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

The Principal's Lodgings, Jesus College

The Principal and Fellows of Jesus College form the college's governing body. The Principal must be "a person distinguished for literary or scientific attainments, or for services in the work of education in the University or elsewhere", and has "pre-eminence and authority over all members of the College and all persons connected therewith". The Principal's Lodgings (entrance pictured) are in the first quadrangle of the college. The current Principal, Lord Krebs, was appointed in 2005 and is the 30th holder of the office. Professorial Fellows are those Professors and Readers of the university who are allocated to the college. One of these professorships is the Jesus Professor of Celtic, which is the only chair in Celtic studies at an English university. Official Fellows are those who hold tutorial or administrative appointments in the college. Past Official Fellows include the composer and musicologist John Caldwell, the historians Sir Goronwy Edwards and Niall Ferguson, the philosopher Galen Strawson and the political philosopher John Gray. There are also Senior and Junior Research Fellows. Principals and Fellows who retire can be elected as Emeritus Fellows. The college can also elect "distinguished persons" to Honorary Fellowships. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson (born 1960) is an English food writer, journalist and broadcaster. After graduating from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Lawson worked as a book reviewer and restaurant critic, later becoming the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times. After working as a freelance journalist, Lawson brought out her first cookery book, How to Eat, which sold 300,000 copies and became a bestseller. For her second book, How to be a Domestic Goddess, she won the British Book Award for Author of The Year. In 2000, she began to host her own cookery series on Channel 4, Nigella Bites, which was accompanied with another bestselling cookery book. The series won her a Guild of Food Writers Award; her 2005 ITV daytime chat show was cancelled after attracting low ratings. In the United States in 2006, Lawson hosted the Food Network's Nigella Feasts, followed by a three-part BBC Two series, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, in the United Kingdom. This led to the commissioning of Nigella Express on BBC Two in 2007. She has sold more than three million cookery books worldwide. Renowned for her flirtatious manner of presenting, Lawson has been called the "queen of food porn". (more...)

Selected college or hall

Pembroke College coat of arms

Pembroke College was founded in 1624 and named after William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, who was Chancellor of the University at the time. Pembroke's coat of arms contains the English rose and Scottish thistle to represent King James I, in whose reign the college was founded, and three lions rampant from the arms of the Earl of Pembroke. The college was established on the site of a university hostel for law students dating from the 15th century, called Broadgates Hall, with money provided by Thomas Tesdale (a merchant from Abingdon) and Richard Wightwick (a Berkshire clergyman). It is located just to the south of the city centre, opposite Christ Church. It has gradually expanded in size, with further buildings added in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. There are about 400 undergraduates and about 120 postgraduates. Alumni include the lexicographer Samuel Johnson (although he did not complete his degree because of lack of funds) and James Smithson (whose bequest founded the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.). J. R. R. Tolkien was a Fellow of Pembroke for twenty years, writing The Hobbit and the first two books of The Lord of the Rings during this time. Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in under four minutes, is a former Master of the college. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The doorway of Campion Hall, one of the Permanent Private Halls of the University, run by the Society of Jesus.  The buildings were designed in the 1930s by the architect Edwin Lutyens.
Credit: Steve Cadman
The doorway of Campion Hall, one of the Permanent Private Halls of the University, run by the Society of Jesus. The buildings were designed in the 1930s by the architect Edwin Lutyens.

Did you know...

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

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street
Credit: Oliver Woodford
Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street

On this day...

Events for 28 July relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

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