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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The alumni of Jesus College include two Prime Ministers (Harold Wilson of Britain (pictured) and Norman Manley of Jamaica), a Speaker of the House of Commons of England (Sir William Williams), a co-founder of Plaid Cymru (D. J. Williams) and a co-founder of the African National Congress (Pixley ka Isaka Seme). Politicians from Australia (Neal Blewett), New Zealand (Harold Rushworth), Sri Lanka (Lalith Athulathmudali) and the United States (Heather Wilson) also studied at the college. Lawyers include a Lord Chancellor (Lord Sankey) and a Law Lord (Lord du Parcq). Clergy include three Archbishops of Wales (Alfred George Edwards, Glyn Simon and Gwilym Owen Williams). Celticists include Sir John Morris-Jones, and historians include David Powel, who published the first printed history of Wales in 1584. The list includes Angus Buchanan (who won the Victoria Cross) and T. E. Lawrence, better known as "Lawrence of Arabia." Record-breaking quadriplegic solo sailor Hilary Lister was a student, as were Magnus Magnusson (presenter of Mastermind), Welsh poet Gwyn Thomas and television weather presenters Kirsty McCabe and Siân Lloyd. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Sir William Walton (1902–1983) was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include Façade – An Entertainment, the cantata Belshazzar's Feast and his First Symphony. Born in Lancashire, the son of a musician, Walton was a chorister and then an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving the university (without a degree), he was taken up by the literary Sitwell siblings, who provided him with a home and a cultural education. His earliest work of note was a collaboration with Edith Sitwell, Façade, which at first brought him notoriety as a modernist, but later became a popular ballet score. In middle age, Walton left Britain and set up home with his young wife on the Italian island of Ischia. By this time, he had ceased to be regarded as a modernist, and some of his compositions of the 1950s were criticised as old-fashioned. In his last years, his works came back into critical fashion; his later compositions, dismissed by critics at the time of their premieres, were revalued and regarded alongside his earlier works. His most popular compositions continue to be frequently performed in the 21st century, and by 2010 all his works were recorded for CD. (more...)

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St Antony's College coat of arms

St Antony's College is a college for graduate students and researchers only, specialising in international relations, economics, politics, and modern international history. The college was established in 1950 by gift of Antonin Besse, a merchant of French descent; students were first admitted in 1953 (women in 1962) and it became a full member of the university in 1963. It is named after St Antony of Egypt. The college buildings, a former Anglican convent built in the 1960s, are to the north of the city, with Woodstock Road to the west, Bevington Road to the south and Winchester Road to the east. Libraries on the site include the Middle East Centre Library, the Latin American Centre Library, the Bodleian Japanese Library and the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Library. The Warden is the Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan; former Wardens have included the social theorist Ralf Dahrendorf and the diplomat Marrack Goulding. There are about 400 students; alumni include the historians C.A. Bayly and Richard J. Evans, the journalists Anne Applebaum and Thomas Friedman, the American Senator Gary Hart and the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall. (Full article...)

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Credit: Brett Arnold
The chapel of Mansfield College. It opened in 1886 as the first non-conformist college in Oxford, although it only achieved full college status in 1995.

Did you know...

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

Marshal Foch

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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)