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

Keble College

The Council of Keble College, Oxford ran the college (in conjunction with the Warden) from its foundation in 1868 until 1952. The council – a group of between nine and twelve men – has been described as "an external Council of ecclesiastical worthies", as most of the members came from outside the college, and many were not otherwise linked to the university. Keble was established by public subscription as a memorial to the clergyman John Keble. The first council members were drawn from the committee whose work had raised the money to build the college. By keeping matters relating to religion and the college's internal affairs in the hands of the council, the founders hoped to maintain Keble's religious position as "a bastion of 'orthodox' Anglican teaching" against the opponents of Tractarianism. In total, 54 men served on the Council, 11 of whom were college alumni; in 1903, Arthur Winnington-Ingram (Bishop of London) became the first former Keble student to join the council. It ceased to exist after 9 April 1952, when new statutes of the college placed full management in the hands of the Warden and Fellows. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) was an Irish writer, poet, and prominent aesthete, remembered for his many epigrams, his plays, and the tragedy of his imprisonment and early death. Wilde proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Trinity College, Dublin, then at Magdalen College, Oxford. After university, Wilde moved to London and into fashionable circles. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde was one of the best known personalities of his day. He produced a series of dialogues and essays that developed his ideas about the supremacy of art. However, it was his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray that brought him more lasting recognition. Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, culminating in his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895. At the height of his fame, Wilde sued his lover's father for libel. After a series of trials, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency with other men and imprisoned for two years. In prison he wrote De Profundis, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials. Upon his release he left immediately for France. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of St Catherine's College, Oxford

St Catherine's College (commonly known as "St Catz" or "Catz") was established in 1963 and is one of the largest of the Oxford colleges, with about 450 undergraduates and 160 postgraduates. It grew out of the Delegacy of Non-Collegiate Students, founded in 1868 to offer university education at Oxford without the costs of college membership. Its students met as "St Catherine's Club" for social events, named after the hall in Catte Street where they met; it became St Catherine's Society in 1931, and later achieved full college status. It was one of the first men's colleges to become co-educational, in 1974. The college is on an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site acquired from Merton College on the banks of the River Cherwell, to the east of the city centre. The buildings, which were given Grade I listed status in 1993, were designed by the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen; he also designed the cutlery, furniture and lampshades. The Master is the engineer Roger Ainsworth; the first Master was the historian Alan Bullock. Alumni include the Nobel Prize winners John Vane and John E. Walker, the politician Peter Mandelson, the rower Matthew Pinsent and the author Jeanette Winterson. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.  Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.
Credit: Harshil Shah
The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.

Did you know...

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

Marshal Foch

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

An aerial view of Oxford, looking north. Merton College is at the bottom centre with Christ Church to the left (west). On the right-hand side lies University of Oxford Botanic Garden and, beyond that, Magdalen College.
Credit: Chensiyuan
An aerial view of Oxford, looking north. Merton College is at the bottom centre with Christ Church to the left (west). On the right-hand side lies University of Oxford Botanic Garden and, beyond that, Magdalen College.

On this day...

Events for 29 May relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

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