the college a much more informal atmosphere and makes it an important community of scholars who forge links across a range of subjects.

The college has an active social calendar for both current students and alumni. There are a range of college societies and sports teams (often in collaboration with other colleges), as well as weekly academic seminars and annual conferences.

The college's Boat Club, shared with Wolfson College is particularly successful, and like many other college boat clubs competes both within the university itself and in external competitions.[14] The St Cross women's football team also enjoys success, becoming Cuppers Champions in 2015.[15]

Other events in the college include regular feasts, 'bops' and balls. As a result of the large international community at St Cross, the college strives to cater a wide range of events from other cultures; St Cross was the first Oxford college to officially celebrate Chinese New Year.[16] Reunion events for alumni are hosted by the college annually both in Oxford itself and abroad.[17]


Together with Kellogg College, St Cross is the only Oxford college without a royal charter. It is therefore officially considered as a department of the university rather than as an independent college.[18] It has one of the smallest endowments of any Oxford college, at approximately £8 million.[19] Nevertheless, St Cross College has several scholarships that it awards to current and prospective graduate students that are funded by third party donations and alumni.[20]



The College grace is:

Notable alumni[edit]

Fellows and Masters[edit]




  1. ^ Marlin, J.T. HERALDRY: St Cross College, Oxford.
  2. ^ Emilie Savage-Smith (2009) St Cross: The first 45 years. St Cross College Record 26:78–90
  3. ^ Why Choose St Cross College St Cross College Website, 30 May 2012.
  4. ^ St Cross College Elects New Master
  5. ^ Sir Mark Jones elected Master of St Cross College University of Oxford news 18 November 2010.
  6. ^ University of Oxford. Regulations for St Cross College. Council Regulations 11 of 2002, sec. 5 subsec. 1.
  7. ^ Quadrangle design shortlist St Cross College News, 12 June 2012.
  8. ^ Niall McLaughlin's Oxford college plans rejected Architects' Journal, 28 October 2013
  9. ^ "St Cross College achieves planning permission for the proposed West Quad". 
  10. ^ Cross College Accommodation Cross College Accommodation Check |url= value (help).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "St Cross College West Quad Brochure" (PDF). 
  12. ^ Cross College Accommodation Cross College Accommodation Check |url= value (help).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ OU Facts and Figures Oxford University Website
  14. ^ Wolfson-St Cross Boat Club College Website
  15. ^ 'St Cross Women's Football Team are Cuppers Champions 2015' St Cross College news, 3 March 2015
  16. ^ 'International Community' St Cross College, 30 May 2012.
  17. ^ 'Alumni reception held in New York' St Cross College News, 30 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Financial Statements of the Oxford Colleges (2013-14)". University of Oxford. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  19. ^ "Leaving a Legacy to St Cross". St Cross College. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  20. ^ Cross College Funding Support Cross College Funding Support Check |url= value (help).  Missing or empty |title= (help)


  • Kenneth Hylson-Smith, A History of Holywell and St Cross College/Brasenose College Residential Site (Oxford, 1996).
  • Kenneth Hylson-Smith, David Sturdy & Brian Atkins, A History of St Giles and the St Cross College/Pusey House Site (Oxford, 1993).
  • 'St Cross College', in The Encyclopaedia of Oxford, ed. Christopher Hibbert (London, 1988), 385-6.
  • St Cross College Record, 1– (1980–).
  • W. E. van Heyningen, The Founding of St Cross College, Oxford: An Interested Account (Oxford, 1988).

External links[edit]