University College (colloquially known as “Univ”) is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It claims to be the university’s oldest college, founded in 1249 by William of Durham. Like many of Oxford’s colleges, University accepted its first mixed-sex cohort in 1979, having previously been an institution for only men.
A number of influential people have attended the college, including Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Bill Clinton, Neil Gorsuch, Stephen Hawking, C. S. Lewis, V. S. Naipaul, Robert Reich, William Beveridge, Bob Hawke, Robert Cecil, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
What's the History of University College?
It is said that University College Oxford was founded by King Alfred in 872. This is why the college arms are those attributed to the King and the Visitor (an overseer of an autonomous ecclesiastical or eleemosynary institution) is always the reigning monarch. Most agree, however, that the college was founded in 1249 by William of Durham, who bequeathed money to support ten or twelve Masters of arts studying divinity. The property they used became known as Aula Universitatis (University Hall). The claim that University College is the oldest of the Oxford colleges is contested by Balliol College and Merton College.
The college acquired four more properties on its current site in 1332 and 1336, and built a quadrangle in the 15th century. The medieval buildings were replaced with the current Main Quadrangle in the 17th century.
The Buildings of University College
The college is divided by Logic Lane, which runs through the center.
The western side of University College is occupied by the library, the hall, the chapel, and the two quadrangles housing student accommodation and college offices. The eastern side is mainly devoted to student accommodation. The separate Goodhart building is named after the former master of the college, Arthur Lehman Goodhart.
A specially constructed building in the college, the Shelley Memorial, houses a statue by Edward Onslow Ford of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who studied at the college. The college annex on Staverton Road in North Oxford houses undergraduate students during their second year and some graduate students.
The college also owns the University College Boathouse and a sports ground located nearby on Abingdon Road.
What is it Like to Study at University College, Oxford?
University College students publish the Alternative Prospectus, which was awarded a HELOA Innovation and Best Practice Award in 2011. The publication offers student-written advice and guidance to potential Oxford applicants.
University has the longest grace of any Oxford college, which is read before every Formal Hall on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The reading is performed by a Scholar of the college and whoever is sitting at the head of High Table.
Where is University College?
University College is located on High Street (OX1 4BH), oxford. Tel 01865 276602.
Can you Visit University College?
University College is not open to the public.