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

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

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...)

Selected college or hall

Lincoln College was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, as a "little college of true students of theology". After some early financial problems, another Bishop of Lincoln, Thomas Rotherham, effectively refounded the college in 1478. It is situated in the centre of the city on Turl Street and adjoins Brasenose College (with which it has a long-standing rivalry) at the rear. The college buildings include the 18th-century All Saints Church which has been converted into a library. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner said that Lincoln preserves "more of the character of a 15th century college than any other in Oxford". Unlike many other colleges, there are no modern buildings on the main site. There are about 580 students (undergraduates and postgraduates). The Rector of the college is the English literature academic Henry Woudhuysen, appointed in 2012. The Methodist leader John Wesley was a Fellow of Lincoln in the 18th century. Former students of the college include the novelist John le Carré, the actress Emily Mortimer, the cartoonist "Dr Seuss" and the Australian politician Peter Durack. (Full article...)

Selected picture

Credit: Winky
A men's crew from Keble College training for Eights Week (the main inter-college rowing races). Rowing is a popular student sport at Oxford, even though most students will not have rowed before starting at Oxford.

Did you know...

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

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Selected panorama

Template:/box-header Events for 10 December relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.