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The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. 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 English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge. Oxford is ranked among the most prestigious universities in the world.

The university is made up of thirty-nine semi-autonomous constituent colleges, six permanent private halls, and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford consists of lectures, small-group tutorials at the colleges and halls, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further tutorials provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

Oxford operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the university had a total income of £2.45 billion, of which £624.8 million was from research grants and contracts.

Oxford has educated a wide range of notable alumni, including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of October 2020, 72 Nobel Prize laureates, 4 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes. (Full article...)

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Balliol College

The position of Boden Professor of Sanskrit was established in 1832 with money bequeathed to the university by Joseph Boden, a retired soldier who had worked for the East India Company. He wanted a Sanskrit professor to assist in converting British India to Christianity. The first two professors were elected by Oxford graduates; the 1860 election, in particular, was hotly contested. Reforms of Oxford implemented in 1882 removed all mention of Boden's original purpose, removed the power to elect the professor from graduates, and gave the holder of the professorship a fellowship at Balliol College (pictured). To date, Sir Monier Monier-Williams (professor 1860–99) has held the chair for the longest, although a deputy carried out his teaching duties for the last 11 years of his life. The current holder (as of 2014), Christopher Minkowski, was appointed in 2005 and is the eighth Boden professor. It is the only remaining Sanskrit professorship in the United Kingdom. (Full article...)

Selected biography

James McCormack (1910–1975) was a United States Army officer and the first Director of Military Applications of the United States Atomic Energy Commission. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McCormack also studied at Hertford College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After service in World War II, he was chosen in 1947 as the Director of Military Applications of the Atomic Energy Commission. He took a pragmatic approach to handling the issue of the proper agency to hold custody of the nuclear weapons stockpile, and supported Edward Teller's development of thermonuclear weapons. He was appointed Director of Nuclear Applications at the Air Research and Development Center in 1952, later becoming Deputy Commander of the Air Research and Development Command. After retiring from the military in 1955, McCormack became the first head of the Institute for Defense Analysis, a non-profit research organization. In 1958 he became vice president for industrial and governmental relations at MIT, and originated a proposal for a new space agency, which eventually became NASA. (Full article...)

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Coat of arms of Balliol College, Oxford

Balliol College is one of the oldest colleges at Oxford, founded in 1263 (according to tradition) by the Scottish nobleman John I de Balliol and supported by his widow Dervorguilla of Galloway. It is one of the largest colleges, with about 800 undergraduates and graduate students in total, and is located on Broad Street in the centre of the city. Balliol rose to prominence within the university during the 19th century under the leadership of Benjamin Jowett, Master from 1870 to 1893, although his predecessors at the beginning of the century had begun the process by insisting that Fellowships and scholarships were to be awarded only on academic merit. Much of the college was rebuilt in the 19th century, including the present chapel (the third on the site) and only a few parts of the buildings predate 1700. Alumni of the college include three British Prime Ministers (H. H. Asquith, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath), the scientist Richard Dawkins and the economist Adam Smith. Links with Scotland are maintained in various ways, including the Snell Exhibition founded in the 17th century which allows students from the University of Glasgow to carry out research at Oxford as a member of Balliol. (Full article...)

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The War Memorial Garden of Christ Church
Credit: Bob Collowan
The War Memorial Garden of Christ Church

Did you know

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

Harry Peckham

Selected quotation

“ Well, take a man connected with the legislative class, directly by birth and indirectly by opportunities, give him at least enough taste not to be ashamed of poetry, give him also enough energy not to be ashamed of football, and add a profound satisfaction with Oxford in general and Balliol in particular, and there you are. ” — Compton Mackenzie, Sinister Street (1914) – the speaker is describing the "essential Balliol"

Selected panorama

The Berlin Quad of Wolfson College is named after the college
Credit: Mtcv
The Berlin Quad of Wolfson College is named after the college's first President, Sir Isaiah Berlin. It was given Grade II listed building status in 2011.

On this day

Events for 19 August relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

More anniversaries in August and the rest of the year


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