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

Nuffield College tower

The buildings of Nuffield College are to the west of Oxford's city centre, on the former site of the largely disused basin of the Oxford Canal. Nuffield College was founded in 1937 after a donation to the University of Oxford by the car manufacturer Lord Nuffield. The initial designs of the architect Austen Harrison, which were heavily influenced by Mediterranean architecture, were rejected by Nuffield, who described them as "un-English". Harrison then aimed for "something on the lines of Cotswold domestic architecture", as Nuffield wanted. The college was built to the revised plans between 1949 and 1960. During construction, the tower, about 150 feet (46 m) tall, was redesigned to hold the college's library. Reaction to the architecture has been largely unfavourable. It has been described as "Oxford's biggest monument to barren reaction" and "a hodge-podge from the start". However, the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner thought that the tower helped the Oxford skyline and predicted that it would "one day be loved". The writer Simon Jenkins doubted Pevsner's prediction, though, saying that "vegetation" was the "best hope" for the tower, and for the rest of the college too. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Hensley Henson (1863–1947) was a controversial Anglican priest and scholar, who was Bishop of Hereford (1918–20) and of Durham (1920–39). The son of a zealous member of the Plymouth Brethren, Henson was not allowed to go to school until he was fourteen, and was largely self-educated. He gained a first-class degree from the University of Oxford and was elected as a Fellow of All Souls. After his ordination, he served in the East End of London and in the high-profile post of vicar of St Margaret's, Westminster. While there, and as Dean of Durham (1913–18), he wrote prolifically and sometimes controversially. Anglo-Catholics took exception to his liberal theological views and tried to block his appointment as Bishop of Hereford. In 1920, Henson returned to Durham as its bishop, an area badly affected by an economic depression. Henson was opposed to strikes, trade unions and socialism, and for a time his views made him unpopular in the diocese. He campaigned against efforts to introduce prohibition, exploitation of foreign workers by British companies, and fascist and Nazi aggression, and supported divorce law reform, a controversial revision of the Book of Common Prayer and ecumenism. (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of Wycliffe Hall

Wycliffe Hall is one of the Permanent Private Halls (PPHs) of the University of Oxford. Unlike the colleges, which are run by their Fellows, PPHs are run by an outside institution – in the case of Wycliffe Hall, the Church of England. Founded in 1877, it became a PPH in 1996. It provides theological training for candidates for ordained and lay ministry; it also admits other students to study theology. It is named after John Wycliffe, a 14th-century theologian, and its buildings are in North Oxford, on Banbury Road. It is rooted in the evangelical tradition of the Church of England, although it admits students from all Christian denominations. Its Victorian trust deed upholds the Thirty-Nine Articles, part of the English Reformation heritage of the Church of England, Since the 19th century the college has had close links with the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union and the Oxford Pastorate, two evangelical organisations working with Oxford students. Alumni include Donald Coggan (Archbishop of Canterbury), Tom Wright (Bishop of Durham), Nicky Gumbel (developer of the Alpha Course), and Wilbert Awdry (priest and creator of the Thomas the Tank stories). (Full article...)

Selected picture

The top of the Radcliffe Observatory, which was the university's astronomical observatory from 1773 until 1934. The building is now part of Green Templeton College.
Credit: Shimgray
The top of the Radcliffe Observatory, which was the university's astronomical observatory from 1773 until 1934. The building is now part of Green Templeton College.

Did you know...

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

Selected quotation

Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol College 1870–93

Selected panorama

Some of the college boathouses on The Isis (as the River Thames is known in Oxford)
Credit: David Iliff
Some of the college boathouses on The Isis (as the River Thames is known in Oxford)

Template:/box-header Events for 20 June relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

Other events